A warm smile, a kind word or an understanding glance are among the traits of horseman Ashlyn Bell. The woman who has dedicated her life to the equine industry sustained serious injuries in a riding accident on Jan. 2.

Bell, who is active in the industry in a number of capacities, suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung and fractured vertebrae as a result of the incident.

Bell’s injuries will require surgery, A mother of a young son, Bell is the sole provider for her family.

The horseman worked for Aiken-based Progressive Show Jumping Inc., for a number of years, after graduating from Appalachian State, and has made use of her many skills and talents to forge a successful career in the equine industry.

“She’s a dear friend and former employee,” said Rick Cram, owner of Progressive Show Jumping. “She’s been able to help so many people that don’t have that IT technology. They don’t have that mindset.”

A resident of Statesville, N.C., Bell is renowned for her outstanding work ethic and is the South Carolina Hunter Jumper Association’s executive secretary. An unique individual, Bell rarely shies away from a challenge and recently received her accreditation to become a steward.

“She’s attached herself to so many people through her diversification in this industry,” said Cram.

Bell is in need of financial support as a result of the medical expenses she’s incurred and from lost wages because of her inability to work during her hospitalization.

The equestrian community is taking care of its own and is demonstrating a great deal of passion and compassion to help Bell get through a very difficult time, said Cram.

Those wishing to contribute or make donations can do so by making checks payable to the Equestrian Aid Foundation, 11924 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Ste. 22-377 Wellington, FL. 33414. Checks can also be sent to Progressive Show Jumping Inc., at 147 Warehouse Road, Aiken, S.C. 29801, in care of Ashlyn Bell.