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.”