"My biggest advice is never to think any job is below you. If you know, something needs to be done just do it," Braswell states. Photo © Natalie Hilty

Assistant Trainer Spotlight: Jessica Braswell of Puthoff Performance Horses

Assistant Trainer Jessica Braswell currently lives in West Milton, Ohio about ten minutes from the Puthoff Performance Horse Barn. Some of her primary responsibilities include feeding, riding and lessons whenever Lynne has to be away. When they are at horse shows, her duties range from making sure horses are prepped and ready to show to feeding and longing.

“On occasion, I am also sprinting back to the stalls at the last second for a forgotten number on a halter shirt, a new can of fly spray or a replacement ear plug that got shook loose,” Braswell says and laughs. “I specialize in the ranch riding and hunter under saddle. I’m starting to enjoy the western riding and trail as well,” Jessica adds.

“Jessica has been my assistant since January of 2017. She showed with me in 2015 and 2016 on her mare in the ranch riding after I had started showing and coaching that event the first year it was offered,” Lynne Puthoff shares.
“Jessica has such a wide range of events in her background from starting race horses to rodeo to roping. We had met through her mother, when she used to help feed and clean stalls for us. My husband Tim and I saw a good hand in Jessica. From coaching her as an amateur, we knew she was capable of learning unfamiliar events and has a passion that matched mine.”

“As the saying goes: ‘good help is hard to find,’ I’m happy to say we got lucky and blessed,” Puthoff says.

GoHorseShow: Hi Jessica! Can you tell us where are you from, educational background and how did you get involved with horses?
Jessica: I am from West Milton, Ohio and attended college for a degree in social services after working as a corrections officer for a while. I decided that I couldn’t deny my heart for what I truly wanted to do and started taking the steps toward a career in the horse industry.

GoHorseShow: When did you start showing?
Jessica: I started showing with Lynne in 2015. However, I have shown other types of horses since I was six; everything from dressage, jumping, reining, barrels and poles to rodeo events like team roping and goat tying.

GoHorseShow: What is it you like about horses and showing?
Jessica: I love being able to take a young horse and watch it learn, being able to show and teach it something, then watch the light bulbs go off and it clicks is the most rewarding thing. I also love seeing the customers click with their horses and excel, but the thrill of the judges paying you off once they make it to the show is the icing on the cake.

GoHorseShow: What are some of your favorite accomplishments in the show arena?
Jessica: My favorite accomplishment was winning the NSBA National High Point for the Amateur Ranch Riding with my mare, BS Zinger Express. As an open rider, my favorite achievement was Lynne and Jack giving me the opportunity to show InviteMeTooSleep. I took the mare to the Congress and we placed in the Top 10 my first year showing with the big dogs of the Ranch Riding. We were also Top 15 in the Jr. Ranch Riding in the nation.

GoHorseShow: What are some well-known horses you have helped train?
Jessica: A few of the horses that have been special to me and I have had the privilege of showing or riding are InviteMeTooSleepOver, BMQ Show Me The Mony, Grace ZipsInThe Rein, Rock On Mr Cool and BS Zinger Express.

GoHorseShow: Who are some of your most significant mentors?
Jessica: My parents have been a massive influence on my life and instilled a work ethic in me. My most significant mentors are Lynne and Tim Puthoff for my AQHA career. They have been with me from the start of this endeavor and given me the guidance I needed to succeed. Lexi Myers started me off doing dressage when I was eight and devoted so much time in me as a youngster to get the correct foundation on me to send me down any road for any discipline.

GoHorseShow: What advice do you have for other young trainers?
Jessica: My biggest advice is never to think any job is below you. If you know something needs to be done, just do it. Your boss will appreciate your extra effort. Also, remember that in the heat of horse showing, emotions run high – don’t let little thing eat at you. One of my favorite sayings is, “Make like a duck and let it roll off your back” which applies to so many things in life and at the horse shows. You can’t let yourself get rattled at the beginning of the day when you are showing the all-around as a competitor, assistant or trainer. You have to shake it off, learn from it, go on and fix it for next time. Then, worry about doing your best for your next class coming up.

GoHorseShow: What are your favorite memories from the industry?
Jessica: Currently we are all still living on the high of the past few wins at the Level 1 East Championship and All America Youth Show with all of our customers. Being a part of their success has been a blast.

GoHorseShow: How did you come about working for Lynne? What do you like about working for her?

Jessica: Lynne and Tim have been great to me; they saw something in me and have pushed me to be the best I can be. They have been so supportive and gave me opportunities I feel like I would not have had anywhere else. I love the mix of horses and people we have in our barn family and the trust they put in me in allowing me to show and work for them.  I rode with Lynne and Tim as an amateur looking to do the ranch riding, doing stalls and barn work to help pay for my horse. Eventually, that turned into giving up my amateur card after I accomplished a few things on my bucket list and working full time for them. I have loved every minute and never looked back.

GoHorseShow: Why do you think you have been successful in this industry?
Jessica: I feel like I have had the right people to back me – my parents, Steve and Valerie Braswell and my fiancé, Dakota Sunday, have always pushed me to be my best and helped me out immensely. No matter what the situation, I know I have those people behind me. Lynne and Tim have given me the opportunity to follow my dream and continued to put their time and efforts into making me the rider I am. We also, of course, have some awesome customers.

GoHorseShow: What would you like to see improved with the industry?
I feel like the industry is going in the right direction, putting the horse’s welfare above everything else is the most important. Second to that, I believe AQHA is making significant efforts in accommodating new members to the association with programs such as Ride The Pattern clinics and the Level 1 Championships.

GoHorseShow: What are your future plans?
I’m getting married in January of 2019, but I plan on continuing my career in the horse industry working with Lynne and some of my customers as well.

Photos © Eric Hardesty and Natalie Hilty