JN Exclusive: As Ever and Ashley Hotz Claim the Win in Hunter Classic at Germantown

The Germantown Charity Horse Show in Germantown, Tennessee is rich with history and overflowing with talented horse and rider pairs from a wide variety of disciplines. This monumental horse show just drew to a close on June 11, but the victors are still living in the excitement from competing in the showgrounds legendary ‘bowl’ arena.

Ashley Hotz is one of those riders who came out of the bowl a champion atop the striking gray gelding, As Ever. JN caught up with Ashley as she winds down from the action packed weekend to discuss her win in the Germantown Hunter Classic.

Germantown: An Obvious Choice

“Germantown Charity is such a fun show for everyone in this area,” Ashley told JN. “It is so exciting to have so many local spectators come out and support the horse show!” The New Jersey transplant recently joined the Spring Mill Farm team in Eads, Tennessee in the fall of 2015 and thoroughly enjoys the environment at the GCHS. “I would say Germantown Charity is the highlight of the year for a lot of our clients.”

Despite having 40 horses showing at Germantown this past week, Ashley was able to hone in her focus for her ride in the 3’6” Hunter ring on As Ever. Purchased by the Trotz family at the end of last summer, “Luxe” can be frequently seen in the 3’3” Junior Hunters with their daughter Ella. While Ashley is accustomed to riding Luxe in a few 3’3” warmup classes while away at shows, this was the pairs first debut in the 3’6” together since he joined them at Spring Mill Farm.

Conquering the Bowl

“Luxe was leading the class with the high score of 85 coming into the final round, so I was just hoping to have another smooth round,” said Ashley while recapping on the nights events. “It was his first time showing in The Bowl and some of the other horses had been a little spooky. I took my time walking into the ring to let him acclimate to the crowd, but once we got going Luxe really knew it was show time.”

Ashley and Luxe put in a beautiful trip, with Luxe showing off his spectacular jump form, and secured the win. “He is such a fun horse and really tries his heart out. I am lucky to ride him” shared Ashley. The Trotz family and Spring Mill team gathered around for a photo in celebration, sharing their excitement over the great accomplishment.

Ashley Hotz and As Ever with Germantown officials. PC: Shawn McMillen Photography

Despite being overjoyed by Luxe’s performance, Ashley remained humble regarding the victory. “I was so excited for Luxe’s owners when they announced that he had won the class.” His winning round reflected the hard work and dedication put forth by the team at Spring Mill Farm and the Trotz family.

From Past to Present

Ashley Hotz began riding as a Junior, where she brought home ribbons in the Junior Hunters and Equitation from well known venues such as Devon, Wellington, and National Indoor Finals.. It was aboard her own Summer Catch that Ashley would find herself as the top score amateur in the Handy Round during her debut appearance at the International Hunter Derby Finals in 2012, all the while obtaining her business degree.

After establishing her status as a professional in 2013, Ashley spent some time riding for Havens Schatt and putting forth excellent performances in the ring. She found great success at WEF, Devon, Capital Challenge, Pennsylvania National, and the National Horse Show. Ashley is no stranger to winning at Germantown, either. “Last year was my first year competing at the Germantown Charity. We won the Hunter Classic in 2016 on one of Luxe’s barn mates, Coronado who is owned by Isabella Baldock.”

Ashley Hotz and As Ever. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

This year, Ashley anticipates showing at the Kentucky Horse Park later this summer at Pre Green Finals and the International Hunter Derby Finals. “It’s great that the Hunter divisions get the spotlight that week at the horse show,” Ashley said. “It’s an honor to compete there alongside such top notch horses and riders.”

“We are lucky to have such a great team at Spring Mill,” Ashley shared. “Dave Pellegrini always gives me some last minute advice before I walk into the show ring. Another one of our trainers, Allison Alder, helped find Luxe for the Trotz family and we are forever grateful for that! And we would not be able to do it all without our barn manager Margot Meyer!”

With an exceptional team by her side and the passion to push forward, there is no doubt that Ashley Hotz will remain one to watch in the Hunter ring.