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Wick baker’s joy as home-bred sports horse qualifies for HOYS

Ashley Anderson runs the most northerly sports horse stud in the UK.
Ashley Anderson runs the most northerly sports horse stud in the UK.

Ashley Anderson combines breeding top quality sports horses with being a baker in the family business and recently had one of the best moments of her career when a horse she bred qualified for the Horse of The Year Show (HOYS).

Ashleas Perfect Spirit – by Free Spirit out of Freckleton Perfect – was bred by Ashley and took reserve champion at the Highland and champion at the Scottish Horse Show as a yearling before being sold to Cheshire enthusiasts, Vicky Smith and Alan Marnie.

Now a three-year-old, she won the coloured championship at Royal Windsor, followed by coloured in-hand champion at the Great Yorkshire, therefore qualifying for the prestigious Price Family Supreme In-Hand Championship at HOYS in October.

Ashleas Perfect Spirit at the Great Yorkshire Show earlier this month.

Ashley, who works full-time alongside dad, Brian and mum, Fiona at The Home Bakery, Wick, has always been keen on horses but it was 10 years ago she discovered a real passion for breeding when her first foal, Touch of Class by Co-Pilot was born.

She went on to be reserve champion at the Highland as a three-year-old and is now a brood mare at the stud.

Other foundation mares were bought from Russell Skelton, sourced at the Freckleton stud near Coventry and then, about four years ago, Ashley bought the coloured sports horse stallion, Co-Pilot from the stud as well as his yearling son, Freckleton Untouchable, who was also a Highland Show champion as a yearling.

Ashley said: “Coloured horses have become so popular now but my intention was always to breed foals with quality and good conformation for the show ring; if they are well marked, that’s a bonus.

“In fact one of the most successful I have bred is Ashleas Total Class. I was so disappointed when she came out chestnut but she won multiple championships in-hand.”

Some of the horses at the Ashleas stud.

As the most northerly sports horse stud in the UK, it is testament to the hard work Ashley has put in that people come from all over the country to buy her youngstock now.

She said: “I used to show them as yearlings then sell because I needed that shop window, however this year five out of my six foals have already been sold.”

The win at the Great Yorkshire will really put the Ashlea stud on the map but Ashley is not resting on her laurels.

She has just bought a young colt from Ireland with top showjumping bloodlines, which is currently with Caithness producers, Russell Skelton and James Munro, with whom she works closely.

She also uses Hollywood, a stallion with eventing lines, and the plan is not just to breed good looking horses but athletes which will go on and perform in many disciplines.

Getting started in the breeding world has not been easy, especially combining it with her work at the bakery but Ashley says she is very grateful to her mum and dad for their support and they share her delight when horses she has bred do well.

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