Community Member in Focus: Aisling Smith – a new grassroots series by GRG

Community Member in Focus: Aisling Smith

At Grassroots Gazette, our mission is to shine a light on the inspiring stories of grassroots equestrians who embody the spirit of dedication, sacrifice, and love for the horse. In this edition of our Community Member in Focus series, we are thrilled to introduce you to Aisling Smith, a young and ambitious equestrian who is making her mark in the equestrian world. This series is more than just stories; it’s about documenting, engaging, and promoting the journeys of grassroots equestrians.

With Gary as our community manager, he advocates a lot for the coverage we should and could be giving to grassroots Equestrians… to be fair, Carly leading content along with Aoife and Gavin on projects… they are no different so expect more coverage and series like this be it articles, videos or interview. We are focused on giving coverage to grassroots equestrians.

We are committed to sharing these incredible stories and powerful narratives through the Grassroots Gazette. Just look at Aisling’s answers for a 17 year old. Jesus. Amazing. The future is bright is we nurture the n3xt generation and create pathways for them. If we support and empower rising stars like Aisling, we create a better future. Now that we have set the scene… lets get on to the star of this piece.

Here it is. Our first community member in focus piece for this new article series. We’re super excited about this. So lets kick it off and get to know one of our community members involved in Season 1 of the grassroots community member in focus series. Folks, here is Aisling Smith.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Aisling, and I am 17 years old. I started riding at the age of 8 and got my first pony, Cody, four years later. I’m really lucky to still have him now, as well as Harry, my rescue Shetland. I had always dreamed of having a Shetland pony, and young me wouldn’t believe it if I said I have one now.

What is your favorite aspect of being part of the equestrian community?

My favorite part of being in the equestrian community is the wide range of people and horses you get to meet. No one is the same, and everyone has different opinions and ways of doing things. It’s very eye-opening seeing so many people compete at different levels, not compete at all, or be doing something completely different. Being in the equestrian community is a constant learning curve, and I find myself learning new things every day.

What are some of your proudest achievements with your horse?

My proudest achievement with Harry would have to be winning reserve champion at the Tullamore Show. With Harry being a rescue, he used to be quite stressed and nervous at shows. However, this show was the first time he really felt comfortable and confident in himself and trusted me enough to perform to the highest of his abilities. I was so proud to see Harry place so high in a very large and competitive class and to go on to win the reserve was the cherry on top.

Can you introduce us to your horse? What’s their name, breed, and personality like?

I am very lucky to have two amazing horses, Cody and Harry. Cody is a Connemara gelding, and I have had him for nearly five years. We bought Harry as a little companion for him, and they quickly became the best of friends. Harry is a rescue Shetland gelding from the Burren Animal Rescue in Co. Clare and the star of my social media. I’ve had him for four years and spent most of lockdown training him. Both of them have sweet personalities, and I love spending time with them.

What advice would you give to newcomers in the equestrian community?

If I could give any advice to newcomers in the equestrian community, it would be not to compare yourself to others. We all know the feeling of clicking onto social media to see someone winning a class or doing very well at a show. While we always want to be happy for them, there can sometimes be the feeling of, “Why am I not out there winning?” or “I should be doing more.” However, it’s so important to remember that everyone’s journey is different and will take a different path even if it has the same finish. So we just have to enjoy the experience as it goes.

What are your aspirations for the year ahead?

My aspirations for Harry’s year ahead are to start him carriage driving and get him out to loads of shows. I plan to attend lots of shows and participate in the showing and hopefully the jumping classes, as Harry loves to jump and it’s a break from just showing. I would also like to produce more YouTube videos for his channel and just have fun.

What is one thing people might be surprised to learn about you?

One thing people might be surprised to learn about me is that I have two rescue hens from Little Hill Animal Sanctuary, Betty and Felicity.

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of the equestrian world?

Outside the equestrian world, I love traveling and art.

What message would you like to share with the equestrian community?

I have a lot of messages I would like to share with the equestrian community, but the one that I am most passionate about is the misunderstanding of miniature ponies. Menaces, troublemakers, and nuisances are all common names we would associate with miniature ponies. However, most of the time, the way the pony is acting is due to the way they are being treated. Harry, being a rescue, means I have had to treat him with immense kindness since day one. Due to previous abuse, he was terrified of humans and would have been regarded as a complete troublemaker. Nevertheless, he has turned into a lovely little pony, one I could trust anybody with and know he would behave perfectly. Through my social media, I strive to get this message across and hope that it might make a difference to even one person, and that will make it completely worthwhile.


My six-year-old mare, TMS Freedom, was one of three clear rounds in the 6/7-year-old Star of the Future performance class, gaining a top 10 placing!

Aisling Smith’s journey is a testament to the dedication, passion, and love that grassroots equestrians bring to the sport. Such passion and purpose for someone so early in her journey. We loved this, some icnredible answers Aisling. It is clear Aisling’s commitment to her horses and her desire to make a positive impact in the community are truly inspiring.

Here at the Grassroots Gazette, community is at the center of everything we do. From the HAY Campaign to the Grassroots Producer Series all the way to the Grassroots Rider Academy to this Grassroots Community Member in Focus series, our mission is to share the lives and stories of equestrians who are the backbone of the sport.

As we continue to give coverage, recognition and media support of grassroots equestrians, we strive to celebrate their unwavering commitment and passion. This is only the start, the beginning of some exciting new series and projects soon.

Until Next Time,



Community Member in Focus: Aisling Smith – a new grassroots series by GRG

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