January 16, 2014
Lembke recently won the amateur working cow horse competition at the AQHA Open World Championship Show in Oklahoma City.
Texas Tech University student Ashley Lembke was four when she mounted a horse for the first time. Now she is an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) world champion.
“I’ve always had a horse and I absolutely love it,” said Lembke, a doctoral candidate in animal science from Northfield, Minn. “It’s such an adrenaline rush when I compete, that’s what keeps me hooked.”
Lembke recently won the amateur working cow horse competition at the AQHA Open World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. Along with the title, Lembke earned $2,800 with her sorrel Sir Rey of Oak. She plans to keep competing nationally and internationally.
“I have to train a lot and get the horse ready,” Lembke said. “My horse really does most of the work, I just ride him.”
The AQHA is the largest equine breed organization in the world with more than 300,000 members and five million registered horses in 95 countries. Association members must earn a predetermined number of points to qualify to compete in the championship.
Lembke grew up around cattle, so the event brings her horsemanship and ranching training together. But she was first introduced to the competition world when she came to Texas Tech to pursue her master’s degree, and joined the Ranch Horse Team.
“We competed in stock shows and ranching events and that was kind of my introduction to cattle competitions,” Lembke said. “It was kind of a way to get my feet wet in the horse showing world.”
Lembke works full time at American Foods Group and said Texas Tech’s renowned meat science program has helped her become a desirable candidate in the beef industry.
“The research and the classes that I am taking at Tech have definitely been beneficial and helped me with my job,” Lembke said. “They’ve basically complemented each other.”
Lembke said she will continue to train and will compete in the world show next year.
What has been your favorite memory at Texas Tech?
I would say the road trips with the ranch horse team, friendships and being able to compete for Texas Tech and represent our school.
What has been your favorite memory at Tech?
The recent snowfall
What is your favorite spot on campus?
The Animal Science Building, it’s a very nice facility. It’s kind of home away from home.
What is your favorite Tech tradition?
Because I’m a horse girl, I have to say the Masked Rider.
What do you love most about being a Red Raider?
I guess from being in the beef industry and the meat industry I take a lot of pride when I go to conferences or other national events and I see the work other Texas Tech students have done within the industry, or I see that my professors are the key note speakers. I think it’s really neat to have those connections and that representation within the national industry.