About

Ashley Templeton – Owner

Ashley and ZoomerAshley 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. Starting in 2020, Ashley has taken on teaching the Horse Management Lessons of the Riding Academy. She brings over 27 years of experience and horse care knowledge to the educational team and finds that the students she teaches not only enjoy their lessons, but she enjoys teaching them.

“Never did I think I could teach about feed labels in an exciting manner, but every student left smiling.”

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

Dawn Kemph – Head Trainer

Pony Tail Acres is happy to have Dawn 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 25 years of experience to the farm. Dawn is also the USPC Riding Center Administrator for the PTA USPC Riding Center.

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.

After taking a break for a few years to finish school and get a job in the horse industry, Dawn back to training with several horses in her string. Her current favorite to compete is Always Curious. Together they have competed in several horse trials. Since then they have completed several Novice level USEA Horse Trials in Area III and are looking to move to Training sometime in 2021.

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. Her program includes in-hand, arena, 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 Championships Coach for the South Region, as well as coached at the American Eventing Championships. Her program is based on teaching students 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.

Melissa Sirmons – Barn Manager

Another local staff member is Melissa Sirmons. She is a wife and mother to three beautiful children! After high school graduation she worked in the restaurant industry where she learned to anticipate a client’s needs and prevent problems before they could arise. Shortly after having her second child she decided to pursue teaching. Melissa graduated from Chattahoochee Technical college with an Early Childhood Education certificate and also passed her Paraprofessional Exam in 2014. Melissa has taught children from the ages of newborn to age 12. The training in education gives her insight to working with horses on an individual basis, not solely in a group fashion. In 2015, she decided to pursue a career working as a CNA, but soon figured out that it takes a special heart to handle the weight of that career.

Horses are her passion and childhood dream. As a little girl she loved horses but never had the chance to even get close. After Melissa had kids, her daughter developed that same passion. When her daughter was 8 years old they found a local horse club that allowed her to expand that passion. It was in those first few months with her daughter at club meetings that she knew horses were her future. Shortly after, Melissa found Pony Tail Acres where she have finally started to pursue my childhood dreams! She loves every minute of being at Pony Tail and have a heart for all of the horses there!
To schedule Barn Tours for boarding or to get in touch with Melissa, please email barnmanager@ponytailacres.org call 404-791-9052.