April 24 • 10:40 AM

Teen writes, rides to top

Capac student wins $500, honors for essay in Trotting Association writing contest

September 23, 2009
CAPAC — A 13-year-old local horse enthusiast is on her way to Delaware, Ohio this week, where she will be presented with a $500 check, a plaque and a shining moment in the winner's circle at the Little Brown Jug harness race.

An avid horse lover since she was a little girl, Kayla Brecht will be honored Thursday, Sept. 24, not for her horsemanship but for her writing ability.

An 8th grader at Capac High School, Kayla took first-place honors in a writing competition sponsored by the U.S. Trotting Association.

Her personal story, "The Horse of a Lifetime," which appeared in Hoof Beats magazine, was written about her prized standard-bred gelding, "Southwind Ranger."

Her entry in the 13 and over category drew raves from the panel of judges, which consisted of author and Harness Racing Hall of Fame member Marie Hill, Hoof Beats editor and Hall of Famer Dean Hoffman and Youth Beats editor Jason Turner.

Kayla, 13, is shown with ‘Southwind Ranger,’ the subject of her award winning story.

Kayla says she inherited her love for horses and horse racing from her father, Bud Brecht, who owns and races horses at local harness tracks in Hazel Park, Schwartz Creek and elsewhere.

"We bought Kayla her first horse when she was two years old," Bud recalls. "It was a pony named "Mikey." Since then her life has revolved around horses."

Today, Kayla rides English and Western-style and she often jogs and cares for her dad's race horses.

While barely a teenager, she has little doubt about her future career plans—which will incorporate her love for horses.

"I plan to be a veterinarian," says Kayla. "I've wanted to do it for as long as I can remember. I like being around all animals and I hate seeing them suffer," she said, "I'd like to be able to help them."

"She's a natural with the horses," her dad says, "and she helps me out like crazy."

Kayla says she entered the writing competition on a bit of a whim, and she was very surprised to hear she had won the top prize.

"I just couldn't believe it," she says. "I'm still kind of in shock. I've told all my friends about it and they're very excited for me. It's just been amazing."

While much of her life centers around horses, Kayla's interests and talents are varied.

A consistent all-A student in her school career, Kayla also plays softball, basketball and flute in the high school band.

Her favorite classes are math and science, and she particularly enjoys reading and writing stories and essays; an interest she credits to her 4th-grade teacher, Florence Ruhmann.

Kayla is currently in the process of writing three or four other stories; none of which are horse or animal related, she says.

"There's no specific theme or topic that I like to write about," she says. "It's all different subject matter."

Kayla's mom, Andrea Brecht, emphasizes that her daughter's interests extend beyond the world of horses.

"We're very proud of her and her accomplishments," notes Andrea. "She's a very busy girl and she keeps all of us busy along with her."

Kayla has two brothers, Dakota, 10, and Dylan, 6.

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