What’s in Your Ring? with AEC Novice Horse Winner Ashley Phillips

Ashley Phillips and Bayani Slade, 2016 AEC Novice Horse champions. Photo by Ryan Hall.

Ashley Phillips and Bayani Slade, 2016 AEC Novice Horse champions. Photo by Ryan Hall.

“What’s in your ring?” is a new EN series in which riders share their favorite jumping exercises. It’s easy to get stuck in a training rut, and we hope this will inspire you with fresh ideas that you can take home and incorporate into your own programs.

First up, we’ve got Ashley Phillips of Timberway Farm in Maryville, TN. This young professional is fresh off a great week at the 2016 American Eventing Championships, where she won the Novice Horse division on Bayani Slade and also enjoyed a successful Prelim Horse result on Theodoir. Ashley has brought both horses along herself with the help of dressage trainer Cathy Fox and eventer Peter Atkins.

Bayoni Slade, who goes by “Donovan” around the barn, is an OTTB (Doneraile Court x Klegenfurt) that she got four years ago directly from his breeder’s farm. They’ve had some setbacks, including a lengthy rehab when Ashley’s upper-level horse kicked him in his cannon bone which resulted in a hairline fracture last year.

“I have taken his training slow to ensure his confidence moving up the levels,” Ashley says. “He is an extremely talented horse that can be difficult to focus and relax. We have worked hard all season to get him strong in his hind end and relaxed in the show ring.”

Ashley Phillips and Bayani Slade. Photo by Ryan Hall.

Ashley Phillips and Bayani Slade. Photo by Ryan Hall.

Everything fell into place at the 2016 AECs, where they added nothing to their dressage score of 25.3 to dominate an extremely competitive division.

“We went for it in dressage which paid off and the judge commenting ‘bold test.’ I mean it is AECs so why not go for it?!” she says. “Cross country the next day was a breeze, and I had to be careful of my time as to not go too fast. Donovan ended up going double clear in stadium and securing at least second place. I burst into tears when I found out he had won his division. I was overwhelmed with the fact that my little OTTB could be the top in his division at a championship. I am hoping this is just the beginning for this guy and we can continue moving up the levels proving that OTTBs can compete with the best and dominate.”

What’s in Ashley’s ring? “The main grid consists of a bounce, one stride, two stride, to a bounce. I also have a bounce set up beside the grid so that I can do the bending line bounces.”

Photo courtesy of Ashley Phillips.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Phillips.

What she likes about it: “I love incorporating gridwork into my coursework to keep the horses sharp and adjustable. With my upper level horse, I will do the bounces and then bending line to the vertical or oxer, trot through the grid, canter down my three stride line, then trot back over my bending line bounces. There are unlimited options with this set up! I can cater to what each horse needs without rearranging my arena daily.”

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Demonstration, please!

Many thanks to Ashley for sharing and best of luck to her and her talented horses!

Do you have an exercise to share, or is there an eventer you would like to nominate for the “What’s in Your Ring?” series? Email me at [email protected]

Go Eventing.

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