Green Cove Springs, FL - September 4, 2011 - Molly Braswell of Ocala, FL is celebrating her Birthday weekend the same as last year, by besting 30 top competitors to capture the ASPCA Maclay Regional Championship (Region 3, the Southeast), held during 2011 North Florida Hunter Jumper Association’s Labor Day Horse Show at the Agricultural Center in Green Cove Springs, FL. Michael Rheinheimer designed a technical 12 fence first round course to aid judges Patricia Harnois and John Roper in narrowing the field of 30 down to one winner –or in this case a repeat victory for Molly Braswell. “It was a good course, for me a little long coming out of the first line, but otherwise I was really happy with it.” Braswell said.
Turning 18 years-old today made this competition bittersweet for Braswell as it marks the countdown of her final season as a “Junior” rider. She trains at Terrapin Hill Farm with her father, Bob Braswell and assistant trainer Courtney de Hechavarria and has been partnered with the Elizabeth Dove owned El Campeons Danish a little over a year. Asked for some specifics, such as age on her mount, Braswell giggled and said “I’m not gonna tell you! He’s a Danish Warmblood and I love him!” A little encouragement and compliments of their performance brought out a confession from a proud Braswell that this stellar gelding is twenty-four years-old and in amazing form, and keeping his stride.
From the 30 contenders in round one judges Patricia Harnois and John Roper chose two 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. Deliberations began as riders and trainers nervously awaited results. Many were surprised at the announcement that the judges had requested additional testing of six of the top twelve riders. Braswell’s thoughts about going into a test were very focused, “To do the test-to TROT the trot jump, because I’m a little funny on trot jumps so I wanted to make sure I trotted the trot jump! That was my only real worry.”
A justified worry as it turns out; the dreaded trot fence was set on an angle near the in gate which gave it an added element of being “spooky” but, in the end Braswell was very pleased with their performance in the test. Her confidence was rewarded with the announcement of their names at the top of the standings and the Birthday Celebration began. “This is just a special win this year. I want to thank my trainer-my dad, Courtney my assist trainer, and Amanda-the best groom!” a beaming Braswell said over the buzz of well wishers.
Molly and Danish will take a small break before the Indoor circuit- Harrisburg, Capital Challenge, and Washington International on their trek to the ASPCA Maclay Championships November 2nd thru 6th at the National Horse Show’s new home, the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
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 National Horse Show in November where the deciding Finals are held. Region 3-Southeast includes athletes from Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. 2011 marks the fifth year the Southeast Regional Final has taken place in Florida.
Rhonda Mack from sponsor Jerry Parks Insurance Group and Katie Young representing the National Horse Show Association presented the Champion and Reserve winners with their respective medals plus a bevy of other goodies provided by English Riding Supply, The Gift Horse, and Horse & Kennel Warehouse. Of course the winning horse will enjoy a handsome embroidered cooler to commemorate his part in this occasion.
REGION 3 TOP 12 RESULTS
1st Molly Braswell El Campeons Danish
2nd Emma Kennedy Adonis
3rd Hasbrouck Donovan Wagner
4th Meg O’Mara Fernleigh
5th Liza Finsness Fedelio
6th Lauren Biddle Lawando
7th Landrie Folsom Weatherby
8th Jacob Pope Sagaro
9th Nora Gray Undorado Tibri
10th Emily Rizzo Calinka
11th Hannah Marco Friend Request
12th Nikki Diamantis Cartier
Photo Credit: Molly Braswell & El Campeons Danish ©Flashpoint Photography