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Quickieview with Laine Ashker

I’m super excited to release my next ‘Quickieview’ with #LAE: Laine Ashker. Laine is an American Eventer that has used her social media presence to create major influence in the Equestrian world! She has ridden around some top events on OTTB's. - One of them being 'Anthony Patch'; a crowd favourite and long term partner who she completed many 5* events with. Laine loves OTTB’s and continues to campaign for them within our sport!

‘Quickieviews’ are a series of seemingly random questions within a 5 minute quick interview, that paint a bigger picture on where the Eventing community believes the future of our sport is headed. My main goal with Livin' Eventing is to #groweventing, I believe that one of the places to start is by opening conversations with key athletes and influencers in eventing!

Thanks Laine, you were a pleasure to chat with! You're an example of how we can grow our sport with the help of social media!

Q: In 3 words - Why do you love being a part of the sport of Eventing?

A: Dedication, grit, harmony.

Q: 1 thing you’d wish you’d see more of in Eventing?

A: More kids riding off of natural feel!

Q: 1 thing you’d wish you’d see less of in Eventing?

A: Less hand-holding from coaches - especially with young riders that want to progress!

Q: Best part of being a professional rider?

A: I love being a role model for younger riders. You can look at being in the spotlight in 2 different ways; I like to look at in a positive way! You can use it to share positives from good and bad moments in your life. It's a fulfilling role. I have my own struggles, and it keeps me honest with myself. I can't let myself get in a bad way because I have people looking to me as a role model! At the end of the day it makes me a better person and holds me accountable. Not going to lie - the sponsorships are awesome too ;)

Q: Best part about eventing an OTTB?

A: Their heart for sure. Above the talent, movement - it's their heart!

Q: Can we hear one funny story about your long term partner Anthony Patch?

A: Oh God - there's so many! When I went to go look at Al the people that were showing him to me wouldn't get on him! He was a 4 yr old that was deemed dangerous. I had to get on him, it was the only way that they'd show him to me! They did lunge him first (losing 2 shoes in the process). We eventually figured out that the reason he was so dangerous and crazy is because he's terrified of cattle. As soon as we figured out that cows were a big red flag, I simply didn't go to shows with cattle! He's got a "cowdar", so we would avoid them and scan for cattle in a 20 mile radius of any event!

Thank God there's no Cows at Kentucky!

Q: What’s 1 thing you wish people knew more about you?

A: I have a big musical background. I grew up with my parents in the music industry, and I did a lot of musical theatre. My Mom was a country singer and my Dad a songwriter - so I have a huge passion for music! Growing up in the studio - I have a good ear for tone! My Mom is a recording artist, and sang the national anthem at many big sporting events including the NFL, I even sang with her at a couple. ALSO if there's an animal on the road, big or small, I will stop highway traffic to rescue it!

Q: Now it’s time for the 'quick as you can’ game: off the top of your head (as quickly as you possibly can) name 3 riders you could see starring in the next ‘hot event riders calendar’?

A: Julia Krajewski, Maxime Livio, Bettina Hoy.

Q: Best teacher you ever had?

A: My Mom for sure. My mentor is Buck Davidson.

Q: Most important lesson you’ve ever learned?

A: Patience - especially growing up with OTTB's! Every horse has their own speed and it's our job as their rider to go at their optimal speed.

Q: Do you have a cool non horsey skill/talent?

A: I'm a runner & I do 'tough mudders'.

Q: Most important trait in an event horse?

A: They have to have a good mind!

Q: Most important trait in an event rider?

A: I would say the same - and the ability to focus and work hard. You don't need money or incredible skill - I'm not the most talented rider in the world but I'm willing to work that much harder to be the best! You need to be disciplined and able to sacrifice.

Q: You’re the Queen of social media in Eventing - how can we use social media to create positive influence and #groweventing?

A: I do something called the grid of the day #GOTD - it's something that everybody can use. I also do tips of the day. It's not all about amping yourself up, and posting the success. At the end of the day I'm doing it to promote Eventing and Equestrianism as a whole. That's why I post about the mistakes - that's what makes us human! I guarantee you that the Phillip Dutton's (for example) make mistakes, they just might not be posting about it - sometimes it makes those top riders seem untouchable or unapproachable. I think my generation; The Tom McEwen's/Emily King's - they're a lot more active on social media, which makes them more approachable. It's changing the sport! Now we have 'ERM' and 'Equiratings' - it's growing our Eventing community! For example people love 'STACKS', it's getting them involved. The reach is huge. 'The Eventing Podcast' are tagging riders on their social media posts - they're active, they're commenting back and building the conversation! We're not just hearing from these riders at Burghley or Kentucky anymore, it's bigger than that. I love it. We are sharing ideas across the world..

"At the end of the day I'm doing it to promote Eventing and Equestrianism as a whole."

Q: 1 best Eventing memory?

A: Completing Burghley. It wasn't a fairytale ending but it was the completion of a big dream for me. I did it, I got through it. Although there was a 20 on the scorecard, I was able to persevere and finish with a number opposed to a letter. It was the best piece of riding I've done to date. Normally, I think riding well and a "good weekend" results in a placing! It was badass riding and gave me a gauge of where I need to be. It fuelled the fire and made me realize how much better I need to be.

Laine & Buck

Q: 1 piece of advice for aspiring top riders?

A: I like to speak to the riders (like me) who might not have had the financial means - my biggest piece of advice is to never let the financial issues be an excuse for quitting. There's always a way around it! Find a rider to work for and get an OTTB. I've done 4*'s on over 3 OTTB's, you don't need an expensive horse to do it. I've worked for Jimmy Wofford, Phillip Dutton, Stephen Bradley, and Buck Davidson - I've taken pieces of all of their programs to build my own! The second bit of advice aimed at young people is to finish school and go to college if you can. God forbid, with this sport - it's tough mentally and physically. There are mornings I question what I do (more often than not) but the second I step foot in the barn and train my horses I am reminded why I do it. You never want it to be a job you're stuck in and be unhappy. It's always good to have a back up plan. Also you want to be well rounded, and be able to talk about something other than horses!!

Q: What’s the toughest skill to teach a rider?

A: Natural feel. There's too much hand holding going on in eventing today especially with the young riders! A lot of riders don't know how to think on their own anymore. You can't even get a word in when you're warming up in the Beginner Novice, it's too much! We are doing a disservice to our youth. Often kids that aren't over-coached have better natural feel. Kids that grow up in a program often might be pretty riders but they lack that grit/problem solving. Backyard riding has it's benefits; those kids learn to be independent and problem solve. I think we're missing that in our country.

Q: 1 riding skill you’ve struggled to master yourself?

A: My mental game. Nobody puts more pressure on myself than I do. I'm quite good about not letting the high's get too high but I have to watch my low's. I will beat myself up when a ride doesn't go right! I really seek to be great, so it's my best and worst trait. I always hold myself accountable, if something goes wrong I am quick to blame myself and don't forgive myself as quick as I should. Some of my eventing friends have recommended books - a couple good ones are 'Mind Gym' & 'Burn your Goals'.

Q: 1 skill that many riders lack?

A: Quickness to react.

Q: 1 skill that many horses lack?

A: Sharpness off the leg.

Q: 1 way to make Eventing safer?

A: Teaching riders to correctly jump at speed.

Q: 1 way to bring more attention to our sport?

A: We need more things like 'Event Rider Masters'!

Q: 1 event that you look forward to every year?

A: Any of the 5*'s!

Q: Caroline Moore wants to know: ‘What do you do in your down time?’

A: I do yoga, and maybe have a massage once a month. I use to have time for a boyfriend and dating apps but not at the moment, I hang out with my birds!

Q: 1 question that I should ask the next rider/influencer in my next Quickieview?

A: What brings you happiness?

Q: 1 more round of the ‘quick as you can’ game: name 3 event horses that you would love to have the ride on?

A: Congo Brazzaville C, Toledo de Kerser, Simply Priceless.

I also asked Laine for a cute or funny horse picture from her phone - this is what she came up with!

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