Wellington, FL – February 13, 2012 – With a little push from Margie Engle, the young and talented Christina Kelly, has paired with Ken and Emily Smith of Ashland Farms, working together to open doors in her recently begun professional career starting with the Winter Equestrian Festival. It was Engle who suggested that the Smiths work with Kelly for her equitation training last year, and it surmounted to a match made in heaven for Ashland Farms.
Last year, Kelly took an undefeatable lead in the Winter Equestrian Festival’s jumper rings, winning an unprecedented seven individual $10,000 High Junior Sunday Classics, winning the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix and was on the winning team for the Artisan Farms Young Riders Team Event. She also was victorious in several WEF Open classes including the G & C Farms $8,000 1.45m and with an impressive total of 34 wins during circuit she earned the Pin Oak Trophy for the top Junior Rider for the second consecutive year. Her domination continued with numerous wins in Kentucky, Devon, Lake Placid, the Hamptons and Washington International.
Kelly also rode in six Grand Prix classes, riding to the top of the leaderboard in three, including the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix with her own mare, Camirage. She rode her way to the March Show Jumping Hall of Fame Rider of the Month, and also was awarded with the season-long Show Jumping Hall of Fame East Conference Junior Jumper Championship for the extensive points she accumulated throughout the year.
When Margie pushed Kelly to ride with Ashland Farms, nothing short of the exceptional was expected. Located in the heart of Wellington, Ashland Farms is the ideal show stables for an up-and-coming professional such as Kelly. The facility is centrally located to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and is within walking distance of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Ken and Emily have worked together, leaving no stone unturned, developing Ashland Farms into one of the top sales farms in the nation and coaching their clients to numerous national titles in the 20 years since its conception.
“We helped Christina a little bit in the equitation last year when Margie sent her to us,” Ken explained. “We helped her ride some horses, and it turned in to more of a full-time position,” Ken explained. “It’s been going great, she’s won a class every week in the hunters and we really like her work ethic—she works very hard in the barn; she’s a real horse woman.”
Kelly explained that working at Ashland Farms is an eye-opening experience that she is learning from everyday. “It’s my first kind of job here, really exciting actually. I am able to work with lots of horses and am enjoying it very much,” Kelly elaborated. “The hunters is definitely different riding in comparison to what I have been used to. There is a whole different way of training the hunters, but I am loving it.”
With the guidance of Ken, Kelly has shown several horses to the top ribbons in the hunter ring. Roc My World with Kelly firmly in the irons, swept the over fences in the 3’3” Open Hunters during WEF 4 taking the championship award. The team also earned the reserve championship for their efforts in WEF 5. Aboard Positano, Kelly claimed two second and two fourth place ribbons over fences, receiving the reserve championship for the second time in one week. “We look forward to what the future of Ashland Farms holds with Christina Kelly as our professional rider. She has all of the qualities of a wonderful horsewoman, and she has all those qualities we look for in a young and upcoming professional. She’s a great rider so it has really worked out super for us so far,” Ken stated.
Kelly has no plans of leaving, “I’m really enjoying it here—the experience is essential.” Kelly will continue to ride for the Smiths throughout the remainder of the year, and has their full support as she competes for Ireland in the European Championships in August.
“We want to open every door for her that we can,” Ken concluded. “She is a talented rider and we want to help her move forward to the best of our abilities in her professional career.”
For more information about the new partnership between Kelly and Ashland Farms, please visit www.ashlandfarmsfl.com.
Photo Credit: Christina Kelly rode Roc My World to the WEF Open Hunter 3'3" Championship during WEF 4 as well as the reserve championship for their efforts throughout WEF 5. Photo By:SportFot. Photo may only be used in relation to this PMG press release.