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Ashlee Bond, Cadett 7 take back-to-back Grand Prix wins

By DANIEL K. LEW / Horsetrader staff - September 17th, 2009 - Show & Event News

Ashlee Bond and her Cadett 7, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Little Valley Farms, take consecutive victories at the $40,000 Summer Classic Grand Prix on Aug. 22 and $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark on Aug. 29.

Daniel K. Lew / Horsetrader photo

Ashlee Bond and her Cadett 7, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Little Valley Farms, take consecutive victories at the $40,000 Summer Classic Grand Prix on Aug. 22 and $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark on Aug. 29.

DEL MAR — Californians Ashlee Bond and Richard Spooner competed as part of the U.S. Nations Cup team against some of the world’s best in Europe this past summer–and that experience proved to prepare them and their horses well for Grand Prix events upon returning to the United States.

In their first competitions back in California, Bond of Santa Monica, Calif., and her Cadett 7, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Little Valley Farms of Calabasas, Calif., took consecutive victories at the $40,000 Summer Classic Grand Prix on Aug. 22 and $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark on Aug. 29. Both of the events were managed by Blenheim EquiSports and held at Del Mar Horsepark.

Earlier, Spooner of Agua Dulce, Calif., won the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix riding Conquest of Paradiso within days of coming back on Aug. 9 at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano. Spooner and Conquest of Paradiso followed up with a second-place finish Aug. 15 at the $35,000 Blenheim Summer Classic II Grand Prix.

World Cup qualifiers begin

For many Grand Prix riders, the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark on Aug. 29 was the start of the World Cup qualifying season on the West Coast. It was the first of 12 show-jumping Grand Prix events between August 2009 to April 2010 for riders to earn points toward qualifying for the 2010 FEI World Cup Jumping Finals, to be held April 14-18, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland.

For the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark World Cup qualifier held at Del Mar Horsepark’s covered arena, course designer Leopoldo Palacios said: “I built a legitimate course. What the West Coast has done having all the qualifiers indoors is the best for the sport, you can see the improvement in the riders.”

Out of the 40 rider-horse pairs who competed in the first World Cup qualifier of the season, six horses ridden by four riders jumped a clean first round to return for the jump-off. First to go clean was none other than Bond and Cadett 7. She did it again on GZS Cassira Z.

Richard Spooner and Pako take second place in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark on Aug. 29.

Daniel K. Lew / Horsetrader photo

Richard Spooner and Pako take second place in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark on Aug. 29.

Bond’s coach, Spooner also rode clean on two horses: Cristallo, owned by Show Jumping Syndications; and on his wife Kaylen’s horse, Pako.

The other two riders to join the jump-off were Santiago Rickard of Van Nuys, Calif., on his Jet Star, and Keri Potter of Del Mar on her Rockford I.

Bond set a blazing pace in the jump-off, clean in 33.95 seconds–no other rider could catch that time–for the blue ribbon in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark. Two more went clean–Spooner and Pako in 34.30 seconds for second place, and Potter with Rockford I in 36.08 seconds for third place. Spooner and Cristallo with one rail in 34.20 seconds ended up in fourth place. Bond and GZS Cassira Z were fifth place overall with a rail in 38.38 seconds. Rounding out the top six was Rickard and Jet Star with four faults in 41.17 seconds.

Bond said her horses were ready to compete in the first World Cup qualifier on the West Coast. “They jumped the biggest and hardest courses in the world while in Europe. They get used to the height and technicality, so it wasn’t anything new to them. But this course was up to par with everything that I’ve been jumping in Europe.”

‘Surreal year’ continues for Bond

Ashlee Bond

Daniel K. Lew / Horsetrader photo

Ashlee Bond

The successful year for Ashlee Bond and her horses started at the end of the 2008 and progressed through this year with impressive wins at HITS Thermal, and continued with competing at her first FEI World Cup Jumping Finals this past April in Las Vegas. It was followed by Bond traveling internationally for two months in Europe as a member of the U.S. show-jumping team in the FEI Nations Cup series–with the United States taking a hard-earned second place overall.

“This whole year has been surreal,” Bond said after her recent back-to-back Grand Prix wins back in California. “When you’re on a roll, I guess you try to keep it going as much as possible.”

The “surreal year” started for Bond last November in Buenos Aires at the CSIO 4-Star Nations Cup. “Then, when (U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe) George Morris picked me to be part of the team for that, it just kind of went crazy,” said Bond, who then competed at the 2009 HITS Thermal Desert Circuit, where she won four Grand Prix events. “We went to the World Cup Finals–we had a good performance; it wasn’t stellar,” but it gave her a glance at what was to come competing in Europe for Nations Cup.

“From there, I went to Europe–it was the most amazing experience and most amazing two months of my life, competing with World Equestrians, Olympians and the top riders of the sport,” Bond said.

She was part of the U.S. Nations Cup team and helped them win two Nations Cup series competitions, in which she amazingly jumped three, double-clear rounds.

During the competition at CHIO Aachen, Germany, from June 26-July 5 for the Warsteiner Prize–the Prize of Europe, Bond was able to add her name to the long list of winners which includes many equestrian sport legends.

Up until then, the 24-year-old Californian was not well-known in Germany. “It is a great honor for me being able to compete there,” Bond said. “I was pretty nervous after reaching the jump-off. I have always admired riders like Marcus Ehning or Jos Lansink. Being able to ride against them now is simply unbelievable.”

Bond next plans to compete at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada, and then hopes to qualify for the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, to be held for the first time outside of Europe from Sept. 25-Oct. 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.

Even with her rise to competing on an international level in only the last few years, Bond, who is still in her early 20s, says she doesn’t take it for granted and appreciates her current success, while looking ahead. “What goes up can come down, so enjoy every moment and learn from every mistake,” she said. “Everyone knows in this sport–you can be up and down–even in the same class.”

Bond says she is humbled when people ask for her autograph and she gladly obliges, or when she sees the same fans showing up at different shows with signs cheering her on.

After leaving the arena from winning the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark on Aug. 29, a very young girl approached Bond and asked: “Are you Ashlee Bond?” which Bond replies with a “yes.” The young girl excitedly cups both her hands on her own cheeks, smiles, and then runs off unexpectedly. “She was the cutest thing,” said Bond with a smile, who then proceeded to sign autographs and take photos at the request of other young fans–one of whom said: “I want to ride like Ashlee Bond one day.”

For complete show results from Blenheim EquiSports events, visit: www.showpark.com/results.asp

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2 comments have been made on “Ashlee Bond, Cadett 7 take back-to-back Grand Prix wins”

  1. Ines Bolten Says:

    Hi Ashlee — Kim Lindsey has told us of you and your work. Kim has been a old friend of ours. In fact, Hal, her previous husband, baptized us in the Jordan River June 1962. We have a horse ranch in southern Chile, Ruta 215 km7, Osorno. Kim told us your mother promotes Christian films. Michael Bolten, grandson, just finished a film “Letters to God” — more info on Google. Would greatly enjopy hearing from you. Ines

  2. Warren Says:

    Hi, Ines:
    I apologize for the delay in responding to you. This is the busy show season — perfect time for you to have horses in our publication and website. I will email you on Monday information. Perhaps you can begin to assemble the photographs and infomration for each horse for sale in the meantime? THank you.
    Regards,
    Warren Wilson, Publisher

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