Ali Ramsay and Bonita VH Keizershof Z Sprout Wings in $32,000 1.50m Speed

Ali Ramsay and Bonita VH Keizershof Z Sprout Wings in $32,000 1.50m Speed

Most of the crowd on Thursday of Desert Circuit 3, presented by U.S. Bank, thought Conor Swail (IRL) was going to come home with a one-two finish in the $32,000 Oz Inc. 1.50m Speed. But Ali Ramsay (CAN) had something to say about that. With Swail in the top two positions before the midway drag break, Ramsay observed, made a plan, and executed, taking the win with Bonita VH Keizershof Z, a horse she’s been with for nearly seven years.

The course, set by Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) was winding and lengthy, but quite a few pairs conquered it at high speeds. Swail set the time to beat at 63.85 seconds with Casturano as second in the order, then followed up with Theo 160 a few rounds later, slotting into second with a time of 64.11 seconds. As more pairs tried to catch the time, it became apparent just how quick Swail was. But Ramsay has a secret weapon with her petite mare.

“When we walked the first line I walked a bit bold in 12 [strides],” Ramsay explained of her start to the speed course. “I watched Conor do 11, but I thought 12 was a good step for me, and I thought I could turn back tight. Then I did seven in the rollback which I didn’t see anyone else do.”

Ultimately, Ramsay and the 13 year-old Zangersheide mare (Bustique x For Pleasure) came up in 63.64 seconds, improving upon Swail’s better time and taking over the lead. No one could top her time, handing her the win and putting Swail’s two mounts in second and third.

Over the years, Ramsay and Bonita have conquered big tracks all across North America. They’ve jumped CSI5* grand prixs, they’ve competed on teams together, and Ramsay knows the mare like the back of her hand.

“She means the world to me. She’s probably the most important thing in my life,” she shared about Bonita. “I’ve had her since she was 6 so we’re going on seven years together. She’s one of those horses that just gets better every year. She kept exceeding everyone’s expectations. The jump went up and she just kept jumping bigger.

“She’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden. Every time I get to go in the ring with her I know she’s going to fight for me and it’s the coolest feeling. That’s what you dream of finding in a horse. She’s pretty special.”

The horse is unassuming when she enters the ring for an international class, because she’s barely taller than the jumps themselves. As a very petite pair together, they sail over everything nearly effortlessly, making them a blast to watch and a special duo to see in the winner’s circle.

“It’s her heart and her personality,” Ramsay said about what makes Bonita such a winner. “She’s a fighter and I feel like we’re really similar. Looking at her you don’t think she’d be able to jump this level; the jumps are bigger than her when she’s jumping a five-star grand prix, but the feeling when you’re cantering up to it is that she’ll jump the standards and that she can do anything.”

With Bonita in a more developed season of her life, Ramsay knows she can count on her, so she plans to aim her at bigger classes throughout the upcoming year.

“I’m hoping to be on the Northern Lights again for Major League at least for the first half of the season. For most of those shows I’d like to jump the five-star grand prix on her,” she explained. “This is such a lovely facility to get the year started and to pick and choose money classes to aim her at. [Our goal is] to keep her ready and keep her fresh for what the rest of the year brings.”

Already a winner at the FEI level in 2023, Ramsay hopes to find even more success back at DIHP in 2024, knowing the venue supports development of horses and fosters great jumping. “I find that this ring is the nicest footing I think I jump on all year,” she shared. “I love California and I love it here. The jump material is great. The horses love it. My horses all jump very well here so it’s a good place to be.”

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Ali Ramsay and Bonita VH Keizershof Z Sprout Wings in $32,000 1.50m Speed | Desert International Horse Park (