Berdien delivers Molly Ashe Cawley major win in Ocala!

Berdien delivers Molly Ashe Cawley major win in Ocala!

The $35,000 Prix Qualifier CSI3* took center stage as the premier event on Thursday evening, featuring a field of star-studded horse-and-rider pairs showcasing their skills under the lights of the WEC Grand Arena. Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) emerged victorious with her longtime partner Berdien (Bustique x Querlybet Hero), owned by Louisburg Farm, and galloped away with the winning title.

FEI Level III course designer, Catsy Cruz (MEX) set the intricate tracks that allowed 11 horse-and-rider combinations to qualify for the returning jump-off and seven of the returning pairs managed to yield a double clear effort.

Aaron Vale (USA) was the fourth to return, and he was ready to up the ante aboard Thinkslikeahorse’s speedy I.adermie R 4 (Den Ham Blue R x Namelus R). Clocking in at 39.65 seconds, Vale and the 11-year-old KWPN mare laid down a challenging benchmark for the remaining competitors.

Already finding one double-clear ride with her first mount Kick On, Lillie Keenan (USA) aimed for another clear ride. Guiding the nine-year-old Zangersheide stallion Chili Pepper H M Z (Cornet Obolensky x Caretano Z), Keenan blazed through the course in 41.48 seconds to slide behind Vale on the leaderboard.

Vale’s victory seemed to be sealed, but Molly Ashe Cawley was determined to take the win aboard Berdien. “Aaron is the reason I am always second in these classes. So, I had a little bit of an axe to grind with him. I just wanted to beat him once, because he doesn’t let you do it very often,” laughed Ashe Cawley.

Returning for the jump-off, Ashe Cawley wanted to ride the track to best suit her 13-year-old Zangersheide mare, “For sure the first line had to be seven. Then I just stopped counting to the rest. She’s got a great gallop, and I don’t have to set her up to the jump too much because she just does it by herself. I was just able to ride off my eye, and let her speed do the rest.”

With a time of 39.31 seconds, Ashe Cawley and Berdien snagged the win, and the top spot on the podium.

Ashe Cawley spoke about her longtime partnership with the talented mare, “We got her when she was seven, and she’s 13 now. So, we’ve been together all that time. She’s just an amazing mare. She always fights for the win. She’s usually right in the top, in every class she does, and she’s been that way since the first day we started showing her. It’s been fun and I treasure every minute with her.”

Having competed at World Equestrian Center – Ocala multiple times, Ashe Cawley praised the venue, “This place is amazing. I can’t say enough nice things about it. It’s a breath of fresh air and a treat that somebody has gone above and beyond our wildest dreams building a facility. It’s nice to be here and be apart of it from the beginning.”