She comes from a land down under; Knight returns to Texas to compete in ACHA World Finals

Contributed/Janie Crumpler
Ashley Knight, a Youth Ambassador for the Australian Cutting Horse Group, takes her horse for a practice run as she prepares for the American Cutting Horse Association World Finals, taking place this week in Belton. Knight is being hosted by Burnet residents Mike and Janie Crumpler as she was in April 2018, leading other youth by example while demonstrating the affiliation between the American Cutting Horse Association and the ACHG, and building a solid relationship between the two associations. Knight will compete at the World Finals this week, and participate in two more weekend shows before returning to Australia.








By Savanna Gregg

Staff Writer

Burnet Bulletin

The Burnet community once again had the chance to host Australian Cutting Horse Group ambassador Ashley Knight, 18, of Goomeri, Australia, who is visiting while she attends the American Cutting Horse Association World Finals in Belton this week. Knight and her mother, Kim, are hosted by Burnet residents Mike and Janie Crumpler, who have taken them in and shown them the Texan hospitality we love to share with our visitors.

Burnet last welcomed Knight in April 2018, when she came to town to stay with the Crumplers as she trained with Mike and showed Countin' Checks, a mare owned by Cole Eslyn, in different arenas in the area.

Now, she has returned to ride Countin' Checks yet again, this time as the first Australian individual to qualify in an international show.

“It has been a pretty good year,” Knight said. “I have been working hard and staying consistent over in Australia. After competing here last year, I have gotten more confident in what I am doing and more confident in myself.”

The cutting horse sport was begun as an extension of the ranching days, when cowboys and ranchers began to separate certain cattle from others for various purposes on the ranch.
The methods exhibited by the ranchers soon turned into a competition in the early 20th century, which has evolved over time to become an exciting, focus-driven sport enjoyed by riders of all ages.
Each rider has two-and-a-half minutes each run to demonstrate to the judges their ability, paired with the intelligence and quick thinking of their horse, to make three cuts from a herd of cattle. Each rider begins with an average score of 70, and the score is raised or lowered throughout the two-and-a-half minute run.

The sport requires much thinking ahead and agility in the mind and body of both the horse and the rider, and Knight, who has been involved in cutting since she was 12 years old, takes all aspects of the sport seriously.

She is currently in the fifth place spot in the $2500 Novice Rider after showing ten times in that class, and sits in sixth and seventh place in the youth class after showing only four times.

Mike, a cutting horse trainer and ACHA Board member, has been working with the ACHG and the ACHA to establish a relationship between American and Australian youth and bring the cutting horse sport into the spotlight, and says Knight is a great example of what the associations are doing.

“Ashley is very coachable, and her horsemanship skills are outstanding for a young adult,” Crumpler said. “She's got the mindset and the skillset; she's also got her whole country backing her up; it is very fortunate for Burnet to be a part of this as well.”

Crumpler's goal is to soon have American riders travel to Australia to have the same experience Knight has shared in Burnet.

“We hope to have youth on both sides of the ocean eventually,” Crumpler said. “That is the whole idea of it: the youth. They are the future of the sport.”

2019 is Knight's last year to compete in the Youth shows, though she says there is always something to do in the cutting horse sport beyond the youth classes.

A determined individual, Knight expressed the importance of persistence when pursuing one's dreams.

“Don't give up,” Knight said. “It is really important. Many people just give up if something goes wrong, but they need to push through. I could have given up but I wouldn't have met so many beautiful people like Mike and Janie, and being given the opportunity to ride Checks and other horses has been really amazing.”

“Mine and Janie's involvement in this has been a real blessing,” Crumpler said. “It feels really good to be a part of it.”

Knight has a big support group back home in Australia, and a growing support here in Burnet and other reaches of the state.

“I want to thank Cole Elsyn for allowing me to compete on his mare once again, and Mike and Janie for allowing me to stay in their home for several weeks,” Knight said. “My grandparents have been so supportive looking after everything back home as well; they have been a big support, as have my mom, and Mark Watt and Lyndall Malmbourg back home with the ACHG.”

Knight will be competing in Belton this week through Saturday, Jan. 19. After the World Finals, she will be participating in two weekend shows, one in Clyde and another in Brenham, before returning home and beginning classes to work towards her degree as a primary school teacher at University.

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