On Riata she expands her choices and shows just how versatile both she and her horse can be. Classes entered include two under English classes, hunt seat equitation and hunter under saddle, western showmanship, trail, horsemanship, western pleasure and reining.
Julie explained the type of trained horses that compete in the shows Ashley participates in as almost like dressage without the fancy steps. The horse is very discplined and doesen’t do anything until the rider tells him to unlike barrel racing, cutting or ranch work where the horse has to anticipate and sometimes decide what he needs to do.
The decision to follow the horse show circuit was not a minor one and requires a lot of time, dedication and travel. At the shows sanctioned by the American Paint Horse Association there is a Youth Champion and a Versatility award that is won by accumulated points from sanctioned shows. Ashley has won both.
“We go the year around,” Ashley said.
One of her big wins was close to home in Tulsa. In August 2009 Ashley and Riata won the High-Point Youth Title in the American Paint Horse Association 14–18 age group at the Reichert Celebration. This organization was founded in 1999 and is now the nation’s number one all breed horse show and futurity with 8,638 entries. The horses come from all 50 states, six of the 12 Canadian provinces and three European countries. Prize money in the amount of $300,000 was awarded.
“A lot of shows we go to are in Texas,” Julie said. “There are five or six paint horse clubs that combine to have shows. There are twenty judges and the high point winner is the Texas State Champion.” In February of 2009 Ashley and Riata won this award.
During the year the family travels as far as Houston and Waco and as close as Tulsa for sanctioned shows. Over the years Ashley has filled her room with trophies that range from a beautiful wood carving of a horse’s head to a set of stirrups.