July 31, 2020

Outstanding Student: Ashley Gray

1.3 min read| Published On: July 31st, 2020|

By Leigh Neely

Outstanding Student: Ashley Gray

1.3 min read| Published On: July 31st, 2020|

2020 graduate of Montverde Academy

Photo: Nicole Hamel

Vital Stats

  • Rachel Scott and Darren Gray, parents; Taylor Gray, sister
  • 1st Place at Trail Pleasure Walking Horse World Championship, Class 168 Owner Amateur Youth 6-17.

When did you start riding horses? My dad started me riding with him before I could walk. I’ve always been around horses, so, of course, I fell in love. My dad also rides and does competitions. It’s a great family hobby. I began doing shows at a very young age, and I’ve always worked with Tennessee Walking Horses. I’m with Carrie Martin, my trainer, in Lewisburg, Tennessee. 

How many championships have you won? I’ve won four World Championships and one World Grand Championship.

What’s the most important aspect of working with Tennessee Walking Horses? It’s just about learning your horses and connecting with them. My dad and I ride very differently. You must have the trust, so both you and the horse are comfortable. It’s a team effort.

Do you have a specific riding outfit? You can wear western, where you wear a cowboy hat, western-collared shirt, jeans, and your chaps on top. For English, you have the helmet, the button-up shirt, the coat, and the nice slacks. They are quite different. For the horses, the bridle and saddles change depending on how you dress. We ride flat-shod horses, which means they don’t have pads on the bottom of their hooves, so we can wear both. 

Favorite quote? “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” That’s by Eleanor Roosevelt. 

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Chrissy Teigen, because she’s very positive and uplifting and seems very funny. 

Future plans? International University in Miami for a degree in marketing and communications. 


About the Author: Leigh Neely

Leigh Neely began her writing career with a weekly newspaper in the Florida panhandle, where she not only did the writing, but delivered the papers to the post office and dispensers. She has been writing ever since for a variety of newspapers and magazines from New Jersey to Leesburg. With her writing partner, Jan Powell, Leigh has published two novels as Neely Powell.

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