Bay County woman crowned world champion at Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Bay County’s Ashley Young, along with her horse King Thing, was crowned a world champion at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in August.

“It is huge, my other passion is fishing and it’s about like landing a blue marlin,” Young said.

Young grew up showing horses with her dad, but the last time she got back on the saddle to compete was 12 years ago.

Until this past August, when her dad called her to ask if she would compete for him in Shelbyville since he tested positive for COVID-19.

“He said ‘Ashley I think you can do it, Bill thinks you can do it, will you do it?’ I wanted to say no cause I was so nervous, but you can’t say no to your dad right?” Young said.

Young went straight to Shelbyville, bought a riding suit, boots and spurs just a day before the competition. She got to practice with King Thing a bit as well.

Young said she wasn’t too nervous to ride him as he’s a five-time world champion and five-time reserve world champion too and trained by Bill Callaway.

However, the little practice time she got with him wasn’t nearly as much as the other riders there.

“That horse doesn’t know me, I didn’t really know that horse, but the good Lord just let us get along that night,” Young said.

Young and King Thing definitely got along as they went up against 10 other impressive horses and riders and came our victorious.

They won the Owners Amateur Riders on Walking Stallions World Championship.

“When they called out my name, actually they didn’t call my name, they called the wrong number and they called my dad’s name, but they said my horses name so I knew I had won, I’ve won two other world championships but this definitely was my favorite one cause it meant so much,” Young said.

It meant more for Young because of her Uncle Scott.

He loved showing horses with her dad and was supposed to be there, but since he was battling cancer, he was not well enough to go.

Instead, he got to see his niece take home the Blue Ribbon, the day before he passed away.

“I was able to tell him I did it for you Uncle Scott and I got another blue for you and I know he heard me,” Young said.

Young said now that she’s back in the saddle, she plans on competing some more in the future.

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