Ashley Staples

Ashley StaplesAshley Staples grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, spending her childhood riding, training and caring for horses on her parents’ farm in Milton (then Alpharetta), GA.

After obtaining her degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University, she spent several years working in the commercial construction industry designing mechanical systems for sustainable buildings and is a LEED accredited professional. Horses have DSC_2286always been her dream, so she built Pony Tail Acres in hopes of building a life around her passion.

To contact Ashley about lessons, boarding, breeding, or training please email her at ashley@ponytailacres.org or call 770-235-9996.

Dawn Buis

Pony Tail Acres is happy to have Dawn Buis as head of our Trainers/Instructors. Dawn comes to us locally from Powder Springs, GA. She started riding at the tender age of 7 and brings over 22 years of experience to the farm. Dawn is also the USPC Riding Center Administrator for the PTA USPC Riding Center.

Dawn Buis

Dawn and her horse, Goodness Gracious, at USPC Show Jumping Championships in 2006

Dawn started horse showing in 1994 in the hunter ring with a life goal to go to the Olympics when she got older. When she bought her first pony in 1997 she switched to participating and competing in Pony Club Rallies in the South Region. Through Pony Club she rode with wonderful clinicians such as Richard Lamb, Leslie Olsen, Werner Givens, Ann Haller, and many more. Pony Club is where she found a love for Jumpers. In 2006, she captained the South Region Modified Show Jumping Team to a 4th place finish and she was placed 16th individually at the USPC Championships.
Dawn graduated from The University of Georgia in 2008 with a degree in Animal Science with a concentration in Equine Management. Through the Animal Science program at UGA she was able to help teach the Beginning Horsemanship and the Breaking and Training classes. While she attended UGA she was a walk-on member of the UGA Equestrian Team, where she rode Western Horsemanship. She enjoyed her time on the Equestrian Team because it gave her a chance to experience a whole new style of riding, but she still prefers English. In 2008 she was a member the UGA Varsity Equestrian Team which won the National Championship and was honored in a ceremony in the fall of 2008 at the UGA vs. Central Michigan game to receive their championship rings.

Dawn BuisAfter taking a break for a few years to finish school and get a job in the horse industry, Dawn is currently training with her event horse Secret. Together they have gone back to Dawn’s roots in Eventing. They competed in their first recognized Horse Trail in 2012. Since then they have completed several Novice level USEA Horse Trials in Area III and are looking to move to Training sometime in 2015.
Dawn believes in traditional training methods which teach the horse to relax and to use their own bodies to do their jobs. Her methods show significant results in just a few rides as the horse learns to settle and listen to his rider. Dawn currently has several horses in training and keeps records on progress just like children’s report cards in school. Her program includes in-hand, ring, and field/trail work to create a well-rounded, un-soured horse. She has had experience in starting horses under saddle, furthering a horse’s training, dealing with problem horses, and giving “tune-ups” to more experienced horses.

“I’ve seen a huge difference in my OTTB since Dawn has taken over his training. His under saddle progress is incredible, and I also have the bonus of seeing better manners in the cross-ties and tacking up. I feel like I’m getting so much more than I pay for with his training” says one of Dawn’s training clients.

Dawn BuisDawn also has similar ideas on her lesson program. She has been teaching professionally for over 15 years with students showing in a range of disciplines from eventing, dressage, and hunter/jumpers and has been used as a ratings examiner for club level ratings for Pony Clubs around the Atlanta Metro Area. Her program is based on teaching children and adults the basics, then getting them to understand the “why”. This program, which was created out of Dawn’s Pony Club experience, brings about students who not only understand horses, but understand the methodology behind teaching as well. Students from Dawn’s program are primed to use the knowledge in equestrian careers themselves, or have innate discipline skills for study in any other career.

“Dawn has a great understanding of me and my horse. I understand my horse better, so I am riding her better,” says one of Dawn’s advanced students.

To schedule riding lessons, training rides, or horse evaluations with Dawn, please email dawn@ponytailacres.org call 404-317-1052.