All day long, 8-year-old Clara Ashlock was at her post behind a small table while a steady stream of people filtered through the main concourse of the Augusta Futurity. The young Texan was there for a good cause, and she was dedicated to her mission.
Ashlock, of Abilene, Texas, was selling pictures she and her friend, Miley Adkins, 10, drew as part of their new venture, M.C. Art Studio. However, the $5 they charged for each drawing didn’t go into their own pockets. The youths from were raising money for injured cutter Julie Hansma.
“We spent like all night just drawing pictures,” said Clara, who worked on her penmanship homework between sales. “We just wanted to do it for Julie.”
Julie Hansma was injured Oct. 4 while loping a horse at a show in Bryan, Texas. Her husband, Paul, saw the whole thing unfold from aboard another horse.
“We were just barely on those horses, maybe 15 minutes, and she was in front of me about 30 feet,” said Paul, a cutting trainer who won the 1996 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open with Playboy McCrae. “Her horse stumbled and went down, and she landed on her head. It was just a perfectly wrong fall.”
Julie remained hospitalized in a rehab facility as of mid-February and was preparing to transfer into another facility in a few weeks in order to continue her journey of healing. Paul said his wife continues to recover from her accident and was responding to people, trying to talk and able to eat soft food.
“She remembers a lot,” he said. “She remembers lots of people [and] she remembers her horses.”
Clara and Miley’s fundraising efforts have been supported by several other children who frequent the cutting horse shows, according to Clara’s mother, non-pro cutting competitor Lindy Ashlock.
“Every show we’ve gone to, a whole group of them have helped do it,” she said.
Miley’s mother, Reta Adkins, said she was proud of the initiative shown by the youngsters.
“To think of somebody else and to know that they need things right now,” she said of the girls, who met riding all-around horses. “We’re very proud of both of them.”
The two friends’ efforts — Lindy Ashlock estimates they raised nearly $400 in Augusta alone — is part of a wider response from the cutting horse community. As of mid-February, an online fundraiser started by Virginia McLamb had raised more than $89,000 for the Hansma family. It remains active and accepting donations.
For Paul, the support from the children, and the cutting industry as a whole, has been overwhelming. There has been an outpouring of prayers in addition to the financial assistance, he said.
“People in this industry, the generosity when somebody needs some help is very overwhelming,” he said. “We are so grateful.”
The money raised for the Hansmas was one of a number of fundraising efforts spearheaded within the Western performance horse industry in recent months.
Clara’s parents, Wes and Lindy, donated proceeds from the sale of one of their consignments at the 2018 Western Bloodstock sales to benefit two members of the horse community with family members fighting cancer: the Sorenson and Timmons families. The horse, Reys Of Hope, sold for $85,000 to Stella Swanson, who then ran the horse through the ring again so the 2016 son of Smooth As A Cat could be sold a second time — when it sold for $40,000 to Jeremy and Candice Barwick.
Proceeds from Reys Of Hope’s two sales at the auction, which was held in conjunction with the 2018 NCHA Futurity, went to the group Horsemen For Christ, which was to direct it to the two families. The Barwicks then gave Reys Of Hope to the Ashlocks’ son, Cash.
A multi-stallion breeding auction also was organized for the family of Rich Timmons, a cutting horse trainer who died of brain cancer in December.
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