Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2024

Bond Jumps Closer To World Cup Final

She and Cadett 7 finish first in $50,000 World Cup qualifier at HITS Thermal.

It’s been quite a winter so far for Ashlee Bond. The young Hidden Hills, Calif., professional is batting .500 in grand prix competition, winning three of the six classes she’s entered on the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, Calif.



She and Cadett 7 finish first in $50,000 World Cup qualifier at HITS Thermal.

It’s been quite a winter so far for Ashlee Bond. The young Hidden Hills, Calif., professional is batting .500 in grand prix competition, winning three of the six classes she’s entered on the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, Calif.

Her most recent win was the most important, a victory in the $50,000 World Cup qualifier, part of the HITS Desert Circuit IV Horse Show, Feb. 17-22. That victory put her and Cadett 7 into a tie for second in the West Coast World Cup points race. Bond is looking good for an invitation to the Rolex FEI World Cup Final in Las Vegas in April.

Bond had to chase down Harley Brown and Cassiato for the victory. Brown and the big gray gelding had stopped the clock in 48.48 seconds. But Cassiato is a huge horse with an immense amount of scope and a very long stride, and Bond knew the time was within her reach aboard Cadett 7, who is handier. Her plans almost came a cropper when her horse balked on a tight rollback to a liverpool, but Bond stayed cool.

“I knew that if I gunned him, I would have the rail,” she said. “I just let him do his little hopping up and down and then proceed along. I knew I could make up the time somewhere else.”

In the jump-off, course designer Aki Yllani asked riders to gallop the length of the ring directly toward the in-gate, an open chute leading out into the night. The last fence was not a solid oxer that would back the horses up but an airy vertical to which they might pay little attention with the exit right in front of them.

“I was very lucky to walk the course with Richard Spooner,” Bond said. Spooner told her to aim the horse at the official’s stand and the readout board before turning toward the last fence, which by then would be only two or three strides away. “Ride toward the clock so you don’t fall into the course designer’s trap,” Bond said.

The strategy worked. Cadett 7 focused on the jump, left it standing, and broke the timers in 45.23 seconds to take the win.

Bond purchased Cadett 7 last June from Aurora Griffin, a client of Ilan Ferder’s in Los Angeles. Bond had nothing but praise for her new horse, a chestnut gelding by Cor de la Bryere. They competed on the gold-medal team at the Buenos Aires Nations Cup (Argentina) last fall.

“He’s just so smart, and he’s just right there waiting for me to give instructions,” she said. “He’s not one of those horses that’s fighting against you. He’s working with you every step of the way to get a clean round.”

Brown was perfectly happy to be second. His total of 89 points puts him on top of the West Coast standings for the World Cup.

Brown, a trainer in Arroyo Grande, Calif., rides for his native Australia. All he needs to do to qualify for the finals is match the third-best score in the West Coast league. Being in first place gives him considerable confidence in making the cut.


“It would be fantastic,” said Brown, for whom the finals have been a lifetime goal. “It would be absolutely wonderful.”

Brown, one of Cassiato’s co-owners with the Oak Park group, is thrilled with how well the former dressage horse is going. “He’s been the model of consistency,” he said. “He’s a wonderful athlete, wants to go clean all the time. He’s just a very good horse.”

Loving The Game Again

Hannah Goodson-Cutt, 15, starred in the hunter rings. The Beverly Hills, Calif., teenager took the championship in the small junior, 15 and under, hunter with her own Caretano and did the same in larges with Portia DeRossi’s Granted. Caretano also won the small junior hunter classic.

Goodson-Cutt burned out after her pony years and gave up riding for a time. She came back a year or so ago, training with Kate Considine, and has learned to love the game again.

“When I came back, I rode better, because I had more respect for the sport,” she said. “I enjoy it a lot more.”

Goodson-Cutt’s considerable skills make her a popular choice as a catch-rider. “It makes me feel really good about myself to be able to get on new horses and ride them well,” she said.

Granted was one of those catch-rides, one that Goodson-Cutt was happy to get. “He’s the most beautiful mover I’ve ever seen,” she said. “You definitely feel fancy up there. He’s amazing. I like riding him the most of any horse I’ve ever ridden.”

Caretano, Goodson-Cutt’s own horse, began his career in the jumper ring. Despite being under 16 hands, he competed successfully in the grand prix ring with Keri Potter. Turning him into a hunter has been Goodson-Cutt’s project since November.

“Slow between the jumps, work on keeping him slow in the corners, just mellowing him out a little bit,” she said. “He has the most amazing jump I’ve ever felt. He’s so powerful, it’s like he can fly.”

Like A Dream

Taylor Siebel, Woodside, Calif., rode her family’s Mountain Home Stables’ entry Rumba to the win in the large junior hunter classic as well as the large juniors, 16-17, and Rumba won the second year green tricolor with John French.


Siebel, 16, makes riding the lovely second year horse sound like a dream. “Just keep going, loose reins and float on down there,” she said.

She watched French win the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions USHJA International Hunter Derby with Rumba two weeks earlier in Thermal. Asked if she preferred riding the gray gelding or watching him, she didn’t have to think long about her answer. “Well, they’re both really fun, but I’d have to say riding him,” she said.

Jennifer Stillman rode her own Roxana to the championship in the amateur-owner, 18-35, hunters. Stillman, who trains with Hap Hansen, did not like the mare when her mother first brought the horse home. Mother knows best, though, and Stillman soon came to appreciate Roxana’s abilities.

“There’s just nothing like her. An incredible jump and a cool mare,” said Stillman, who began training with Hansen quite recently. “He lets me learn from my mistakes, as opposed to constantly badgering me. If I get frustrated, he’ll say, ‘Figure it out. I’m not going to yell at you.’ ”

Stillman credited Hansen with helping bring Roxana up to her full potential. “He’s prepared her so well and brought her such a long way in a short period of time that she’s a completely different horse,” she said.

A Great Heart

Elise Moir stopped riding when she went off to college, worked and married—but never forgot about horses.

“I took about 25 years off to have a career and a couple of boys,” Moir said. “I kept dreaming about horses, literally having dreams about them, so I just started taking some lessons.”

She went into training with Patrice Corbridge near her Sanger, Calif., home and not long ago found the Swedish Warmblood Rembrandt.

“You point him at a fence, he’ll jump it,” said Moir, who took Rembrandt to the win in the Marshall & Sterling Adult Amateur Hunter Classic. “When I don’t know what I’m doing, he helps me out. He’s got a great heart, loves his job, and we could tell that from day 1.”

Moir had hoped she might end up having a girl or two to share her love of horses, but she’s happy enough with the way things are. “It can be my thing, and I go watch my boys do their ski racing and all their other stuff,” she said. “It’s a great life.”




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