Articles: Horse News
Second Consecutive Championship for Molly Braswell Aboard El Campeons Danish
at 2011 ASPCA Maclay Southeast Regional Finals
Molly Braswell and El Campeons Danish won the 2011 ASPCA Maclay Southeast
Regional Finals. Photo By: Flashpoint Photography.
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Green Cove Springs, FL-September 4, 2011- The 2011 North Florida Hunter
Jumper Association's Labor Day Horse Show got underway at the Agricultural
Center in Green Cove Springs, FL, this past weekend. Talented junior horse
and rider combinations held their breath in anticipation as the Region 3
ASPCA Maclay Southeast Regional Finals commenced. This was the beginning of
the eight regional finals to take place, thinning the competition prior to
America's top juniors facing off at the ASPCA Maclay National Championship
on November 6, 2011 during the Alltech National Horse Show held at the
Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. At the end of the day, it was Molly
Braswell of Ocala, FL, aboard El Campeons Danish who bested the 30 top
competitors to claim the ASPCA Maclay Regional Championship for the second
year in a row.
The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class has been held since 1933, and it is one
of the most prestigious competitions for junior riders in the United
States. Its winners are some of the biggest names in equestrian
sport. Previous winners include: William Steinkraus in 1941, Frank Chapot
(1948), George Morris (1952), Leslie Burr Howard (1972), Stacia Klein Madden
in 1987, and Nicole Shahinian Simpson in 1992. The 2009 ASPCA Maclay
National Championship winner was Zazou Hoffman, and in 2010 Hayley Barnhill
was named the winner.
Michael Rheinheimer designed the course to challenge horses and riders alike
with a technical 12 fence first round. The course assisted judges Patricia
Harnois and John Roper in narrowing the field of 30 down to name the
champion, or in this case, the repeat victor, 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," said Braswell.
Coincidentally, Braswell's victory also marked her eighteenth birthday and
her final season as a "Junior" rider; apparently, she is determined to make
it count. Braswell trains at Terrapin Hill Farm with her father, Bob
Braswell and assistant trainer Courtney de Hechavarria. Elizabeth Dove owns
the Danish Warmblood, El Campeons Danish, and the stellar horse and rider
duo has been paired for a little over a year. The old saying, "age is only a
number" rings true as Braswell admitted that her mount is 24 years old, but
in outstanding form and staying strong.
After the first round was completed, the judges chose two groups out of the
30 competitors to move into the flat phase. The judges tested the riders
asking them to drop their stirrups and proceed from a sitting trot to a
rising trot and finally into a canter. At the end of the flat phase, anxiety
and excitement began to set in among the trainers, riders and spectators as
the scores were tallied. It came as a shock to many that the judges
requested additional testing for six out of the top 12 riders in a
four-fence course; Braswell was one of them.
Braswell continued into the additional testing with a strong focus, "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." It turned out to be a well justified
concern, considering that the anticipated trot jump was at an angle near the
in gate which gave it an extra risk of being "spooky" for the
mounts. Braswell's focus proved true as she successfully executed the trot
jump and finished pleased with their performance.
"This is just a special win this year. I want to thank my trainer-my dad,
Courtney my assistant trainer, and Amanda, the best groom," expressed
Braswell upon hearing her name announced as the class champion.
Rhonda Mack representing sponsor Jerry Parks Insurance Group and Katie Young
representing the Alltech National Horse Show Association presented the
tricolor championship and the reserve championship honors. Braswell and El
Campeons Danish led the victory gallop, followed by Reserve Champion Emma
Kennedy and Adonis, owned by Natalie Nicodema of Orangeburg, NY. Hasbrouck
Donovan of Gainesville, FL, claimed the third place honors aboard her mount
Wagner, followed by Meg O'Mara and Fernleigh owned by Donald Stewart and
Joan Nichols of Ocala, FL, and Liza Finsness of Wellington, FL, accepted the
fifth place ribbon on her mount Fedelio.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the ASPCA Maclay Southeast Regional
Finals have been held in Florida. It featured riders from Alabama,
Washington D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The coveted
ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Trophy is the top award presented to one rider age
18 or under who has completed 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 Alltech National Horse Show in November where the
deciding Finals are held.
For more information on the ASPCA Maclay National Championships and its
qualifiers as well as the Alltech National Horse Show please visit www.nhs.org.