Relaxing on the evening before the HITS Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix, ASHLEE BOND talks about her October wedding.
Photos George Kamper
Published Fall 2013
Ashlee Bond won her first grand prix over ten years ago. Today, her triumphs continue to mount, as she competes in the top show jumping events around the world, from the Nations Cup to her recent success at Spruce Meadows this summer. EQ caught up with her earlier this year in Indio, Calif., on the eve of the HITS Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix.
(Photo: George Kamper)
Bond was relaxed and comfortable, without a trace of anxiety for the coming day’s huge competition. As she steps into the show ring at some of the world’s biggest equestrian events, she doesn’t feel the nerves she once did. “It’s funny,” she said. “I used to get the adrenaline pump before classes in California back when I was younger, but since I’ve competed around the world, and against the best riders, and proven to myself that I am capable, the nerves have gone away.”
Ashlee’s easy attitude toward high stakes competition might have something to do with the happiness she finds at home. Recently engaged to farrier Sage Clarke, Bond has plenty to be excited about. “I think it’s really important to set goals and fight for what you want, but I think it’s also important to balance that with family and friends and other interests that make for a well-rounded life,” she said. As the couple looks forward to their wedding in Los Angeles this October, Bond manages to put her hard-working, competitive energy aside to enjoy what time they can find together.
Their families had known each other for years, though Ashlee didn’t know Sage until her father introduced them at a competition at Showpark last August. Since then, their relationship has been a steady source of support and relaxation for Ashlee, who says, “We like to make the little things fun. With our busy schedules, we like to spend the days that we have at home, just being a normal couple and enjoying each other’s company.”
“Sage proposed the day before Valentine’s Day in San Francisco,” said Bond. “We had a very romantic night: he popped the question once we were alone at the end of the evening. It was perfect… I couldn’t have pictured it any better or different!” With wedding planning at full tilt, she maintains her light-hearted, California-girl enthusiasm. “The wedding has fallen together so perfectly, it’s actually been strange!” Ashlee laughs. “My family hired a wedding planner, so that helped a lot. No drama, no fighting, no disagreements!”
Ashlee with fiance Sage Clarke. (Photo: George Kamper)
Her career recently expanded further when she started her business, Ashlee Bond Show Jumping, which includes both training and sales. “I have taken a few clients and am extremely happy with that side of things,” says Ashlee. “It’s been very liberating.”
(Photo: George Kamper)
Still, there is nothing like the thrill of competition for Bond, who explains, “It’s a feeling you can’t really express in words unless you’ve competed. It’s this peace that I feel when the whole world shuts down. It’s just me and my horse and we get to fly for a few minutes. It’s a truly unique feeling.”
Ashlee Bond was relaxed and comfortable, without a trace of anxiety for the next day’s huge competition on the eve of the HITS Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix, as she and fiancé Sage Clark splashed in the pool. (Photo: George Kamper)
Ashlee: “I think it’s important to balance (work and competition) with family and friends and other interests that make for a well-rounded life.” (Photo: George Kamper)
MY FAVORITE HOTEL. San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara, Calif.
MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT is Taverna Tony, Malibu, Calif.
MY FAVORITE HORSE SHOW. Aachen.
MY FAVORITE TV SHOW is definitely Revenge.
MY FAVORITE RIDING CLOTHES. Animo.