Ashley Schmitt – From Barn Helper to Champion

Ashley Schmitt, 16 from Seminole, TX, never intended to show livestock. “My sister had a steer and was spending a large amount of her time at the ag barns.” Ashley explains “At those barns was a show steer that had been purchased for another student and was going to be resold. I had decided that while I was there, I may as well look after this steer.”

Over time, Ashley learned every aspect of raising a show animal, bathing, halter breaking, and cleaning up after the unclaimed steer. “I had no initial intention to be showing one myself” she says  “But by showing an effort and interest my then ag teacher convinced me to try it out with a steer of my own. I ended up getting a different steer have since fallen in love with the work and effort it takes to make a competitive animal!”

Ashley has spent the past three year showing two steers and a lamb. This past year, however, turned out to be her most challenging, yet. “This year was different as we showed from home rather than an ag barn.” She explains “Not being in an ag building, we found new fitters and trimmers by using our own connections. We organized everything, found our own shows to go to, and made major decisions on our own based on what we had learned and the advice that we got.”

In spite of the risk and challenge of going out on their own, Ashley has no regrets. “It made me feel as though I was able to take things into my own hands. Forcing me to be independent with my animal and allowing my connection to be greater.”

“I had seen my steer in an online sale from Milestone Shorthorns and immediately fell in love with his uniqueness.” Ashley says “He had a good structure and look we were hoping to find. With consultation, we decided that he would be a good animal to feed through and compete with. We knew he could make a presence in the show ring and with the correct care and feed, compete.”

The feed they chose was Hi-Pro Show Feeds. “We used Hi-pro Starter and Finisher., because we had tried these feeds in the past and decided that this was the ration we needed to put him on to put him where he needed to be.” Ashley remarks on how palatable the feed was “It is a real hit for my animals and their needs!” she says.

In addition to premium nutrition, Ashley and her steer worked a schedule of exercise, training, and fun. “We walked and ran on a halter working showmanship as well as getting in and out of show views. After we had finished, I would kick a volleyball around for him and he would chase it around.” She says “His hair got washed at least once a week with shampoo, and the rest of the days rinsed and conditioned to promote growth. He was kept under a fan during the day with misters to help keep him as cool as possible with no cooling room.” The lack of a cooling room proved especially challenging. “With the lack of a cooler room and hot weather, hair took work to get it to where I wanted it to be.”

In addition to struggling with her steer’s hair, he also had issues with stress and bloat. “He would become stressed during shows or transport and bloat, which was pretty scary.” Ashley says “I learned how to de-bloat on him, which is a skill I definitely needed to learn and will use throughout my life.”

In spite of these challenges, Ashley’s steer won Reserve Grand Champion at the Gaines County Show, and Ashley is quick to credit her support system with her success. “Mr. Schooler, my former ag teacher, helped with advice and feeding rations along the road, as well as putting in input when purchasing and checkups. Tyler Yancey did an amazing job clipping my steer and giving advice. My parents were incredible throughout the whole experience.” She says “They have supported me through my dreams and allowed me to do something that I definitely see myself being involved in my future.”

In addition to her home grown support, Milestone Shorthorns were just a phone call away at all times. “They were extremely helpful along the road. She says “They wanted pictures and to see where we were with progress. Not being able to consult in person due to distance was a challenge but overall, still a great experience!”

Though she never imagined she would show livestock, Ashley admits she is hooked. “Winning was absolutely amazing.” She says “I felt as if I was on top of the world. I felt overwhelmed with the joy knowing that my work that I had put in paid off and encouraging me to work even harder for the next year. It’s my last year, so I am excited yet sad, but ready to make this year the best yet!”

Hi-Pro Feeds is proud of Ashley’s hard work and look forward to seeing her new accomplishments. For more information on our show feeds, click here.