WILLIAMSBURG — For Molly Ashe, this year’s Horse Shows by the Bay was sweet redemption.
The international and national equestrian standout, who came to the annual month-long event with her farm Norfield, Inc. out of Fairfield, Conn., captured last weekend’s $20,000 International Hunter Derby on her horse Kennzo, making amends for coming up short at last year’s festival.
“It was nice because last year I was second because I messed up the second round myself,” said Ashe. “It was nice to not mess it up this year. Redemption is a beautiful thing.”
Ashe is in her second year taking part in the flourishing Horse Shows by the Bay program, which is wrapping up its festival this weekend. Alex Rheinheimer, show manager and owner of Horse Sports by the Bay, said the 10th edition of the festival was the best to date as more than 1,500 competitors took part in the program from as many as 35 different states and Canada.
“We’ve had more horses on property and riders than ever,” Rheinheimer said. “Right now the final week looks to be really good and we should end on a high note.
“They’re coming from all four corners of the United States. We have south Texas here, California, southern Florida, New York City — downtown Manhattan — people here from Canada. We’ve covered the map.”
Ashe is one of those who make the trek from quite a distance. She decided to come to last year’s program, and though she came up short, she was eager to come back for another two weeks.
“Actually, it was nice to come to a horse show that I’ve never been to before last year,” she said. “I can’t say that very often anymore. I’ve shown in Europe a lot. We go back and forth to Florida every year. We spend close to six months down in Palm Beach in the winter months and then we base out of Connecticut in the summer. This is probably our longest haul in the summer — this and Kentucky. We move around. We go wherever we have to go to find good footing for the horses and the right conditions for them.”