MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
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Ashley Spangler
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Member Spotlight Questionnaire  
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What is your farm’s name and where is
it located?

I am lucky enough to have my own place at
my parents’ farm called Mill Pond Farm in
Elverson. My horses live outside 24/7, but I
have a nice shed row barn, tack room, and
outdoor ring. Though I am the only one who
currently rides, the whole family enjoys having
the horses on the property. I am forever
grateful for all the support from my mom
and step dad all these years; making my
dreams as a youngster to have my own
horses and setup a forever evolving reality.
Though my horses live at home, I do spend a
lot of my riding time with my barn family at
Mane Line Stables with Jen Horner Shirk in
Elverson as well. It’s always more fun with
friends!
Can you describe a favorite moment in your riding
career?

Without a doubt it was the day I got my first horse,
Scout. As many of us horse crazy girls did, I constantly
presented my parents with pictures of horses for sale for
almost 10 years before I was surprised with the
greatest gift ever for my 16th birthday. Anyone who
knows me, and maybe even those who don’t, know that
horse. He’s been my trusty companion for coming 19 years,
and has helped me achieve more than I could ever have
imagined from a barely broke 2-year-old to the one I can
always depend on.


What lesson has horses taught you?

So many lessons over all these years. The biggest lesson is
probably how to care for those that can’t care for
themselves and to be so in tune to an animal or person’s
needs without needing to speak. This is something I do
daily working as an occupational therapist in a nursing
home. The other huge lesson, which is always ongoing, is
confidence in myself. I have struggled with severe anxiety
my whole life and I used to be so afraid to speak to
people I did not know. The horses have allowed me to be
unapologetically myself and forced me to speak to those
who care for them such as vets and farriers.  This has
slowly reduced my shyness. I have met great friends in
my life through horses and I thank them for that.
How did you get involved in Side Saddle?

My good friend, Mary Musheno, had been involved in the world of side saddle
when she was younger, and several years back she wanted to get back at
it. She didn’t have a horse at that time so as with anything new, I threw
Scout into it. Mary was his rider for that first year and took him to his
first show aside which happened to be Devon (that horse got in the Dixon
Oval before I ever did!). He took to it like he does to everything else I
have thrown his way…like a champ! After seeing the fun Mary was having,
and the wonderful side saddle community, with her help I dove in and began
riding, showing, and fox hunting aside. Without Mary it would not be possible.
The encouragement, friendship, education, and loaning of equipment while I
was accumulating it myself was invaluable, and we have many more side
ways adventures ahead!
What's in your tack trunk?

You mean tack trucks!? 20 years of multiple horses have
made me a bit of a pack rat but here are a few of my tried
and true favorites. Since I have a mostly white horse who is
giant, a good whitener is key. My favorite is Vetrolin White &
Bright.  I also can’t do without Back on Track gear. It’s
been essential as my horses age and work hard both showing
and hunting. My last favorite is County Saddles. I have been
riding in County for the last 20 years and I would never
think about changing.


Do you have any superstitions when it comes to
riding?

I think the only superstition I have is not changing a horse’
s name. I was told as a kid it’s bad luck to change it and for
some reason it’s stuck with me. Good thing mine have all had
good names so far!
What do you like to do when not riding?

My full-time job is as an Occupational Therapist specializing in geriatrics.
I love being with the older population and I think I come home with a good
story everyday. Being able to help people is very important to me in many areas
of my life. When not at work or with the horses, my husband and I are both
volunteer fire fighters with 2 fire companies in Chester County. It’s not
something this horse girl from Devon ever saw in her future, but after
meeting my husband who grew up in Ludwig’s Corner, and spending time at the
station with him and those who would become my friends, I was hooked! He
holds a chief officer position at both, and I am the safety officer at the
department closest to our house in Elverson. Between all of the commitments
outside the home it doesn’t leave much daylight, but I always have time to
snuggle our 4 dogs and 2 cats (the chickens aren’t much for snuggles), and
take care of the horses daily. As anyone with horses in their care knows, we
spend more time doctoring, feeding, and mucking then riding…but I wouldn’t
change a thing
How old were you when you started riding?

I grew up in Wayne and Devon, so when I got the itch to follow
in my aunt and cousin’s footsteps, my mom started me off at 7
years old at Valley Forge Military Academy for lessons since it
was around the corner. I was quickly hooked and transitioned to
riding with my aunt who taught at Fox Hollow at the time.