Details about an event to honor the legacy of the 13-year-old Park Forest Middle School student who died Thursday in a horse riding accident will be forthcoming, Standing Ovation Equestrian Center owner Adam Armstrong said on behalf of Ashley Stout’s family.
A Facebook announcement for an August benefit show organized by Chestnut Ridge Equestrian Center business owner Wendy Johnson drew an overwhelming response, Johnson said, writing on the page that the event would be held at a later date in a larger location.
Stout and her horse, Grady, died after a rotational fall at Standing Ovation Equestrian Center in Halfmoon Township. Johnson said she wanted to hold a benefit show to show support.
“In so many instances, there’s a tragedy, something happens, everyone comes together and then a week from now everyone stops talking about it,” Johnson said. “We don’t want it to be like that. We want her name and her legacy to be remembered and honored around here for many, many years to come.”
Taylor Foxhall, who planned to organize the event alongside Johnson and is a local trainer and riding instructor, developed the idea the day Stout died. Foxhall said she received about six phone calls as the news began to circulate, even though she did not know Stout or her family.
“It completely floors you, whether it’s at your place or not,” Foxhall said. “We have a pretty large horse community, but a large lack of accessible shows at the grassroots level, so I just wanted to set up something that was nice, but also affordable and fun for all disciplines and levels.”
Stout, a member of the U.S. Eventing Association and U.S. Pony Club, was second in the nation for junior riders in the USEA’s training division. She was selected to participate in the North American Youth Championships from July 24-28 in Montana.
The riders selected alongside Stout plan to wear commemorative bracelets and turquoise lapel ribbons imprinted with #Ride4Ashley during the competition, USEA area two coordinator Chris Donovan said.
A remembrance in honor of Stout during the NYAC welcome ceremony is also scheduled, according to the USEA.
“We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that her name and her legacy, and Grady’s legacy, lives on in this area and throughout the country,” Johnson said. “She was the best of the best and we want them to be remembered. And what better way to do that than to encourage and support the younger generation.”