Outstanding Accomplishments: Debbie Ayres

By Debbie Ayres

Last year I finished as the Reserve Champion for Texas in the Pleasure Division, just trying something new and wanting to spend some time with my horse trail riding.  We didn’t have any expectations of success in the Open Division, especially because the competition in Texas is so tough. My experience this year went beyond my wildest dreams, and was one of the best experiences of my life.

Smokie and I got to ride all over Texas, even as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.  She had tremendous heart, she never let me down and I don’t regret a single moment I spent riding her.  She was on from start to finish, and I promise she can count to six.  She has taught me far more than I have ever taught her.  I am proud to say that I trained her myself, and anything we learned we learned together.

Some of the highlights were winning the State of Texas Open Division, finishing third in the Nation, and earning the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum medals.  Each goal achieved was memorable, only surpassed by all of the wonderful people we met and the great friends we made.  I also learned a lot about myself and my horse.  I got to bring home a lot of beautiful ribbons and prizes and share them with my husband and three kids.  Even though it was hard to keep going sometimes they never let me give up on my dream.  Sharing this goal with them is the biggest prize.

My husband Brad Ayres made it all possible. Without him I wouldn’t have made it to a single CTC.  He willingly stayed home with the kids and filled my shoes every weekend.  He has always encouraged me to follow my passion of working with horses.  I also had faith that this was something God wanted me to do, and so believing that, I trusted in Him, and He saw me safely through every road trip and every ride.  My friend Suzie Baker who finished third in the State of Texas and was my partner in crime on almost every ride of the year helped make it an adventure of a lifetime!  My friend Sandi Malone takes incredible care of my horses, and has made it possible for me every step of the way.  None of it was possible without these people, and they sure made it fun too!
Husband and biggest Debbie fan, Brad Aryes, commented, “Debbie Ayres is the 2012-2013 ACTHA Open Division Texas Champion! Her 3rd Place National Standing in the Open Division for the season isn’t too shabby, either. Our family is completely overwhelmed with pride. We appreciate all her ACTHA buddies as well.”

The only advice I have to offer is go do it! You will be a better rider and have a better horse, and make a lot of awesome friends along the way.  You have nothing to lose so go sign up for a ride near you!

I would not change anything about my experience this past riding season!  What makes me happiest about trail riding is bonding with my horse and making friendships with the best people on the planet.  It is amazing to accomplish things you didn’t even think were possible!

We were at the Freedom Horses CTC over the weekend and finished first and second and won the obstacle race! Betsi Bixby did an outstanding job and even had a cake with pictures of all the state winners on it. It was a great ride and a beautiful end to the season.

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