Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 30, 2012

Saddling up

Area woman's rare breed takes top honor at major horse show

Lee Ward
The Independent

DEERING, Ohio — Aubrey Carey has plenty of horse sense.

The fifth-generation horse trainer who runs Adkins Quarter Horses spends her days caring for boarders and training them, which is plenty to keep her busy. She also gives riding lessons, a chore that slows down considerably this time of year.

One of the boarders is Glenfiddich, a 4-year-old Gypsy cob gelding owned by Robin Hale, one of Carey’s students.

At 53 with hearing impairment and various injuries, Hale said she calls herself Glenfi needs student.

“In 2001, I broke my arm in eight places, so I was very fearful,” she said of getting on a horse. “I had to overcome a lot to start riding again at my age, but Aubrey has been inspiration.

“On days I didn’t show up because I was frustrated, Aubrey would call and say, ‘Why aren’t you here?’ She motivated me.”

Carey’s tactics worked.

Glenfiddich won High Point Champion at the Heartland Fall Classic, the oldest, largest and most prestigious Gypsy and Drum horse show competition in the eastern United States. Hale rode him in the adult division and Mattie Petrie, 9, of Greenup, who works for Carey to pay for her lessons, rode him in the youth division.

Hale, who had ridden as a child but never had formal instruction, said she attended a rare-breed horse show in 2003 and saw Gypsy cobbs for the first time.

“I fell in love when I saw my first one,” she said. “I had carried a picture of a unicorn in my pocket and when I saw my first Gypsy I thought, ‘Oh, there’s my unicorn.’” FIve years later, Hale bought her horse and named him Glenfiddich after her father’s favorite brand of Scotch.

She said she paid $6,000 for the breed, a rare one in the United States, when Gypsy cobs were going for $25,000. She made friends in the Gypsy cob world and managed to get a good deal, switched jobs, ashed out her retirement and made payments until Glenfiddich was hers.

“Now, $6,000 is an average price for a mediocre baby,” she said.

Some horse trainers have preconceived ideas about Gypsy cobs.

“When we came here, Aubrey, who is a barrel racer, thought of Gypsies as frou-frou horses,” Hale said.

Carey retorted: “Anybody who says she needs hair mousse for her horse...”

Carey is joking. She loves the animals but admits riding a horse like Glenfiddich isn’t as smooth a ride as the horses she’s used to. Sitting on such a stout animal also provides the rider a wider seat. She like’s his personality, though.

“But he’s an opportunist,” Hale admitted. “If he sees he can get away with something, he does.”

For more information about Adkins Quarter Horses’ boarding, training and lessons, call (740) 629-4394,

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.