LAKE VIEW TERRACE, Calif. – Ashlee Bond returned to Hansen Dam Horse Park for the second year in a row to share her wisdom and expertise with jumper riders. Ashlee stopped at Hansen Dam on her way to Wellington, and hopefully Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.
Ashlee was thrilled to be back at Larry Langer’s 38-acre horse park to teach several groups of riders from the .80m- 1.00m level up to the 1.30m level. “It’s a beautiful facility,” she said. “The footing is perfect, it’s clean and I am really happy to be here. There is good energy here. The Langers do a great job and the clinic is very well organized.”
Clinics are relatively new to Ashlee who has spent most of her time in the saddle or in the show ring. “I’ve never thought of myself as a people trainer, but rather as someone who brings young horses along,” she explained. “Teaching people challenges me to break down what I am doing. I enjoy getting on their horses to show them and explain things better.”
Riders got plenty of one-on-one attention as Ashlee’s father, Steve Bond, also coached riders throughout the clinic. “He’s my secret weapon,” she shared. “He’s the reason I am where I am in the sport. He comes from the cutting horse world and really understands the art of getting horses trained.”
Ashlee and Steve started day one with pole exercises for riders of all levels. “We want to give the riders tools to use on an everyday basis,” she said. “The end goal is to do well in the show ring. Doing pole exercises every day is low impact on the horse and rider. These exercises give you control, straightness, rideability, and they are less stressful.”
The pole exercises and groundwork from the first day prepared riders for jumping on day two and navigating a challenging course that even included a triple bar. “If you can perfect the poles and practice your aids, then you’ll be ready to jump a course,” Ashlee said.
Professional rider, Leila Ward-Maroney had an excellent experience riding her mare in the clinic. “Ashlee is positive, down-to-Earth, and great at explaining what she means,” Leila commented. “It’s a dream come true to have clinics like this at home. I am lucky to run my training business out of Hansen Dam, where there are great shows and clinics like this.”
Ellery Hotchkis trained by Isabelle Ebner participated in the clinic for her second year — this time aboard her brand-new horse. “It was great that Ashlee was able to get on my young horse,” Ellery said. “Steve and Ashlee helped me so much last year as well. They really focus on the details. They ask you what you want to improve and they help you reach your goals. I had so much fun and the gift bags this year were a nice surprise too!” All the riders received special gifts, including LEGISequine.com backpacks and SpurTech spur straps.
Ashlee enjoyed sharing her knowledge with all the riders and auditors. “If I could leave riders with one thought, I would say ‘be committed’” she added. “Be committed to straightness, pick a distance, and be specific with what you ask your horse for. Be committed to your decisions and you will be successful.”