Ride across USA on horseback nears end

Valerie Ashker, 60, has ridden her OTTB Primitivo from California to West Virginia in a cross-country trip to raise awareness about Thoroughbred sport horses.

Valerie Ashker, 60, has ridden her OTTB Primitivo from California to West Virginia in a cross-country trip to raise awareness about Thoroughbred sport horses. She and friend Peter Friedman set out from California in early May. They are due to arrive in Middleburg, Va. next week.

A 60-year-old California woman and her riding companion are within 150 miles of completing a 3,000-mile journey across the country on horseback.

Valerie Ashker and Peter Friedman crossed into Grafton, West Virginia yesterday, planning to make camp in Evansville before nightfall, according to video messages posted by Ashker on her Facebook page 2nd Makes Thru Starting Gates.

Wearing a bright orange helmet, Ashker rode off-track Thoroughbred Primitivo while Friedman, in a cowboy hat, tilting against the glare, piloted Solar Express along a busily traveled suburban street.

Exclaiming that the weather was “beautiful,” Ashker thanked the local Dairy Queen for complimentary ice cream cones (for humans) and expressed gratitude for the fair weather as the epic journey to raise awareness about off-track Thoroughbreds entered its final days.

She expects to ride into Middleburg, Va. next Monday, concluding the difficult yet rewarding journey with her daughter and four-star rider Lainey Ashker.

The longtime OTTB trainer, and mother of four-star eventer Lainey Ashker, together with Freidman, set out in May from her ranch in Georgetown, Calif. Accompanied by a van driver, the pair has covered over 3,000 miles in a ride to raise awareness about the virtues of the OTTB. She posts updates on her trip via Facebook page 2nd Makes Thru Starting Gates.

In an earlier interview, she told Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com, “This has been the ride of a lifetime.”

7 responses to “Ride across USA on horseback nears end”

  1. mary pepper

    What an incredible lady and inspiration for the horses we love so much. Thank you Valerie. <3 <3 <3

  2. janellelear

    You are an inspiration! Have enjoyed following along!

  3. Mary McLeod

    Valerie, you are quite a role model for the rest of us. Bon chance…the end of the journey is in sight, Take care, Mary in Boone

  4. Lori Koestler

    Amazing journey… Thank you ???? so much for sharing this wonderful time with me, you’re beautiful people, God bless ????

  5. Nan Blakelock

    Thank you for all you have done to promote OTTB’s and the incredible creatures that they are !
    A great accomplishment!

  6. Patty Nixon

    Congratulations to an amazing journey (or for most of us an” impossible mission”.) You and your horses are truly amazing. I hope your adventure finds itself in the national media (Today Show) perhaps or possibly a best seller book or ? Thanks for proving to us all that the heart and stamina of a TB is as big as the moon.

  7. colmel

    What heroes they are! With all they’ve overcome and the hardships endured to promote OTTBs, they should be honored (a mention in the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame, for example). It would be terrific if they were special guests at any and all racetracks. The public needs to know about this journey and what incredible horses make up our breed.

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