Valerie Ashker and her ex-racehorse Primitivo, who are crossing the United States on a 3,500-mile ride, were forced off the road and nearly run down yesterday in an apparent road rage incident.
Ashker, 60, and her horses were making their way along Highway 50, at the mile 45 marker in Indiana when a late model gold Impala flew at them, grazing but not injuring Primitivo, Ashker says.
The incident, which was reported to the Martin County Sheriff Department and witnessed by truckers who pulled off the road to help, occurred at about 11 a.m., she says, further explaining: “I was riding Tivo and ponying my other horse, single file, and riding very, very close to the guardrail when this guy, who was about 70-plus in age, pulled up ahead of me and cut me off. At first I thought it was a Facebook friend, but then he started yelling, and he floored his car at me,” she says.
Sire: Monashee Mountain
Dam: Siberian Shamrock, by Siberian Summer
Foal date: May 6, 2009
Sire: Bold Badgett
Dam: Proper Look, by Properantes
Foal date: May 18, 1999Ashker’s boyfriend Peter Friedman, who was driving their personal trailer behind, leapt from the vehicle and confronted the man, who fled in the Impala.
“The guy was yelling at me and got out of his car when Peter came running up,” she says. “I was screaming at the man, what are you doing? What are you doing?!”
Two truckers pulled their rigs over to offer assistance, and the local police were called. After Ashker and Friedman gave a description of the vehicle and of the assailant, they were given a police escort for approximately five miles.
“The Martin County Sheriff was amazing! He kept saying, ‘I love you guys, man. And I want you to have a safe ride,” she says.
The incident, which Asker suspects was triggered by road rage, shook her up a bit. But, by 2 p.m., she was back in the saddle, headed eastward.
With fair, cool weather, Ashker and her OTTBs are making great time. They expect to reach the end of the cross-county journey next month, winding up in Middleburg, Va.
Ashker and Friedman set out on the cross-country ride in May. Departing from California, the pair has ridden the two OTTBs approximately 15 miles a day. Though Ashker sustained two injuries along the route, breaking ribs in a kick, and her clavicle in another incident, they never once considered turning back.
The trip, which she chronicles with photos and video on Facebook page 2nd Makes Thru Starting Gates, has been aimed at building awareness of off-track Thoroughbreds, of their mettle, stamina, strength and worth. The mother of four-star Eventer Valerie Ashker often says it was OTTBs like her daughter’s famous horse Anthony Patch that have brought them great success.
“This is something I’ve thought about doing for a long time,” Ashker said in a previous interview. “Horses off the track have put us (Lainey and me) on the map. We’ve taken three OTTBs to Rolex and I’m doing this to raise awareness. These horses worked their bums off to be breadwinners for their (race) owners. And after they’re done with racing, usually at a young age, many people think they’re “done” altogether. What I’m hoping to demonstrate is that for a lot of these horses, the end of their race career is just the beginning.”