Catching Up With Laine Ashker in Kentucky

Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch. Photo by Samantha Clark. Laine Ashker and Anthony Patch. Photo by Samantha Clark.

Last weekend Kentucky was digging out from under record amounts of snow, but fast forward seven days and we’re basking in temps in the mid-60s and enjoying glorious sunshine. Could it be a mere coincidence of timing that both the gorgeous weather and the tour de force that is Laine Ashker both arrived at exactly the same time?

Laine flew straight up from competing in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington and spent the weekend in LaGrange, Kentucky teaching a clinic, much to our delight. Bringing her trademark enthusiasm, sense of humour and of course solid horsemanship coupled with useful and imaginative exercises, the weekend was a huge success.

Melissa Trelfa and Luna. Photo by Karen Taylor

Melissa Trelfa and Luna at Laine’s clinic. Photo by Karen Taylor.

Melissa Trelfa, an equine and human massage therapist and body worker organised the clinic and hosted 16 riders, 11 of whom were repeat customers with Laine.

“I want to have her here four times a year. I have ridden with Lainey several times. I brought her to a clinic at our farm in July of 2015 and I fell in love with Lainey’s positive teaching style and ability to make complex or technical riding techniques very simple to understand. I love how she can really assess each horse and rider and really connect with them. She is incredibly caring and very passionate about her students,” Melissa said.

“I rode with her here in July 2015 and then I travelled to her farm in Virginia in August 2015, then she came back here in October 2015 and December 2015 and this weekend. I am very blessed to be able to learn from one of the best! So my interest is continuing the relationship with Lainey teaching at our farm. I really enjoy having a clinician willing to come out every few months so we can continue the learning process. She always remembers the horses and students, and it is a way for us to have her coach us even though we live in Kentucky.”

Julia Becker and Grace pose with Laine Ashker at a recent clinic in LaGrange, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Melissa Trelfa

Julia Becker and Grace pose with Laine Ashker at a recent clinic in LaGrange, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Melissa Trelfa.

Full of energy, Laine made a real difference to riders’ confidence, positions and the way they rode their courses. Working on both the details and the big picture, all the riders I saw made improvements even in that short time, and the instructions Laine gave them were simple and common sense that they could apply when working on their own at home. After each session Laine answered questions relating to the specific exercises they’d done, or about various bits or pieces of tack riders might be contemplating, or about their horses or riding in general.

Although completely down to earth and one of the warmest, friendliest riders on the circuit, there’s also no denying that Laine brings a little bit of rock star glamour to the scene, she just can’t help it — several of the riders in the clinic were sporting sparkling belts or accessories, and I know I saw them on Laine Ashker first!

Molly Laird and DC riding with Laine Ashker in a recent clinic near LaGrange, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Melissa Trelfa

Molly Laird and DC riding with Laine Ashker in a recent clinic near LaGrange, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of Melissa Trelfa.

There’s a reason she has several trillion followers on social media — Laine leads by example and she’s a total natural, and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance couldn’t have picked a better Ambassador, although they may have found her equal in her mother.

If you ask Laine where she finds her inspiration she’ll tell you without hesitation she draws strength from her family, and especially her mother, Valerie. Valerie has long been a staunch supporter of the OTTB and has sourced some outstanding horses both for Laine and many other eventers, and this year embarks on the adventure of a lifetime on her own OTTB, Primativo.

Laine kindly took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to chat about her own plans for this year, how she adjusts from the glitz and glam of Wellington to teaching here in Kentucky (!), being a Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Ambassador, and a little more about her mother’s big trip.

You can find out more about Valerie’s adventure via her website here.

Many thanks to Laine for her time and to the 12:30 Sunday session for being so patient and waiting while we talked. Laine will be back in Kentucky the first weekend of March for a repeat clinic, and then fingers crossed for another appearance at Rolex at the end of April.

Wishing Laine and Anthony Patch, and the rest of the #LAE team a safe and successful spring season and looking forward to catching up with them again soon. #goAlgo and Go Eventing!

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