Cushing’s Ashley Munsell brought home plenty of hardware from the American Ranch Horse Association World Show this year and is the reigning world champion. Ashley, 35, has been married to Tanner Munsell for 13 years. She has two children Reatta, 11 and Sage, 3.
Ashley was raised in Stephenville, Texas where she showed horses in 4-H and high school rodeos. She always loved to show and rope. Ashley and Tanner worked for Singleton’s, in New Mexico, for several years and they ran the L7 camp in Kenna. She graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a bachelor’s in General Agriculture. They have lived in Cushing, Oklahoma for six years now.
Tanner trains steer roping horses and trips steers in the Osage and Lonestar steer ropers associations. Ashley helps him with his horses and he helps Ashley with her horse showing. They make a great team by sharing their own strengths and use them to build each other up and improve their horses and themselves. They have a small herd of their own cows and use all of their horses for general ranch work.
Ashley purchased Spooks Quick Draw (Spook) in 2015 and started using him to help with their cows and in the roping pen. He took to ranch life pretty well and is so much fun to rope on. Spooks is super quick and smooth out of the box when roping. Ashley is big on a horse being calm in a box. Ashley starts them slow and scores the horses a lot in the beginning. If a horse can’t be still and attentive in the box, he’s going to cost the rider a lot of time in a run eventually. Ashley has showed him for about three years now.
“We had our fair share of challenges early on,” said Ashley.
Before she began showing Spook, Ashley had to gain confidence because she hadn’t shown in a few years and Spook liked to spook at various objects. Spook’s name definitely suits him and it’s more than likely the reason that Ashley owns him.
“The first year of showing took a lot of patience and prayer on my part,” said Ashley. “You just never know what he might decide is going to eat him.”
Fortunately for her, she has learned to read him and ride by stuff like it isn’t there.
“I’d rather ride a horse that’s watchy, than one that’s a dead head,” she said. “The watchy ones could save you on the ranch versus the dead heads who could get you killed by not paying attention. Spook’s just a ranch horse that’s good enough to go show.”
Ashley said she has drug calves to the fire on him, helped doctor sick cattle, and Tanner has day worked off of him.
“I have been super blessed to have this gelding and to have accomplished all that we have,” she said. In 2019, Ashley and Spook were the Western Oklahoma Ranch Horse Association amateur high point and the amateur cow horse high point.
“We received the American Ranch Horse Association (ARHA) amateur best sportsmanship award as well,” she said.
This year was the first ARHA World Show for the pair and Ashley said it was one the best experiences of their lives. The people from all over the country were amazing. Ashley has never been around a group of people as hardworking, friendly, and helpful as what there are in the American Ranch Horse Association.
“Everyone worked hard all week and wanted to win, but there was a constant family atmosphere the entire week, that just made you feel so good,” she said. “Going into a show that big with so many excellent horse and rider teams is very intimidating.”
Ashley had a rough start on the first day of the show because Spook decided that the folding chairs next to arena were going to get him and the duo had to overcome that challenge before they continued through the rest of the week.
Spook settled down after that and they had an awesome week. Ashley and Spook won their first World Championship in the Amateur Cow Catching.
“This one meant the world to me because I was really able to show what a nice horse I ride and it was not only a cattle class, but a roping class.”
Ashley and Spook won their second World Championship in Amateur Ranch Trail.
“To say that I was shocked is an understatement,” she said. “That class was true testament of our partnership. I was over the moon to win that class.”
They placed Third in Working Ranch Horse, Fourth in Ranchmanship, Seventh in Reining, Seventh in Ranch Reining, Tenth in Horsemanship, 13th in Amateur Boxing, and 11th in Conformation.
The American Ranch Horse Association offers Champion Rookie of the World Show to contestants that attends the World Show for the first time.
Ashley won the Champion Amateur Rookie of the World Show, Amateur Reserve High Point, and Amateur Reserve Cow Horse.
“I’m still in shock at what a great show we had and very humbled by all of the help and congratulations we received,” she said. “It was a long journey to get there, and I had so much help along the way. A big thank you to all my family and friends that had more confidence and faith in our abilities than I did. Thank you WOKRHA for putting the world show goal in my head, and to all of the members that encouraged me and helped me get there. I would also like to thank the American Ranch Horse Association for a great venue to show case our ranch horses, and their abilities. The show was so much fun and so well ran. The staff are amazing and genuinely care about the contestants and treat you like family. I can’t wait to go again in 2021.”
Ashley is a member and Director of Western Oklahoma Ranch Horse Association.
The Western Oklahoma Ranch Horse Association (WOKRHA) was founded in 2015. WOKRHA is a charter of the American Ranch Horse Association (ARHA). ARHA is an active growing association promoting good horsemanship and western heritage across the United States. ARHA is a national association that promotes and values the truly versatile working ranch type horse. The association provides a friendly, family-oriented environment where the ranch horses can compete and exhibit their unique skills and abilities. The ARHA is open to all western stockquarter type breeds and encourages participation from horses on the ranch, the trail or in the show ring.
The association promotes the abilities of the all-around versatile working quarter-type horse, through shows, clinics and sales. The atmosphere is positive and supports honesty, personal growth, and courtesy towards fellow horseman. Horses are always respected, and the true western tradition is genuinely honored.