Ashley grew up in the small town of Easley, SC with parents who had only minimal experience with horses. After begging for lessons, they finally gave in and at the age of 5 Ashley began riding at a western barn just down the road. At age 10, she had finally convinced them to buy her a horse and was delighted to find Ace, an older Tennessee Walker/Quarter Horse gelding. She began trying to jump Ace over PVC poles held up with cinder blocks but had trouble getting him to actually jump the fence. At that point she found her first trainer, Jamie Maddox, who realized that Ashley wanted to be an English style rider much more than a Western rider.
Ashley joined Pony Club around the age of 12, purchased a more suitable pony for jumping, and moved up the levels quickly. When she left for college she had graduated as a C-3. Ashley attended Clemson University for three and a half years, attaining her B.A. in Communication Studies and graduating Magna Cum Laude. She then went on to work for Holly Hepp Hudspeth after realizing that she wanted to reach her goal as a professional equestrian. Ashley worked for Holly for a year and half before deciding to move on to somewhere a bit closer to home. That’s when she found a working student position at The Fork with Rebecca Howard. She worked for Rebecca for six months before finances came into play and she needed to begin working as her own boss to pay the bills.
She then was given the opportunity to work at a breeding facility in Rock Hill, SC. Having a close connection to the facility (they were the ones who bred her upper level horse Maybelline Cover Girl), she quickly discovered that there were many more talented young horses on the property and was pleased to begin working with them. After working there for about six months, Rebecca revealed that she was planning to move permanently to England after the Olympics. As Rebecca was Ashley’s trainer, this posed a problem for her in deciding where to go for another trainer.
After a lot of soul searching, Ashley decided to move up to Middleburg, VA in July of 2012. She knew Lynn Symansky as a friend and an excellent trainer and fell in love with the area after coming up for only a short visit. Ashley and her husband, Erich, are now renting a lovely facility in The Plains, VA.
ASHLEY’S RIDING AND TRAINING BACKGROUND
Ashley has never had a “made” or “fully trained” horse since she was growing up. Every horse she has owned she produced herself as a project horse. Bringing up green horses has not always been easy but Ashley finds it very rewarding to see how the horses grow up, change and come to love their jobs in time.
Discovering what each horse is talented at is something Ashley prides herself on and she goes to great lengths to ensure that every horse is doing the job it likes to do. Ashley works hard to make sure that each horse is ridden differently based on what its individual strengths and weaknesses are.
- 2011 USEF Long listed
- 2011 6th placed Intermediate Rider in the country
- Graduate C-3 from United States Pony Club
- Finished 35th at Fair Hill CCI** (with over 70 starters) in 2011
- 2010 11th placed finisher at Virginia CCI*
- Multiple completions at other FEI events with no cross country penalties, including The Fork CIC** and Jersey Fresh CCI**