It was another beautiful day at the AON HITS Desert horse Park where high performance riders joined us for the $40,200 Coachella Classic, the second class of the FEI CSI 3* Division, at National Sunshine I. The field was stacked with 36 competitors all in the hunt for the blue ribbon and lion’s share of the prize money.
Four riders made it through the first round without faults and returned to challenge the shortened course.
The first to return for the jump-off first was Mathis Schwentker (GER) aboard NKH Carrido. Schwentker would ride to a fourth place finish with an eight-fault time of 45.16 seconds.
The second to return was Kristen VanderVeen (USA) aboard Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili. This team would finish with a four-fault time of 41.60 and the yellow ribbon.
The pressure was on for Ashlee Bond (ISR) who had the last two to show in the jump-off. Bond, representing Israel, would jump clear on both her mounts for a one-two finish.
Bond’s ride aboard Chela LS (Chapultepec La Silla x Tlaloc La Silla) in a fault free time of 43.64 was good enough for second place. “Chela is 14 now. I’ve had her for a long time and I am just rebuilding her from the World Equestrian Games. Today in the first round was the first time I felt like I had put the pieces all back together. I was really, really proud of how she was, double clear and rode really well,” Bond said.
The blue ribbon went to Bond aboard Ereina (Namelus R x Solitair) in a time of 41.54 seconds. “Ereina is a mare owned by Poden Farms and Neil Jones Equestrian, Inc. She’s only 9 and a newer mount to me. I started riding her in August and this is our fourth show together,” explained Bond. “I think she is one of those horses who, once she trusts you, she’ll do anything for you. She is super-fast, careful, and wants to just win so being able to ride a horse like that is really special. They were both great.”
Bond explained that the course today was quite big and careful. “I think that some courses suit you better than others. For instance, Chela especially is very scopey so I knew that I could crawl into the triple combination where people were having a lot of problems. The course suited horses with big strides and scope. It asked a lot of questions and today my horse came out really on their game so it was a good day.”
The Winner’s Circle at the AON HITS Desert Horse Park is a familiar spot for Bond. Along with a slew of Grand Prix titles from HITS Coachella and the HITS National Sunshine Series, Bond also won the $100,000 Longines FEI World CupTM Qualifier at the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit in 2017.
Ashlee Bond (ISR) & Ereina during the awards ceremony
“I’ve been coming here [to HITS Coachella and HITS Indio] since I was a little girl. I have won a lot here and it has been really good to me. There is so much open space, the trees have grown in, the VIP is always getting updated, and the barns are nice,” said Bond. “It’s close to home and really good prize money, and now its two FEI 3* weeks which is so cool to have on the west coast. I really enjoy coming here and my horses really like it.”
For full results, please click here.
Source: Press release from Hits Horse Shows
Photos: © ESI Photography
Categories: CSI 3*