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Ashley Walker Takes A Ride In The Big League

by Melissa Stevens

CLEMSON, S.C. - The J.D. Massey Classic was the place to be last Saturday night as junior exhibitor Ashley Walker and Dusty Beau joined the ranks of such talented riders as Lewis Eckerd and Cash Lovell for a ride in the Open Five-Gaited Championship. Eckerd and Studcor Donatello took the championship class with Cash Lovell and Lakeview’s Rare Lee Seen finishing as reserve. Walker and Dusty Beau made a truly impressive ride for third place, but finishing third in a class with experienced riders like these is nothing to be ashamed of.

Ashley Walker, age 16, has been around horses her entire life. “I’ve been riding horses since before I was even born,” Walker said with a laugh. Her parents, Jon and Hope Walker, of John Walker Stables in York, S.C., have been training horses for years. Walker credits her parents’ love of horses and training as being responsible for her start in the business.

A typically busy teenager, Walker not only rides, but also gives lessons to other youngsters at her parents’ stables. In fact, she is so busy, we had to conduct this interview while she was giving a lesson after school.

When asked what it was like to compete against such talented riders, Walker said, “It was so exciting, but I was nervous. I didn’t really know that I was nervous until I met Cash (Lovell) coming up the side, then the nerves really hit me.”

Walker says she likes riding saddle horses because of the excitement. “They are so different from other horses. A true show horse always knows what to do and just does it,” she said. She offers this advice for other up and coming junior exhibitors, “Enjoy what you do and always do it because you want to.”

Keep your eyes open for this rising star; Ashley Walker is a true competitor and will excel in everything she does.

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