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Bond $100K


Ashlee Bond, still on the comeback after a maternity leave from jumping, soars to a big win Feb. 11 at HITS aboard Chela LS.


Ashlee Bond and Chela CS win $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup qualifi er at HITS


special to the horsetrader T


HERMAL—The sun shined bright above the desert sky at HITS Desert Horse Park as the crowd gathered


to watch the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifier Feb. 11. The competition served as the grand finale of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Thermal event during week IV of the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit.


An impressive lineup of horses and riders


from California and around the globe gath- ered to jump for the fi nal West Coast quali- fying opportunity and a $100,000 purse. As the last stop for qualifi ers on the West


Coast commenced, riders were hungry for the opportunity to qualify for the Longines


FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final to be held in Omaha, Neb., March 29–April 2.


USA equestrian Ashlee Bond went home


with the coveted, velvet blue Longines sash and a Longines watch as the winner. Perhaps the most important takeaway for Bond, though, was the meaning behind the win with her trusted partner, Chela LS, owned by Lit le Valley Farms. “I was not expecting to walk away the win-


ner of this class,” said Bond. “It’s been a long road with my horse ‘Chela’—we almost lost her and we’re so thankful to have her, let alone have her sound again and competing and winning at this level. “It’s amazing just being in this fi eld and coming back aſt er having a baby four months ago as well,” she added. “I’m just very happy.”


Two of the top four fi nishers will be pay- ing a visit to the FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals in Omaha: second place fi nisher Audrey Coulter and fourth-place Karl Cook. Third-place went to Lane Clarke. The top three fi nishers are veterans to HITS shows and returned to the place they have all once called home throughout their respective riding careers. “It’s an amazing group I’m sit ing up here


with today,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri at the post-competition press conference. “I’m very happy to see all of these riders—Lane, Ashlee, and Audrey— at this table. We’ve watched Ashlee ride since the ponies, so to see her winning a class like this means a lot to the HITS Team. We consider her family. We’re lucky enough to have Longines here as the sponsor, and the best sponsor in horse sports unques-


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