What The CJRA Has Done for Me
Story by Mackenzie Geesen Rodeo has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. To say that I was born […]
Story by Heidi Geesen
The 2022 Colorado Junior Rodeo Association Senior Girls Horse of the Year, has a story that is very unique. It is a story of a special horse, a talented young lady, and a plan that only God himself could write. 15-year-old Ashley Smith, a sophomore at Summit High School in Breckenridge, CO, is the 2022 CJRA Champion Mixed Header, Reserve Champion Breakaway Roper, Reserve Champion Goat Tyer, and Champion All-Around Senior Cowgirl. She also finished fourth in the Open Team Roping Heading standings, seventh in the barrels, and finished in the top 15 in the poles. A year for the record books would be an understatement.
Ashley accomplished most of her success with her equine partner, Charles Daniels. Charles is an Appendix bred 9-year-old gelding. Ashley uses Charles in the team roping and breakaway. How these two came to be a pair to reckon with at the CJRA is an amazing story.
Ashley’s family was on the hunt for a new horse for the young up and comer. They went and tried Charles Daniels sire. He had been gelded, but they decided that he still acted a little to much like a stud to work for them. They were impressed enough with his skill set though, that they decided to try and find one of his offspring to purchase. After a little praying and some leg work they found a 5 year old son for sale on DreamHorse.com. The only problem was the ad was over a year old. They decided to reach out anyways and Charles Daniels was still there. He had not been sold. Only problem was the family that owned him had fallen in love with him and no longer wanted to sell him. They stayed persistent and finally the magical number was reached that made both parties happy. Ashley was now the new owner of 5 year old Charles Daniels.
They got him home and started training him for his knew equine discipline, rodeo. You see Charles was not a head horse, a barrel horse, or a breakaway horse. Charles was an Amish plow horse. That’s a story you don’t hear much when you talk about a CJRA Horse of the Year. He wasn’t a cutting reject or a reining horse that didn’t make, or even a barrel horse that someone pushed too hard that needed a change of pace. He was just an Amish kid’s horse that happened to pull a plow. “My older sister, Elizabeth, started riding him first, but they did not get along, so I was lucky enough to start riding him. Unlike my sister, we had an immediate connection, and he quickly became my favorite.”
Ashley originally started to train Charles for barrels because of his love to run, but when Covid hit in 2020 and things shutdown, God sent them another direction. They started team roping. After heading on him for a little while, things were going very well. That’s when Ashley decided to try and start breakaway on him. Many people told her that he was to big to be a breakaway horse, but Ashley knew different, and their 2022 Runner-up yearend breakaway title proved that. Ashely and Charles have grown immensely in their roping together and Ashely is very quick to credit her equine partner with the success she has found in the arena at the CJRA. “He is definitely a horse that can never be replaced,” is what Ashley said about Charles Daniels.
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