In 2018, Ashley Arnoldt faced the most difficult year of her life when her dad, Armin, passed away suddenly.

That same year she was awarded The Dianne Tidball Legacy Foundation Riding Scholarship, a program created by Thunderbird Show Park to give junior riders who exemplify hard work, dedication to the sport equestrian, good sportsmanship, and leadership a leg up in the industry.

“It was really hard,” said the 19-year-old. “That scholarship picked me up and put me in line to where I wanted to go and it was just perfect timing in a really messy situation.

“It gave me the opportunity to show an extra horse, to get to places I never thought I was going to be able to do. I got to achieve some really big goals that without it and the Legacy Scholarship I would not have been able to do otherwise. I am over the moon thankful for Thunderbird and all of the things I have been able to do—from pony ring to Grand Prix ring to 1.45m jumpers, they have been behind me the whole way. I couldn’t be more thankful for them.”

This week, Arnoldt made her 1.45m debut at tbird’s Fort Festival aboard the 12-year-old stallion Lestat OLD.

“Probably my favorite moment is whenever I’m out on the Grand Prix field. It was one of my dad’s biggest goals for me. His favorite classes was watching Grand Prix stuff and he always said he couldn’t wait to see me out there and I want to live his dream, that’s my biggest goal.

Watch the VOLVO CANADA Cup on tbird TV and HN LIVE! Sunday, August 23 at 2:00pm PT.