The New Guard: Leaps and Bounds for Ashley Stannard

11140250_661392414022_920210308096246584_nby Intern Mackenzie Shuman

Ashley Stannard, 31, from Wayzata, Minn., has been riding horses ever since she was a little girl, but things have only recently started to get big for her. In fact, after getting a Bachelors of Science degree in equine science at William Woods University and turning pro in 2008, she didn’t even want her own business.

“After taking an assistant training job that was coming to an end, I was ready to move elsewhere out of horses…until I was approached by a few people in the Tuscon [Ariz.] horse community stating that Tuscon needed young and educated professionals,” Stannard said. Soon after, Stannard started thinking about opening her own farm.

Ashbrook Farm came to fruition in 2010, and is now located in Tuscon. While Stannard now has about 25 horses at her farm actively competing and in her very own training program, there was definitely help along the way.

“Ronnie Freeman has been one of my greatest mentors. He put me in the ring for my first grand prix, and together we have been able to bring a handful of inexperienced horses up to the grand prix level,” Stannard said.

Not only did people give Stannard lessons in the horse business, her horses did as well.

“My first grand prix horse, Whisper VC, taught me the most about jumping the bigger tracks, as well as how to have such a great appreciation for these animals that give so much to us humans,” said Stannard.

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Whisper VC and Stannard in Colorado, summer 2013

She has carried these lessons into every aspect of her career. Recently, Stannard won her first Grand Prix at HITS Tuscon during week 3 aboard Fierte Violet this past February. Her program has also guided many of her riders to wins and championships.

While being in the competitive horse industry may have its difficulties, Stannard has shown that she can push through and strive to be the best. Ashbrook Farm doesn’t only have a strong riding program.

“I’m proud that I have been able to create an atmosphere at Ashbrook Farm that is genuinely supportive and drama-free, with people that truly just love horses,” she explained.

From the horses she turns out to the riders she creates, Stannard has brought Ashbrook Farm to become a competitive name in the horse industry.

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Fierte Violet, with whom Stannard just won her first grand prix.

This journey that Stannard has created for herself is something that she cherishes. “I can look back and see how much I have grown as a professional and business owner in the past six years and I can’t wait to see what opportunities the future holds,” she said.

Find Ashbrook Farm with Ashley Stannard at the Scottsdale Spring shows, Showpark Spring Festival, Las Vegas Spring Classic, Santa Fe, Showpark All Seasons for YJC Championships, and the LA Longines Masters along with many other shows. You can also find them on Facebook at Ashbrook Farm, as well as their website www.ashbrookfarm.com.