Sometimes you just know the horse crazy bug is here to stay, and for Ashlyn Renfroe, that bug has taken her across the country, and at the top of the leader board more than once. Ashlyn joined Team EASC at the end of last year and we couldn't be more excited to introduce you to her! We chatted with both Ashlyn and her father, Larry, to get some insight into this young cowgirl.
Easy to say, Ashlyn was born into the horse world. Growing up, her father started 2 yr olds and trained rope horses. He told us "The first time I knew she was "struck by the bug" was when she was 3-4 years old and she would sit all day (and I mean 10-12 hours) on the fence and watch me in the round pen with colts". Not too long after, Ashlyn got her first barrel horse who, unknown to them, was also a trained trick horse! Luckily for her parents, she stayed on the rodeo path, and maybe helped reduce at least some of the anxiety when she goes in the pen, ha! She has been determined to stay in the saddle and continue riding, learning, and honing her skills. Even at 5 yrs old, she got her dad to saddle a horse for her in 30 degree weather she could still get out there and ride.
Once she started competing, it was clear that Ashlyn was in this for the long haul. What started on the Little Britches Rodeo circuit has now turned into The Texas Junior Rodeo, UPRA rodeos, numerous local events, and even hauling to Vegas to compete in the All In Barrel Race. Ashlyn's proudest moment in the show pen so far was winning the average in poles at the TJRA Finals in 2018. Her favorite mount, Dance My Way To Victory (aka Kitten), came from Shields Barrel Horses and has been a great partner for her these past few years. The Shields, as well as the McLeods, who have been longtime members of the barrel racing community, have been friends and mentors to Ashlyn along her journey and she is so thankful for their support and advice. The rodeo arena can be tough, but surrounding yourself with like-minded people, who build each other up, and support each other thru all the ups and downs of life, can not only help with your success, but also, give you friends for life.
Although a fierce competitor, Ashlyn is also a humble showman and is always willing to help a fellow horseman. Her family recalls how Ashlyn let a young lady borrow her barrel horse after the girl had just found out that her own horse was hurt and wouldn't be able to compete. Even though they were both entered in the same age group, and would only have a few horses between them, it didn't change Ashlyn's mind at all to "pay it forward" and give the other rider a chance to compete. Ashlyn herself will tell you that the best advice she would give young people looking to start the rodeo trail is to have fun and do your best, it isn't just about winning. Great advice for someone with just 12 yrs under her hat!
Her father will also tell you similar advice if you are a parent whose child wants to compete. He says to remember "It's ok for your kid(s) to lose! You don't have to buy the fastest or the best horse. You have to buy a horse they can ride and control. Winning will come." And if the past has been any indicator of things to come, then Ashlyn sure has a bright future ahead of her! Currently, Ashlyn competes in barrel bacing, pole bending, and goat tying on her two primary horses, Kitten & Cornbread. This year, her goal is to qualify for the Jr NFR in Las Vegas, Nevada. We wish Ashlyn and her great horses all the luck in the world and are confident that their star will shine the brightest, win or lose! ~