February 2019 - Ashlee Bond Clinic at Hansen Dam Horse Park
Written by by Brooke Goddard • photos by Kristin Lee Photography
Friday, 01 February 2019 04:36
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hunterjumper

Show jumping star shares education and enthusiasm with jumper riders.

by Brooke Goddard • photos by Kristin Lee Photography

“You can’t give up. You have to fight for what you want. It’s not over until you’re through the timers. I know it burns but keep working. You can do it,” Ashlee Bond encouraged a rider during her Jan. 5-6 clinic at Hansen Dam Horse Park in Lake View Terrace.

There was a distinct theme prevalent throughout the clinic—believe in yourself and don’t give up. Bond, who has won the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix and recently competed on the Israeli team at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, took time out of her busy schedule to share her passion with others during a two-day clinic at Larry Langer’s Hansen Dam Horse Park. Under the guidance of John Manning, the facility recently installed geotextile footing from HITS in its Grand Prix Arena and Jumper Warm-Up Ring.

Bond has a full schedule planned with showing and training her own horses but has already committed to doing this clinic again next year. “I love the jumper ring at Hansen Dam Horse Park,” she said. “I used to show here as a kid when I did ponies. The HDHP Grand Prix Arena reminds me of Ocala with the trees and beautiful backdrop. The geotextile footing is incredible. It’s such a professional setting. The Langers have set the bar high and I’m honored to be a clinician here.”

Marnye Langer and Georges Bittar

Bond has learned much of her knowledge from her mentor Richard Spooner as well as her father, Steve, who has a background in western riding and training young horses. Steve Bond was also part of the clinic, helping prepare riders with flatwork exercises including lateral work and extending and collecting before Ashlee jumped the riders. “One of my greatest passions is sharing the knowledge I’ve acquired,” she explained. “In terms of my teaching, I don’t believe in making people feel bad. My goal is to build people up constructively and bring confidence. This is only the third clinic I’ve taught, and it was the most advanced clinic that I’ve taught thus far. I also have no issue working with beginners because people need to learn good basics from the beginning.” The clinic at HDHP had riders from the Grand Prix level to beginners.

Jasmine Talley

Though Bond loves sharing her knowledge with up-and-coming riders of all levels, she admits she won’t be the one teaching her two-year-old daughter, Scottie. “My daughter is taking lessons with Lisa Winn who actually taught me from the time I was 4,” she commented. “It’s important to me to give my daughter a barn life with other young kids and give her the experience I had when I was little.”

Ashley on Sloan’s horse.

Clinic participants and auditors alike enjoyed a positive experience all-around.  The clinic hosted four intimate groups with approximately half a dozen riders each: two 1.20M level groups, one 1.10M level group, and one .80M level group. The 1.20M and 1.10M level groups comprised of both experienced and emerging riders.

Rosemary Bilson and Toni Anderson, watching.

Participants included professionals Georges Bittar, Sheri Moser, and Daphne Foran as well as rising jumper riders, many of whom recently competed at USHJA Zone 9 & 10 Jumper Team Championships, such as such as Claire Williamson, Julia Otter, Jasmine Talley, Sloan Elmassian and Alyce and Amelie Bittar. Meanwhile, the .80M group welcomed several students who train out of Hansen Dam Riding School, including Toni Anderson, who was the 2018 USHJA Horsemanship Quiz Challenge Gold Medalist.

Steve Bond

“I’ve participated in a few other clinics before, but I really enjoyed the smaller groups here,” said junior rider Julia Otter. “I liked the one-on-one attention and was able to learn from others in my group. The energy was very special, unlike any other clinic I’ve been a part of. There was so much positivity and encouragement. My biggest takeaway from the weekend was that I learned the importance of being an active rider everywhere on course.”

Taylor Moore

There were many valuable lessons to be learned throughout the weekend. Bond offered one final word of advice to developing riders: “If you want to get to the top of the sport, you can’t cut corners. Work hard and don’t lose sight of the fun. Fight for what you want in the ring and don’t forget why you’re doing it: because you love horses.”