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13 questions with freshman Ashton Ottley

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Freshman Ashton Ottley has been involved with horses from a very young age. Because of her passion for horsemanship, Ottley participates in many competitions involving her horses. She also has plans to participate in racing events outside of her high school career.

1. When exactly did you start riding horses?

“I got my first horse when I was 4 years old and then sort of fell out of touch with it. But now that I started back up, I don’t think you’ll ever get me off.”

2. What was the name of the first horse you owned?

“The name name of the first horse I owned was Benjer. I was a weird and apparently creative child.”

3. Are you involved with any competitions regarding horsemanship/riding? If so, what competitions have you participated in?

“I am involved in KWHA, which stands for Kansas Western Horsemanship Association. I do all speed events like barrels, poles and other fast events. I just started taking him to those this summer, and I plan to start hauling him to some jackpots soon.”

4. How do you prepare for these completions?

“For competitions, I usually try to make sure he’s listening to me by doing a lot of slow work with him. I just basically try to make sure he knows who’s in control and hope that he listens.”

5. What do you typically do at these competitions/events?

“I do all the fast events. The little dude likes to run, so I let him. We do barrels, poles, key race, flag face, polo turn, 360 eight race, half 8 race and just lots of little things like this.”

6. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

“I’d say my biggest inspiration would have to be Sherry Cervi. I think she’s an amazing barrel racer and man, she can ride a horse.”

7. What is the name of your current horse and why did you name it that?

“The name of my horse right now is Emoji. He came with this name when I bought him, and I just decided to keep it the same. If he was an actual emoji though, he’d be this one: ?. That’s because sometimes I swear he’s the devils child.”

Ottley and her horse Emoji.

Ottley and her horse Emoji.

8. Is your family supportive of you being involved with horses and competitions?

“Yes, my family does everything they can to help me get to shows on weekends. They definitely want me to succeed. My brother is always pushing me to do better.”

9. Have you ever been in a horse-related accident?

“Yes and no, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been bucked off a couple times but the most severe injury was just a concussion. I never really considered myself really getting injured. Heck, I’ve gotten back on every time so it couldn’t be too bad.”

10. Do any of your family members participate in competitions/riding horses?

“No. As much as they all support me I just don’t think it’s really for them. They’re all so busy that they just don’t really have time for it.”

11. Besides horsemanship, what are your passions?

“I like spending time with my friends and family when I’m not on my horse. But other than that my whole passion lives with my horse.”

12. Do you plan to continue being involved with horses outside of high school?

“Heck yeah, I’m hoping to maybe get some scholarships for rodeo. After that I hope to go pro, my goals are to go to NFR, get my pro card and travel around the world going to all sorts of barrel races.”

13. What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming involved with horse-related completions?

“Honestly just go for it. It’s a great thing to get involved with. At the end of the day if no one else is standing by you, you always have your horse. The nice thing about riding horses is it’s all yourself. The only person who can make you better is you, so if you put the time in then you can make your dreams come true. Also, don’t get a young horse if you don’t know what you’re doing. Chances are you’ll get hurt pretty bad.”

17aweber@usd489.com

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The School Newspaper of Hays High School
13 questions with freshman Ashton Ottley