Ashley recalls something inside her telling her to let go, but it was too late. Dangling below the horse something struck her head. Ashley can’t remember if she let go or was kicked her off by the horse, either way, the young girl was left bleeding, lying in the dirt.
Ashley’s parents, Todd and Suzanne Bauer, rushed to their daughter’s side. It was her father that could tell her skull was damaged. After an ambulance ride to the hospital, in an emergency room, the doctors revealed the true extent of the injury.
She fractured her skull. The damage came within one-fourth of an inch of her brain. Surgeons inserted two metal plates just below the skin to seal up the skull and protect her brain. Today, just a small ripple in her skin right above her left eye is all that remains of the trauma she endured that day.
Since then, Ashley has been a spokesperson in our county and other horse competitions for always wearing a helmet while riding. It doesn’t matter if it is pleasure, practice or competition, horses can be spooked at any given time. And without a helmet, head trauma can happen.
Prevention is key
In the 10 years since the accident, Ashley never competes in speed events without a helmet. Last month, she began her sophomore year at William Woods University studying business administration and equine general studies with a concentration in therapeutic. One day she would like to open up a therapeutic horsemanship barn.
While Ashley may not come from a typical agriculture background, she is a queen with a message. If you have the opportunity to bring her to your county for a speaking engagement, take it. If not, seek her out. Because she has inspired youth in our area to strap on a helmet, and I believe she can do it in your area. Ashley truly shows that the glamor girl of the rodeo circuit may not only wear a crown, but also a helmet.