By Tammy Chipko
Congratulations to Grand Prix rider Ashlee Bond and her mare Southern Girl for topping the field on Saturday, June 30th in the $25,000 Red, White, and Blue Grand Prix. And continued congrats to Ashlee for also placing 2nd on her horse Tommy Gun.
I had the chance to speak with Ashlee regarding her victory and her future plans.
Tammy Chipko: Please tell us a little bit about your Grand Prix horses.
Ashlee Bond: Princess, Southern Girl’s barn name, is an 11-year-old home bred mare – she was both bred and born at my house. In fact, so was Tommy who is now 9 years old. I have been with them literally since they were born and I think that gives me a leg up, at least in knowing and understanding them. I know all of their quirks, likes, and dislikes.
Princess is such a fighter, she has a heart of gold and will do anything for me! She is small but I don’t think she knows that. This was her first Grand Prix win and I am so proud of her. What a start!
Tommy has the same attitude as Princess. He has a big heart and is also really there for me. I have a tremendous bond with these horses – they trust me and I in turn trust them. When we are out there, we are truly a team. It’s a great feeling knowing we are in sync.
I couldn’t do this without a team effort – my mom and dad’s undying support and Nacho’s ability to take such fabulous care of the horses. My dad says that these are Nacho’s horses and he lets us ride them!
I am fortunate that horses are also a passion for my dad. Tommy was his horse and I am lucky to be able to ride and show him. I am hoping he will be my World Cup Horse.
TC: Speaking of the World Cup, what are your future plans?
AB: I would like to compete in the ’08 World Cup Finals. So starting this September I will compete in the World Cup qualifiers. The Olympic Trials are next year, of course I would love to go. What a great experience that would be to compete in the Olympics on a horse we bred and raised. Tommy would give me his all and knowing how talented he is, it would be great to have the chance to represent the US on him. So ultimately the Olympics and the World Cup Finals, but I am taking it one day at a time.
TC: You have returned to the sport after being away for a while, what is it like to be back at this point in your career?
AB: I took some time off due to an injury and I needed to take a break, I was burned out. Taking that break was the best thing I ever did, it made me realize how much I missed riding and how important the horses are to me. I feel refreshed, with such a newfound passion for the sport. I am 150 percent committed and I’m excited about the future.
TC: You are a professional rider now. Do you plan on making a business out of this?
AB: Actually, I am riding professionally and would like to have the opportunity to ride other horses. I would like to have a sponsor, but for now I am just looking forward to the next competition and the next and the next… So I can continue to learn and prepare for the upcoming qualifiers.
TC: Well, I am sure we will see plenty more of you and your wonderful horses. Good Luck!
AB: Thank you!
Ashlee will be at the Oaks in August and then on to Showpark for the first World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix