I have been riding, showing, training and teaching for nearly 40 years. I cannot imagine a life that did not include horses. My horse experience began with a focus on full time international showing, training, and teaching Saddle Seat and Western Pleasure, with Arabians, National Show Horses, Saddlebreds, I achieved multiple regional championships, and was named a Top 10 Rider at US Nationals with my mare, Pro's Tango -
(pictured above. Later in my career, I had success showing AQHA Western Pleasure, as well as enjoying cattle sorting, barrel racing, pole bending, and trail classes on a local level with my children In my life,
I have had the honor of apprenticing and training with the top riding instructors and trainers in my breed's industry beginning at age 8 into my 30's. During my time in North Carolina, we had 30 head of horse in training and I began a lesson program that gave 100 lessons/week. Of all of my experiences with horses and showing, instruction brought me the most joy: nothing made me happier.
As my husband and I thought of starting a family, we knew we would need to slow down our pace of life. We moved to the North Georgia Mountains, and opened Blanche Manor Stables. We guided tourists on horseback through the Blue Ridge mountains, and hosted overnight guests in yurts and our guest lodge. I also trained a team of Belgians draft horses. We gave hayrides through a local apple orchard and carried Santa through the local Christmas parade every year…so much fun! Our four children also started to ride during this time, so our entire family adventures in AQHA western pleasure, team penning, barrel racing, roping, trail riding, and of course many mini horses pulling carts all around the farm.
We moved to Monroe County to give our children access to more educational and social opportunities, and found our perfect farm home! In the Summer of 2017 we sold our ranch and business in North Georgia to enjoy our 11-acre farm full time here in Macon with our 4 children. I cannot imagine a more perfect place on earth! We share our farm with our 4 Quarter horses, a mini donkey, a small herd of Boer goats, half a dozen laying hens, two working dogs, three sheep, three rabbits, and our cat. Please read more about them on our farm friends page!
I am very excited to be able to have the thing I love most be part of my life – teaching riding lessons. My goal is to teach a horse and rider to work as a true team. This involves learning the language of the horse, and becoming balanced, agile, and confident enough to speak this language on the move! I love to share anything and everything I have absorbed throughout my horse training career. This means one lesson we may be cantering around barrels, navigating an obstacle course, perfecting a pattern of perfectly measured circles at the trot, or mastering the dynamics of bending and flexing a horse to get their body and mouth responsive and flexible. Come back next week and we may not even use the english or western saddle, but have a bareback lesson to work on the riders seat. It all just depends on what the rider and horse are needing - the possibilities are endless! The one thing my lessons all include are increased self confidences, learning art of true horsemanship, getting a great workout, and LOTS OF FUN!
Throughout my career I have had the privilege to work with a vast array of professionals in every aspect of the industry. My journey has taken me to New Jersey, Kentucky, West Virginia, Texas, and now Georgia to learn everything including teaching, training, race horse groom, Equine Veterinary assistant, sales, farm manager, boarding facility manager, rescue and rehab, and clinician, as well as the founder of my own business “Allison Clair Horsemanship”. I have had the incredible experience of surpassing all of the goals I have set for myself as a youth. I believe if you can dream it you can achieve it!
Coming from humble beginnings and being the daughter of a single mother my dreams of horse ownership seemed about as achievable as obtaining a unicorn; but to this day I still believe in unicorns. My life truly began as a six year old - mounted high upon an Appaloosa named Applejack. From that point on, my inborn passion for horses and fate drew me to souls that shared my interests, became my mentors, and lifelong friends. These people would shape my outlook on training and teaching, and ultimately help me achieve my goals
Fate first appeared when I was only 7. My best friend and I rode ponies all over town,which later led to the opportunity of spending summers working for a professional trainer. Our ultimate pay was earning the opportunity to one day show! After countless months of hard work , not only did we get to show, but we were soon defeating the adults at the team penning competitions. Fate appeared again when a generous friend friend gifted me a sorrel AQHA gelding named McQue. We went on that year to be named the CJHA youth grand champion barrel racers. as well as countless local team penning competitions and gymkhanas. Just at the right time, I was guided by a former graduate of Meredith Manor in West Virginia to apply to their alma mater to formalize my training. This is where I earned my Riding Master VI in Western riding, with an emphasis on teaching and training.
Upon graduation, I was immediately hired as an assistant trainer and manager of a large equine facility in Kentucky that specialized breeding, raising, training, showing, and selling AQHA horses. The highlights from this period in my training career was showing an AQHA Palomino Stallion to reserve champion at halter, being named NJSA Amateur reserve barrel racing year end champion, NJ state barrel racing championship and a World Championship qualifier, as well as multiple wins in western pleasure, gymkhana, halter, showmanship, team penning and sorting.
All of these honors are overshadowed by victories I earned on horses that other people considered "throw aways" I had a special spot for these animals - all they needed was someone to believe in them, give them an opportunity, and take the time to teach them. This was a lesson I lived - through all the people who had given me my opportunities, way back from the time of riding ponies through town as a 7 year old. Fate was stepping in again, only I was the one helping another soul in need - it had come full circle. One horse was a runaway I purchased for $500. We rode against and defeated a $25,000 barrel racing horse and qualified to compete at the worlds championship! Another success story was when I took an un-handled, un-trained, and unmanageable stallion to ribbon winning team penning and barrel racer.
All of these experiences with horses, friends, mentors, and competitors led to the formation of my teaching methods. The foundations include developing and executing teaching plans based on individual needs and goals that help all riders experience success. I continually seek knowledge and experience to assist my clients and students to achieve their equestrian goals and dreams. My greatest joy is being a part of this journey with my students. Riding is in fact a dance. While two feet may move our bodies but four feet move our souls.
Hi I’m Ashlee, a native of Henry County, Georgia. With 13 years of horseback riding experience to my name, I’m no stranger to a barn or the Equine industry. I began training at merely 8 years of age when I became “horse crazy”. It all started with one lesson as a birthday present from my parents who thought it was just a “phase”. Well that phase developed into a passion and love for these 1,000 pound creatures that stole my heart ever since. I was gifted my very own and first horse at the age of 16, and kept him until his retirement and his passing in 2018.
The majority of my training was done at a farm down in Covington, Ga under the expertise of Coach Peggy Adams. She became my life coach and mentor over those years and taught me many skills not only as an equestrian but as a horsewoman. When I wasn’t in the saddle taking a lesson, I was mucking stalls, scrubbing the water buckets, picking the paddocks, or turning horses out just to name a few things. Later after Peggy sold her farm, I took my training at Malone Farms in Newborn, Ga with Merideth Bryans where I stayed until graduation. I was fortunate to ride all sorts of horses and ponies, from their green stages to their "old school horse" years.
During my middle school and high school years I trained in the Hunter/Jumper discipline and showed on the local circuit with H.J. Fox as well as the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), jumping up to 3’2”. In 2015, I earned the highest number of points in the long stirrup division of H.J. Fox and was declared their Champion rider for that division. In 2016, I traveled to Clemson University for IEA and placed 4th at Zones. Upon graduating from High School, I continued showing with Wesleyan College on their Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) team and was the only team member out of 13 to qualify for zones last term.
I am excited to be a part of the team here at Blanche Farms, and I look forward to passing on the knowledge two awesome coaches have instilled into me.
My personal journey with horses began 45 years ago, with one hour each week at age 8, I cleaned stalls and tack for an extra lesson on Saturday afternoons. There was nowhere else I wanted to be, I was enchanted. Lessons led to showing, fox hunting, and hunter pace events. I had the privilege to work with some of the most amazing instructors and trainers, who taught far more than the mechanics of riding!
My professional horse experience began as a groom and an A.I Assistant on a quarter horse breeding farm in Virginia Beach, VA. During this time, I also continued training and showing in the hunter-jumper discipline. My love for showing, riding, and teaching led me to accept a position as barn manager at Princess Anne Farms, in Virginia Beach. Once the seat of the Princess Anne Hunt Club, it was a heritage stable steeped in local history. There, I was responsible for school and boarded horses, training, lesson program, and planning of events. We hosted a variety of local events, having the only indoor arena in the area. I was doing exactly what I was meant to do, and I loved it!
Teaching riding has always been dear to me. My students were more like family than pupils! One very special student at Princess Anne was Amy. She had been hit by a car while riding her bike when she was nine years old. The resulting brain injuries caused multiple emotional and physical challenges. Amy’s mom sought out an Equi-Kids therapy program, but the waiting lists were long. This is where myself and a Haflinger cross named Max had the opportunity to help. Through her lessons on Max, Amy developed her muscles, and gave her focus amidst the chaos she was experiencing. Being a part of this transformation through riding was humbling, and gratifying. This was the magic of horses.
My varied experience with horses, trainers, and students formed my approach to teaching. There are three distinct parts. First, I feel it is primary for students to develop a relationship with horses by understanding equine body language and communicating effectively. Secondly, developing a true balanced seat in students gives them a foundation for any riding discipline they choose. A truly balanced rider will be confidant, and so will their mounts. Last, and perhaps most important, I will endeavor to give my students the positive experience that will keep horses in their lives.
A growing family led me to continue riding instruction and training only in my spare time. I knew eventually I would be able return to teaching full time. In November 2016, my husband and I took the first step toward my dream by purchasing our 5.5 acre farm, Journey’s End, in Monticello GA. We have several of our own horses, and this is home.
I am so happy to be back to instructing full time again! I look forward to teaching riders of all ages the joy horses can bring at Blanche Farms in Macon GA. I can promise my lessons will always be a positive experience with new challenges each time for horse and rider.
~People will tell you a story, but a horse will tell you the truth~