Total Earnings: $462,067
How did you get into cutting?
“My dad and mom raised horses, and they wanted to upgrade their program. There was a guy that had a son of Little Peppy. So we made a deal to breed some mares to his stud… We did some welding to pay for the breedings. That man was Tom Merryman who is now my father-in-law. I quit school in 8th grade and I was over there helping my dad with welding. I saw Tom cutting and he asked me if I wanted to turn back for him. I had no clue what that was but I said yeah I’ll try it. I started helping him and ended up working for him for 3 years…”
Ashlock worked for Josh King for a time at Silverbrook Ranch, and Buster Welch for a time. And then he went out on his own. He says his wife, Lindy has taught him more about horses than anyone. Nearly every trainer in the business has given him some good advice along the way. If you do want to learn, the opportunity is there, he said.
What is your most memorable moment in the sport?
“Selling Tin Man was…I’ve made the finals, I’ve won some big stuff, but for me, selling that horse was probably the biggest blessing for me and my family. And one of the neatest experiences I’ve ever had was doing that. He was a special horse for us.”
Tin Man was sold at the Western Bloodstock Futurity sale in 2018 for half a million dollars.[Updated in 2021: Wes Ashlock set a record for highest selling horse ever sold in the Western Bloodstock Sales hitting a record bid of $1.05 million in the 2020 Futurity Sale.]
What is the biggest myth you’ve heard in the sport?
“Not being raised in this, from the outside looking in, I just felt like it was an impossible mountain to climb. I wasn’t a non-pro ever, I just started off in the open. I think a lot of younger people that want to be trainers see us out there competing and they think I want to do that. I think people think it’s easier than what it is. It’s not easy, it’s a lot of hard work, but it is achievable. One of the toughest things about this business is finding [people] that want to spend the time, the work and the effort to do this.”
How would you describe your training philosophy?
“I love horses, that’s why I do this. I try to keep that in mind everyday. My philosophy is just pressure and release. The more I do this [sport] the more I try to just stick to that. The cow or flag is the release, if the horse wants to stop with that cow and get in the correct position it feels great. If they don’t, then I do some different things with them to put their feet to work and then they get soft and decide that cow is the release. I feel like the horses identify with that. My strategy is that the cow is the reward, and I just try to make that a good place to be.”
What advice do you have for up and coming trainers?
“For me personally, I’ve learned more from asking questions. But paying attention is very important, I’ve learned more from watching people than I have from anything. You watch Jesse Lennox or someone like him, he has spent hours and hours during the cattle changes, he would write down every set of cows in Fort Worth he was in or not in. And he would study those cows. Be passionate about it, and invest all of your time in it…”
What is the best advice you could give an amateur or non-pro just getting started in the sport?
“Buy a really good horse. For me personally, I’ve learned more from good horses than I have people. Once I got the opportunity to ride a really good horse, which it took a while to get to that point, it was a game changer for me. Gail Holmes sent me a mare called Reycy Moon, and I never felt a horse be that natural about stopping and reading a cow…I think people really struggle because they don’t buy a good enough horse and they go in there and they won’t do any good and they beat themselves up. They feel like they aren’t doing any good, but really they don’t have a good enough partner.”
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