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More than fluff: Tallahassee fifth grader to compete at National Equestrian Finals

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 8:50 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Sports build a bond, brotherhood, sisterhood, friends and memories that last a lifetime, but there might be no relationship more unique than the one Kiersten Cawley and her horse Marshmallow have.

“It’s like you get to do a sport and have a pet at the same time. So you get to like, love on a pet and go do fun stuff with it while doing a sport,” Cawley described.

Kiersten and her teammate Marshmallow have only playing together for six months, but they’re already lighting the equestrian world on fire. The Florida State University School student galloped through regional and zone competition to earn a spot in this weekend’s National Equestrian Finals in Perry, Ga.

“I’m lucky,” said mom Janey Cawley. “She says she’s nervous, but she’s a very good competitor in all the sports that she does and usually the minute that she gets on she gets in a zone and handles it on her own.”

Cawley competes with the hunter jumpers who emphasize style and technique rather than how high and how fast you can jump, and while she says she’s nervous about the competition, she’s certain it’ll all melt away when she saddles up.

“You’re nervous before you get on the horse because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but then you get on and you have fun and you go ride and you do your best and whatever happens, happens,” Cawley said.

She added, “It’s not about the results on Saturday, it’s about the journey to get there and we’ve already enjoyed that journey, Saturday’s the gravy. Yes, we’d like to win but we’ve made it that far.”

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