Thermal, California – December 02, 2021 – International competition began in the Grand Prix Arena Thursday at Desert Holiday I with the feature class of the day, the MLSJ $9,100 1.40m Two Phase CSI2*, sponsored by Desert Flight. Ireland’s Alan Wade (IRL) set the track for the 33 entries, which included bending lines, rollback turns, a vertical-oxer double combination, and an oxer-vertical double combination. After jump seven, the jump-off portion of the class began, so riders thoughtfully executed their first seven fences before taking the speed up a notch and racing towards home while also trying to keep the rails from falling. While many top international riders completed both phases fault-free with competitive times, it was Israel’s Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Lazy who crossed the beams in the quickest time to secure victory.
Bond set the time to beat early with her first mount, Chica Bella, as she finished the speed phase in 33.04 seconds, but Katie Laurie (AUS), Keri Potter (USA) and Erynn Ballard (CAN) put in three double-clear efforts in a row, each taking over the lead consecutively. Potter (USA) and Bisou put in an incredible time of 30.95 seconds, shaving over two seconds off Bond’s first time.
Next in the ring, Ballard (CAN) and Nanini Van D’Abelendreef edged them out with a time of 30.53 seconds. Ballard would go on to hold the lead until Bond came back into the ring on her second mount, Lazy, to challenge her.
Bond opened up her mare’s stride and was set out to win as the speed phase began. She raced from jump seven into the oxer-vertical combination, then took the fewest amount of strides to the five-stride line down the middle before stepping on the gas and racing to the finish, turning tight in the final rollback and subtracting a stride coming to the final fence. The pair sped to the only time below 30 seconds, clocking in at 29.41 seconds and securing the win.
A partnership that is getting better with time, Bond and Lazy truly shine when it comes to speed. The 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Hickstead is hot-blooded and Bond has spent time working with her to learn how best to channel the speed and energy she puts toward every class. The pair has been traveling along the Major League Show Jumping tour in North America and has racked up numerous top five finishes both domestically and internationally. With her sights set on Sunday’s MLSJ $72,900 1.45m Grand Prix CSI2*, Bond will give the mare several days to prepare for her next event.
FEI show jumping action continues Friday with the MLSJ $36,600 1.50m CSI2*, sponsored by Premier Equestrian, and the start of CSI5* competition on the brand new grass field, featuring the MLSJ $1,000 1.40m Speed CSI5*, sponsored by Go Rentals, and the MLSJ $72,900 1.50m CSI5*, sponsored by Great American Insurance Group.
From The Winners Circle
Ashlee Bond – Winner of the MLSJ $9,100 FEI 1.40m Two Phase CSI2*, Sponsored by Desert Flight
“This is Lazy and she is owned by Stephex Stables and Aurora Farms. She is 10 years old and we have had her since the middle of her 8-year-old year. She is a fearless, very hot, careful mare. It has taken us a little bit of time to get to know each other because she is always very forward and hot and gives so much effort. We spent a lot of time figuring out how to put that in the right direction. I feel that in the last year it has all come together. She is super fast naturally and our turns are getting really good and she is fun and I don’t have to think too much when I am on her.”
On her plan for Lazy at the event:
“The plan is the CSIFEI 2* for her. I have five horses here for the Desert Holiday events and three of them will do the CSI2* classes. I am hoping that I can have two horses in the Grand Prix and then I will use her and Boheme. She will just stay legged up until Sunday no matter what.”
On showing at Desert International Horse Park:
“I grew up on the West Coast and have been coming to the Desert International Horse Park since I was six or seven years old. This place has been very good to us over the last almost 30thirty years. We have had a lot of success here. I have not been back in a long time and the new owners have done an amazing job. The Grand Prix Arena footing is awesome and the new grass field is just stunning. I like that the FEI area is spacious with a huge warm-up area. They have really done a lot.”
On having high level show jumping events in California:
“I think that these events out here are what is needed. Although we still need more events of this calibur out here, the Desert Horse Park is doing its part to elevate the sport. Hopefully in the future this trend continues and they can get more big FEI shows for the winter circuit. They have done an amazing job in two years, and I think the next two years will only continue to be better.”
Final Results – $9,100 Deser Flight Two-Phase CSI 2*
1) Ashlee Bond (ISR) & Lazy – 0 / 0 – 29.41
2) Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Nanini Van D’Abelendreef – 0 / 0 – 30.53
3) Keri Potter (USA) & Bisou – 0 / 0 – 30.95
4) Nayel Nassar (EGY) & Jiminy Cricket – 0 / 0 – 31.58
5) Charlie Jones (GBR) & Gerko III Van De Zeilhoek – 0 / 0 – 31.77
6) Katie Laurie (AUS) & Esteban MVNZ – 0 / 0 – 32.78
7) Ashlee Bond (ISR) & Chica Bella – 0 / 0 – 33.04
8) Luis Sabino Goncalves (POR) & Camino Imperio Egipcio – 0 / 0 – 33.70
9) Karrie Rufer (USA) & Stern De Folletti – 0 / 0 – 35.34
10) Stephanie Gershon (USA) & C’Est Roberto – 0 / 0 – 36.52
11) Karrie Rufer (USA) & Capitale 6 – 0 / 0 – 37.52
12) Mattias Ekeroth (SWE) & Haydee M – 0 / 0 – 38.33
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas / Phelps Media Group for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © Phelps Sport / Tori Bilas