EP 02: Ashley Schafer |The Horses that Made Me

Ashley coming in hot 2nd barrel shot

In this Racer’s Edge podcast episode, featuring Ashley Nelson Schafer, we visit with horse trainer, Ashley Schafer, to follow-up on her upcoming Racer’s Edge episode. Expect to learn about some of the horses she has ridden, who she is outside the arena, advice on how to deal with set-backs, success in the futurity world, and a few of her favorite things.

Ashley coming in hot 2nd barrel shot
Ashley at the 2016 ERA World Championships in Dallas, Texas

About Ashley

Ashley Schafer is a well-known trainer in both the futurity and rodeo worlds. She gives a lot of credit for her success to her time at the Jud Little Ranch in Ardmore, Oklahoma training under Jolene Montgomery. After training under Jolene, Ashley trained for the Jud Little Ranch for one year as their main trainer before moving to Wyoming. Joe and Carla Spitz of Spitz Quarter Horses were some of Ashley’s first clients after going out on her own and brought her several horses to futurity, one of which being Freckles Ta Fame, otherwise known as CanMan. Since then, Ashley has gone on to train and jockey countless successful futurity and rodeo horses.

Ashley and Pasen checking on her colts
Juggling a toddler and futurity colts
Ashley can gather cattle with the best of 'em
Ashley’s first love: Roping



Freckles Ta Fame “CanMan”

2009 stallion, LTE $100,000+

KR Last Fling “Laramie”

2010 Mare, LTE $100,000+

Vanilas Sudden Fame “Reese”

2010 Mare, LTE $110,000+

Guys Girl Power

2010 Mare

Positively Streakin “Salty”

2014 Mare

  • Owned by Spitz Quarter Horses
  • 2018 Pink Buckle – placed in both rounds and the average as well as winning some open money for a total of nearly $15,000

Traits Ashley Looks for in a prospect:   Natural Rate & Ability

Horse Profiles

The Cheerleader – “Salty”
Not overly smart, cute, athletic, happy, gets distracted, some things go over her head

Soft Ball Player – “Laramie”
Athletic, cool, level-headed, confident, not dramatic. Similar attitude as Jolene Montgomery – no drama and laid-back but when it’s game-time she gets serious.

Famed French Kiss “Sissy” – similar attitude to Joy Wargo.
Doesn’t show much emotion, is quiet, stand-off attitude at first but once you get to know her she will talk your ear off & you can always count on her to make the same trip.

Freckles Ta Fame “CanMan”
A sweetheart you can always count on to make the same trip. Theme Song “Stand By Me”

Favorite Classic Equine Products

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Advice to Trainers

  • If you want to be around horses you must constantly work on being a better horseman! Horsemanship = key to success.
    • Go to clinics, read books, watch videos, whatever it takes
  • Work hard, stay dedicated, keep the right mental attitude, stay positive, keep emotions in check
  • Be specific with cues and consistent with those cues from home to public.
    • Don’t watch other people exhibition and change your method at the barrel race
    • It is OK to try new things but try them at home first
  • Keep expectations in perspective

Advice to Owners

  • Know your end goal & make sure you make your expectations are clear at the beginning
  • Find the right trainer for your personal goals and your horse
  • There are different kinds of trainers – be aware of that & send your horse to the person that will help produce the right end-result for you
  • The best futurity horses don’t always make the best rodeo horses and vice versa
  • Best way to success is clear communication
  • Your trainer will know your horse best… Trust your trainer when they think your horse should go to a vet or something should change.
  • Sometimes the horse you have won’t produce your desired end-goal, but this does not mean the horse is no-good, it just means the horse has a different path. Don’t give up on your trainer & trust their opinion.

Take Home Notes

  • Each horse is an individual & you cannot compare one horse to another
  • When training futurity colts you must take things day by day – don’t get ahead of yourself
  • Take the emotion out of barrel racing and learn to not take things personal when they don’t work out
  • Be prepared as much as possible in order to succeed
  • Stay positive, take deep breaths and go have fun
  • Visualize your run & know your horse

Be sure to tune into EP 02 of the Racer’s Edge Podcast here, iTunes Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify!

For Contact: Hannah Haugen, Public Relations Coordinator, hhaugen@equibrand.com

Racer’s Edge Podcast EP 01: Embracing Change

In this Racer’s Edge podcast episode, Embracing Change, we visit with special guest and host, Dena Kirkpatrick, to discuss the history of Racer’s Edge and our long-time working relationship. You will learn about some of our personal experiences with riding and training horses as well as our favorite equine products and motivational quotes.


Conversation Fact Check

  • The first episode of Racer’s Edge aired in January 2014.
  • Dena Kirkpatrick: One Smooth Motion pairs with DenaOneSmoothMotion YouTube videos to share the mental and physical aspects in regards to training a barrel horse.
  • In 2007, Jeye worked with Horsecity.comTV to create what they refer to as “Meet the Girl” videos that aired on Horsecity’s show on RFD-TV, which you can now find here.
  • Racer’s Edge will be reformatting to a one-hour special on Ride TV in 2019.
  • Barrel futurity races date back to the early 1970’s, the Barrel Futurities of America was formed on September 22, 1983 with the help of Florence Youree, Pat Hutter, and Sue Sistruck.
  • The divisional 4D barrel races were formed in 1992 by the National Barrel Horse Association.
  • Correction to Dena’s story- she first attended the first NBHA finals in Augusta, GA not Atlanta, GA. Augusta still hosts the finals today.
  • RFDTV The American
  • World Champion Rodeo Alliance (WCRA)

Dena’s Favorite Quotes:

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

The Martian with Matt Damon

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

– Michael Jordan


Kate’s Always First

Dena’s Super Mare

Dena and “Kate” at the 2016 Rodeo Houston

Kate’s Favorites

Saddle Pad Suede Top Zone Saddle Pad
Protective Boots Legacy2

Polo Wraps

Mentioned by Jeye: Legacy Tall Hind Boot

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RE Crew’s Horse Profiles

MP Call Me Corvinus aka “Corvin”
Human: Jeye Johnson

Song: It’s a Great Day to Be Alive by Travis Tritt

Corv likes to take it easy, he doesn’t like to over think or over exert. Thinks it’s a “goofy thing but hey-he’s doing alright”.

Corv’s theme song? It’s a Great Day to Be Alive by Travis Tritt

Easters Sweet Note aka “Annie”
Human: Hannah Haugen
Song: No Scrubs by TLC

Annie is a hard worker and selective with affirmations of love, does not thrive on human contact.

Hannah Body Shots-0166
Annie’s theme song- No Scrubs by TLC

Kate Always First aka Kate
Human: Dena Kirkpatrick

Song: I’m Going to Live Forever by Irene Cara

Kate is not too feminine, slightly intimidating, yet eloquent. A total stand out most likely out hanging with the boys.


Partner Links: Renew Gold, Oxygen, SheFit, Barrel Horse News & Training Barrel Horses, Ride TV