She prefers horses to horsepower. The professional polo player who began riding at age 5 would rather gallop down 300 feet of grass with a mallet in her hand than race around a two-and-a-half-mile oval in a Ford sporting the number 41.
Ashley Busch, wife of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, first rode in a stock car in Las Vegas, completing three laps.
“That was absolutely insane,” Busch says. “You get out, and you feel like you can’t even walk. You feel like you’re floating. I can’t image how these guys do it for 300,400 laps.”
She will stick with equestrianism and continue to make a name for herself in the sport of kings. The 27-year-old part-time Wellington resident has dominated tournaments all over the world and several close to home. She emerged victorious in the Port Mayaca 14-goaler in Martin County, as well as the International Polo Club 12-goaler in Palm Beach County. She teamed up with her father Beau Van Metre for the latter.
“My most exciting win was with my dad,” Busch says. “It meant a lot because he took the time to learn polo. Being able to compete with him on the field and have that bond as father-daughter was very special.”
During the Hobe Sound 8-goaler, she and her team, Altair Polo, never lost.
“I definitely am a fierce competitor on the field,” Busch says. “In real life, I’m a fairly mellow person. When I put my helmet on and get on the horse, it’s like I’m a different person. I really get into the game. I’m there to win.”
She will make her 2018 debut this month at the Grand Champions Polo Club. The season started in December and runs through May.
“He comes to cheer me on in my games,” Busch says of her husband, whose circuit begins in February at the Daytona International Speedway and ends in November at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. “He’s been on a horse a couple times with me. The first time, we were on a horse for two hours. You can imagine how sore he was after that.”
The couple got married one year ago on St. Barts and had their reception at The Breakers. The wedding was featured on the cover of Southern Bride magazine. They have yet to take a honeymoon.
“We travel so much that we wanted to just come back to the house and have a staycation,” Busch says. “I don’t know if we’re ever going to officially take one.”
Not only does polo keep her busy but so does serving as a brand ambassador and model for the U.S. Polo Assn., a casually classic clothing line.
“My goal with that is to represent women as a whole and show them that polo is a coed sport,” Busch says. “If you put your mind to it, you can do anything the men can.”