Ashley found her passion for horses from a very early age, “working” cows at the age of 3 on the family farm in Springdale, Arkansas! She started formal training around age 9, competing in the NCHJA Hunters and Equitation and earning many year end awards throughout middle and high school.
Ashley holds a UNC degree in Communications which she credits with helping her better connect horses and riders. She competed with the UNC Equestrian Team in IHSA, while also continuing to build upon her dressage foundation under USDF Gold Medalist Lynn Leath. She worked part-time with Ali Shackelford learning about a successful breeding and young horse program, eventually joining Apex Equestrian’s Team as a working student, for Int’l Grand Prix German Jumpers Matthias Holberg and Thaisa Erwin where she wintered in Ocala, FL as a groom and also personally competed.
Accepting the position of Barn Manager & Trainer at Seaton Hackney Stables, NJ, Ashley had a very active lesson program with over 20 horses, ran summer camps, and took the show team to local competitions. While there, Ashley co-developed a program for the most advanced show team students to attend winter camp in Ocala, FL. Ashley prides herself on her love of caring for school horses as well as bringing riders of all ages and abilities through the ranks.
To further develop her own skill Ashley ‘jumped’ at the opportunity to join Palermo Show Stables. As a Trainer and Exercise Rider under Int’l Grand Prix Jumper Osvaldo Ornia Pacher she continued competing in hunter/jumpers (Adequan Hunters and up through Level 3 Jumpers) and events such as the Garden State Horse Show. (Clinics with Olympic riders including: Laura Kraut, Chris Kappler, Anne Kursinski). While at Palermo, her marketing plans included her program for lesson riders to attend the winter season in Wellington, FL (WEF and winter camps). Ashley believes in providing exciting experiences for her riders, to truly introduce and immerse them to all the offerings of the equestrian world.
Sought out by the owners of Bow Brickhill Stables in NJ, Ashley accepted position of Head Hunter/Jumper Trainer. She enjoyed training and showing the farm’s young sales horses while continuing to teach riders of all ages and levels. She worked alongside well-known eventing trainer & husband of Sinead Halpin, Tik Maynard (Canadian Team, TB Makeover Winner). This not only expanded Ashley’s skills in groundwork, it also introduced her to eventing/cross country. (Clinics with: Sinead Halpin/US WEG Team, Peter Leone, Bernie Traurig). Ashley prides herself on being praised for soft, following releases and a true natural feel. She trained 4 top ponies for 3 different riders, qualifying all for Pony Finals. Her students enjoyed numerous wins competing on the NJHSA and CJL Circuit at schooling level through AA Shows.
While working and training in Wellington, FL, Ashley was recruited by Lainie Wimberly (Hunter World Champion, Legacy Cup, Maclay Winner) for nationally-known Brigadoon Show Stables, NY. Honored to start as Asst. Trainer & Rider, she enjoyed teaching as well as competing at top Northeast show destinations (Old Salem Farms, The Hampton Classic, HITS, Saratoga, Fairfield Hunt Club). She worked with noted top mounts: Beaucatcher, Poprocks, and the Champion Hunter Boulevard Dier.
Ashley has made her way back to NC with her husband Will - a former Nuclear Engineer in the US Navy. Her love for the Triangle area and Will’s desire to apply his GI bill toward a computer science degree at the University of North Carolina has enticed them to call the Chapel Hill area their home once again!
Gabby found her love for horses at the age of 7. She started out riding at a vaulting barn, and even rode in a few vaulting competitions before moving on to a hunter/jumper barn. Gabby transitioned to a H/J barn in Gloucester, VA as a student of Louise Theberge. She started attending horse shows in middle school, competing with her pony, “Dennis the Menace”, in the Large Pony divisions earning numerous ribbons and year end ribbons. Once in highschool, and sadly too big for her pony, Gabby moved on to working with a green thoroughbred, “Elvis”. She enjoyed the challenge of working with a horse who wasn’t a finished hunter. Gabby was able to compete in the green and schooling divisions with Elvis throughout high school. After graduation, Gabby furthered her education and went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at University of Lynchburg. During her college career Gabby continued to ride horses and build upon her skills.
Post-college, Gabby moved to North Carolina to start her career in Cytogenetics. Once settled, she began to ride for Pleasant Hill Farm under Cammie Fielding and Becca Freshwater in Hillsborough, NC. With their guide, Gabby had the opportunity to ride a variety of horses, and the opportunity to get back into the show ring. In addition to competitions, Gabby also enjoys riding in clinics of various equestrian topics, including clinics under the instruction of Robert Jacobs (founder of The Robert Lawrence Horse of Opportunity Equestrian Non-Profit), 5-star event rider and Level 4 USEA certified instructor, Holly Hudspeth, and 4-star event rider, Meg Kepferle.
In 2020, Gabby decided to try for a career shift to the equestrian world. Since joining DEC, Gabby has been able to pursue her passion and work with young/green horses accomplishing training goals. Gabby strives to provide a safe & fun learning environment for all riders and horses.
Amelia has been riding horses since the age of 5. Growing up north of Houston, her love of riding began in the hunter circuit. She competed primarily in Texas, Virginia, and Maryland, earning many year end awards at the state level.
Moving to DC for high school, Amelia fostered an interest in show jumping and western riding. She began training for show jumping, eventually competing in the 1.3m classes. With a busy school schedule in mind, Amelia decided that she had accomplished all she had set out to do in the competition ring and decided to turn to training instead.
Before coming to DEC, Amelia trained jumper horses, generally riding 1m to 1.45m, with many of her horses going on to be successful at the Washington International Horse Show, Tryon, Ocala, and other national show series. She also gave lessons during this time, primarily to beginners and intermediates interested in hunters. In the summer of 2020, faced with a COVID summer at home, Amelia decided to drive to Oklahoma where she lived and worked at a horse rescue, helping to take care of more than 30 horses, retraining them under saddle or on the ground, and working to find them healthy forever homes.
When not at DEC, Amelia is a student dual-enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University studying Computer Science and Decision Sciences. She competes on the Duke University Equestrian Team and serves as the team Recruitment and Social Chair. She loves teaching all ages and all skill levels and takes great pride in watching her students become more patient and well-equipped equestrians.