A little about me – Ashley

First off, I’d like to say how excited I am to be a part of the ESRR team and I’m looking forward to many adventures with these girls! 
A little bit about me: although I’ve been riding for the better part of my life, I wasn’t always into horses. In fact, I was terrified of animals. My mother (bless her heart) heard that horses were therapeutic so she shopped me off to horse camp for a week. Although I refused to go near a horse the first few days, by the end of the week, I had signed up for another! Little did anyone know where this would eventually lead to. I purchased my first horse at age 13. Her name was Josie, a beautiful varnish roan Appaloosa. I had been riding her for about a year prior to the owner offering to sell her to me. Of course the decision was easy. Josie taught me many things a first horse does. I got my first red ribbon with her, competed in high school rodeo which eventually let me to pro rodeo, and without her, I don’t know if I would have received an invitation to join the Canadian Cowgirls when they first formed. This amazing opportunity offered me the chance to satisfy my love for travel and what better than travelling with my horse and my friends. I discontinued riding with the team when I moved away to go to school although Josie did come with me and settled into a nice retirement.

When Josie passed away and I was searching for another horse, I came across Splash. I had no intention of returning to competing so I just wanted a sane, sound, flashy horse that I could trail ride on and she fit the bill. Like any relationship, we’ve our rough patches but I wouldn’t trade this horse for the world. She takes to anything I ask her to do like she’s been doing it her whole life. This awesome attitude allowed me to ride once again the the Canadian Cowgirls, where Splash’s first year on the team took her to Equine Affaire in Ohio, the Royal Winter Fair, the International Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma and the Tournament of Roses parade in California. 

Although she has a very willing attitude, Splash was never one to enjoy being in an arena (and to be honest, neither am I!) so when I heard that there was such a thing as endurance and it was in Ontario, I was intrigued. After discovering this blog, I was very interested in trying it out for myself. After lots of research and asking questions, I was prepared to start training for my first ride. Seems like it all paid off as Splash finished her first ride at 25 miles in second place! We were hooked! Our next goal was to complete a couple more 25 mile rides in 2015 to gauge how ready we were to attempt a 50 mile ride, which we completed as our last ride this year and we beat a number of personal goals as well. Our goals for the 2016 include improving our time on the 50s and to do some rides in the U.S. I hope figuring out a training and competition plan over the winter will help make the off-season go by faster!  

Josie and I in the Kentucky Derby parade

  
Splash and I at a rodeo
  

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