Ashley's Story

In many ways, I had an idyllic horse-girl upbringing. I fell in love with horses young, begging my parents for lessons at age eight. As I got older, I spent my summers taking on training projects at a family friend’s farm. As soon as school was out, there would be a new horse waiting for me. I’d break the horse at the beginning of the summer, train it, then sell it by the end. Then, as many do, I strayed away from horses in my teen years. 

My journey with cannabis began in those years without horses. As a teen, I was deeply affected by the loss of my best friend in high school, and I sought out cannabis to help me deal with the emotional fallout. During this time, I also discovered that cannabis did more than just help me cope with my feelings. It reduced my severe testing anxiety, as well as symptoms I experienced from my ADHD. I began to integrate cannabis use into my study strategy for school.

A stint caring for elephants at African Lion Safari reminded me of my love for working with large animals and I spent the next 12 years working for a large animal vet and with a well-known Standardbred training facility. These days, I’m back in school and involved with the Standardbred racing industry. I’m also actively working toward getting more involved with the legal cannabis growing market in Canada.

How it Helps

I rarely use THC products anymore, but I do occasionally vape CBD. I take it day-by-day. When I’m feeling particularly anxious or the stressors of life are hitting too hard, I’ll use it to reduce my symptoms. I also use CBD as a tool in horse training. After a bad riding fall, I often carry my anxiety and stress into training sessions with my Standardbred, which he then feeds off. I use CBD prior to rides that normally make me anxious. It helps me remain much more calm, and I find the ride is a more positive experience.

After experiencing how cannabis has helped me, I really want to help explore what CBD can offer racing horses—not as a performance supplement, but how it can aid in their recovery from injury or surgery. I believe that there is a lot of potential in the product. It’s important to open our eyes and learn how to use CBD correctly and in a beneficial manner. 

Knowledge is power, and that’s certainly true when we’re looking toward the future and researching how CBD fits into the equestrian performance world.