Green Cove Springs, FL - Molly Braswell celebrated her 17th Birthday weekend by besting 44 top competitors to capture the ASPCA Maclay Regional Championship (Region 3, the Southeast), held during 2010 North Florida Hunter Jumper Association’s Labor Day Horse Show at the Agricultural Center in Green Cove Springs, Fl.
Touted as the ultimate junior hunter accomplishment, the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Trophy is the top award presented to one rider age 18 or under who has competed in a series of qualifying classes and earned enough points to participate in a regional contest. From each Regional Final a percentage of all winners will advance to the year-end National Championships at the Syracuse Invitational Horse Show, with the deciding final held on November 7th. Region 3-Southeast includes athletes from Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. 2010 marks the fourth year the Southeast Regional Final has taken place in Florida.
This year’s 12-fence course was designed by Michael Rheinheimer who said his was a test of the intellect, gracefulness and poise of riders. One missed or added stride, or forgotten lead change could end the dream of advancing. “The horse I rode tonight, Danish, this is really our first big event together and overall I think it went great.” a smiling Molly said. Great indeed as birthday presents go!
The 17-year-old rider resides in Ocala, FL., and trains with Christina Schlusemeyer as well as Bob Braswell. Molly has only been partnered with the Elizabeth Dove owned El Campeons Danish since the winter season. “He’s an 18 year-old Danish Warmblood and I love him!” Molly commented of her mount.
On the horizon for this talented rider is a trip to Europe, “I’m so excited!” she quipped, but upon her return it’s back to the business to competing. “We’ll go to Capital Challenge, USEF Finals, Harrisburg, Washington, and of course Syracuse for the Maclay Finals.” Balancing her active riding schedule with school has become second nature to this high school senior. Molly admitted, "It's hard sometimes, I’m home schooled-online classes, but I’ve pretty much been doing this most of my life. My family and friends are very supportive.”
From the 44 contenders in round one of the Maclay, judges Bob Crandell, Steve Wall and Tony Sgarlata choice three groups to move into the “flat phase.” The judges put them through the paces, asking for riders to drop their stirrups and proceed from a sitting trot to a rising trot and finally into a canter. As the final group cleared the ring, serious deliberations began and silence engulfed the arena as riders and trainers awaited their fate. Working their way to the top in reverse order, no one knew if or where they placed until the announcer called a name and when the phrase “Birthday Girl” was heard the celebrating began.
Presenting the awards for this year’s winners were Kiera Wilson and Lauren Carr, representing the sponsors of the event Great American and Jerry Park Insurance Groups. The Champion and Reserve winners were presented with their respective medals and of course the winning horse will enjoy a handsome embroidered cooler to commemorate the occasion.
The 2010 Maclay National Championship for the ASPCA Horsemanship Classes will be held on November 7th at the Syracuse Invitational Horse Show.
REGION 3 TOP 10 RESULTS
Molly Braswell - El Campeons Danish
Abby O’Mara - Urco
Chase Boggio - Calito 7
Catherine Billings - Figaro
Elizabeth Golian - High Rise
Meg O’Mara - War Eagle
Kaitlin Porath - Icarus
Jennifer Delman - Cavaliver Forever
Julianna Fischer - Salvadorable
Nicole Walker - SS San Remo
Photo Credit: Molly Braswell & El Campeons Danish ©Flashpoint Photography