Cultivating premier sporting experiences at Ashbourne Farms is a labor of love, right on down to the bird dogs. Of course, our quail hunt companions would be out of a job without Bill Thompson, Ashbourne’s resident dog trainer. On any given day, you can find Bill in the fields at Ashbourne, usually with a dog by his side. A fourth-generation hunter and trainer, Bill credits his father Norman Thompson for teaching him the trade as a young child.
Bill grew up in the historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where his father raised hunting dogs, later concentrating his efforts on German Shorthair Pointers. In those days, they’d walk the fields with a couple dogs in tow, or along the ridges, of the 3,000 acres of Virginia’s wild habitat in search of game.
“One of my greatest loves as a child was taking our dogs on extended hunts in the rugged hills of the George Washington National Forest in search of grouse," says Bill.
He went on to learn various methods of training from renowned trainer Delmar Smith and his son, Rick Smith. For a time, his profession was training dog owners how to train their own dog. Bill moved to Kentucky and worked at Boiling Springs Hunting Preserve, and as a partner at Don’s Hunting and Fishing Adventures. During that time, he traveled the United States competing in field trials. One of his greatest pleasures is having raises, trained, and finished five field trial champions. Bill also helped found the Kentuckiana Pointing Breeds Association (KPBA), one of the largest AKC performance event clubs in the state of Kentucky.
At Ashbourne Farms, Bill can be found enjoying the farm’s natural habitat with his working dogs, in search of bobwhite quail.
“Joining the team at Ashbourne Farms has been a great partnership for me," says Bill. "Our facilities and kennels are outstanding. Our hunting barn and kennels are adjacent to the training field that we rehabilitated and built-up with various warm season, short growth cover to allow us to better visualize and adjust our training to the dog’s behavior on live birds.”
“We have training down to a science," he says. "I’ve merged my father's principles and those I've learned over the years with the best facilities and technology to maximize our efforts in developing the smartest bird dogs. We can map each session, tracking the dog's patterns, speed, and distance so we can balance each workout to sustain a fit, smart, and healthy dog.”
In his downtime, Bill loves his time with his wife Lorraine and family; Jackie, Matthew, Megan, and Ryan. He also plans to take his obedient pupils to national field trials to show off their Ashbourne education and ability. To learn more about Ashbourne’s sporting experiences, head here.