Equine Canada has named Ben Asselin, 16, of Calgary, AB, the 2010 Junior Equestrian of the Year.
The Gillian Wilson Award is given annually to the Junior Equestrian of the Year in recognition of a junior competitor who has made outstanding contributions to equestrian competition and who has exemplified exceptional talent, sportsmanship, and dedication to the sport. Asselin demonstrates excellent examples of each of these qualities.
At only 16 years of age, Asselin had a stellar year in 2010. His winning ways all started with great results early in the season in Wellington, Florida. When he returned to Canada, he won the ATCO Cup at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair at the end of March.
Moving up successfully to the 1.50m classes during the Spruce Meadows summer series, Asselin competed and earned some great results against the world’s top riders. As a result of these achievements earlier in the season, Asselin was then named to the Alberta Junior Jumping Team at the FEI North American Junior/Young Riders’ Championships which was held at the Kentucky Horse Park at the end of July.
In his debut appearance at the Championships, Asselin rode Lolita, Attache Stables’s 12-year-old Oldenburg mare, over five perfectly clear rounds, which not only secured the gold medal for his team, but also the individual gold medal for himself. A few weeks later, Ben followed up his double gold medal performance in Kentucky with a win in the $32,500 Laramide Oil and Gas Grand Prix at the Rocky Mountain Classic I, which was followed only seven days later with another victory in the $32,500 Attaché Classic at the Rocky Mountain Classic II.
“I had such a great year in 2010, and to win this award really caps it off. Being named as Equine Canada’s Junior Equestrian of the Year is amazing,” said Asselin. “I would also like to thank my mom and dad who have been so supportive and my fantastic horses—Magic Man and Lolita.”
At the Equine Canada Annual Awards Gala, on Saturday January 29, 2011, in Ottawa, ON, Asselin was awarded with the Gillian Wilson Trophy, created in honor of Gillian Wilson, who was the Technical Director of Canadian Equestrian Federation (now Equine Canada) from 1977 until her retirement on December 31, 1992. Each winner holds the award for one year, retains a trophy and receives $1,000.