Ashton Shepler of Edmond FFA Named 2015 Oklahoma FFA Star in Ag PlacementWed, 29 Apr 2015 20:34:57 CDT
Edmond FFA member Ashton Shepler found her passion for equine science through her involvement with her family's broodmares and retired racehorses.
Shepler's supervised agricultural experience program began in 2013 when she was employed at the Remington Park Racetrack and Casino as a gap attendant, she said.
Throughout her time at the racetrack, Shepler learned numerous skills, including wrapping a horse's leg for different purposes, administering injections correctly, and checking a horse for injuries. Shepler said she completes each task while keeping safety in mind.
"Horse safety is such a large part of my job due to the fact that these racehorses can be very dangerous to not only the public but also to those who are working with them," Shepler said. "I have to be attentive toward the horses and people at all times in case of an emergency situation."
Shepler said learning how to interact appropriately with horses with different personalities and temperaments was a challenge. Understanding a horse's body language is important because it gives clues to what they are thinking and how they are feeling, she said.
Because of her hard work and dedication to horse safety, Shepler secured one of Oklahoma FFA's highest honors: the 2015 State Star in Agricultural Placement. Shepler's supervised agricultural experience project was rated the best in agricultural placement among the 742 FFA members who received the State FFA Degree during the 89th annual State FFA Convention on April 29.
Shepler received the Governor's Trophy and a $1,500 cash award sponsored by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives. The national sponsor for the award is DuPont Co.
The 17-year-old Edmond FFA member is the daughter of Robert and Shannon Blackburn. Her agricultural education instructors and FFA advisers are Jeremy Schmidt, Mason Jones and Kenny Leatherwood. After graduation, Shepler plans to attend Oklahoma State University and work toward a career in equine sports medicine.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Ashton after the judging was done back in early April in Stillwater- and has produced a video helping tell her story- you can view in the video box below by clicking on the play button.
You can also hear the full conversation that Ron and Ashton had that day about her award winning Ag Placement program- click on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of the story.
FFA is an integral part of the Agricultural Education division in the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education system. With more than 27,000 FFA members, the Oklahoma FFA Association is the fifth-largest state FFA association. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. To learn more about Oklahoma FFA, visit http://okffa.org.
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