A 60-year-old California woman attempting to ride her OTTB across the United States has been delayed by mounting medical issues.
Valerie Ashker, the mother of four-star rider Lainey Ashker, sustained a broken clavicle and elbow in a fall last week, an accident occurring just weeks after a horse-kick fractured two or more of her ribs.
And in a worrisome turn of events, doctors discovered a marble-sized “spot” on her lung during a routine, follow-up x-ray, and suggested the daredevil rider take time out to visit an oncologist in Provo yesterday morning. With great relief Ashker announced that the spot was suspected to be caused by an earlier fall, and that though the doctor would follow its progression, he was “not worried” that it was cancerous.
Ashker announced her medical situation on her Facebook page 2nd Makes Thru Starting Gates, to explain to fans and followers that the journey she started to raise awareness about Thoroughbred sport horses had met with some untimely delays.
In an interview yesterday morning en route to the doctor, Ashker said she plans to finish her trek with OTTBs Primitivo and Solar Express no matter what the results of her test showed.
“I’m not backing down,” Ashker says. “The only option is forward and go!”
Noting that the ride is not about her, but about helping to raise awareness about the worth and talent of off-track Thoroughbreds, Ashker notes with some pride that though she has suffered the rigors of the trek that began in early May in California, her horses are fit, sound, and eager to keep going. “They’ve come so far,” she says. “And they’re both opposite ends of the Thoroughbred spectrum. One is a classical Thoroughbred, but the other is a chunky monkey with a thick neck. And yet, they’re both doing fantastically well with this and they’re chomping at the bit to get out of here.”
The plan is to resume the ride midweek with the goal of making it to Holden, Utah. “The horses have been banging their buckets every morning because they want to get out of Dodge. We’re all champing at the bit to keep moving and get to Virginia!”
5 responses to “TB ride across USA delayed by fall, cancer scare”
They are back on the road again, literally. I have been following their Facebook page from the very beginning. The daily updates are fun to see. It’s like a reality tv show in small daily doses. Love it!
Keep On, Girl! And yes, when we take on a monumental task meant to raise awareness, we learn about ourselves, too.
That is one tough lady there. Good health and luck to her. I am hoping to join her in western Virginia for a day on one of my OTTB’s.
I have been following your ride and look forward to your posts. As an ottb person; I applaud your effort to raise awareness. I feel awful for your medical conditions, but thrilled with your cowgirl attitude… We are all rooting for you Val… You go on to virginia…God Bless…
God bless your efforts Val! You are an amazing example of courage and pure out FUN & ADVENTURE. Not only do you highlight the versatility of this magnificent breed, you show us all to take hold of a goal and do our best to achieve it. Maybe not such a grand-scale goal for most of us, but any goal that will take us forward. Let not age or difficulty block us of achieving a dream, nor progress towards another level of our own existence. I am watching your travels and keeping prayer daily for your safe and successful conclusion to the East Coast. I will look forward to seeing you again and celebrating your success. Well done and carry on! Cheers.
Dale Clabaugh <3