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'The Cowgirl And The Racehorse' With Ashley Wells On Tuesday's Access Utah


Our guest for the hour today is Ashley Wells, author of “The Cowgirl and the Racehorse,” a moving and intimate memoir on the relationship between a girl and her horses. Beginning with a traumatic horse-riding accident, Wells reflects on the personalities and characters of the many horses—both real and fictional—who have accompanied her through often difficult life experiences, teaching her strength, resilience, discipline, care, and trust.

“The Cowgirl and the Racehorse” is also a scholarly reflection on the many cowgirl narratives—films, television shows, music, and books—that have marked the author’s life passages and which offer complex and compelling images for girls as they grow: particularly in terms of their independence of spirit and the social and familial expectations with which they are burdened. Finally, “The Cowgirl and the Racehorse” is a detailed examination of the ethical and societal questions raised by the sometimes dangerous and cruel, and sometimes seductive and compelling, world of horseback riding.

Ashley Wells is a writer and teacher whose work has appeared with Connotation Press, Jezebel, and Women in Higher Education. Her 16-post guest blog series on cowgirl narratives, power, and gender was featured with Bitch magazine. Currently, she is a faculty Lecturer in the English Department at Utah State University. Prior to that, she taught in the Rhetoric Department at the University of Iowa. She earned her MFA at California State University, Fresno. Ashley Wells lives in Logan, Utah, with her husband and menagerie of animals.

You can contact her at


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.