Get To Know Success Equestrian Superstar Kristen Csik Bond
It’s always a pleasure to catch up with our favorite riders and brand ambassadors. This month, we were thrilled to catch up with Success Equestrian rider Kristen Csik Bond. Since our last interview, Kristen has started a family and is back in action competing at the upper levels!
Read on to find out more about her life growing up around horses, her farm, and her top tips for young, aspiring riders. Thanks Kristen!
Q: Where did you grow up, and at what age did you start riding?
A: “I grew up in the state of Washington, southwest of Seattle. I began riding at the age of 9. My mom rode when she was younger, but nobody else in my family rode. I grew up with a great group of kids, we all did Pony club and young riders. We were all very serious about riding right from the get go.”
Q: What level have you competed through?
A: “I’ve completed three four stars. I did my first 4* at 26, with just one stop on XC. It was amazing and terrifying all wrapped up into one giant emotional week!”
Q: Who’s your idol in the eventing world?
A: “Pippa Funnel because she’s AMAZING and who doesn’t love her?! I even named my dog Pippa Funnel, though I’m not sure my dog knows the significance in her name?!”
Q: Tell us about your farm, what size operation you run, etc?
A: “We rent a training barn in NJ. We have an 11 stall barn and I typically have around 8 horses. Some are for sale, some are the working students, grooms, client horses and the rest are mine. We have been going to Aiken in the winters, which we have been enjoying. However we are casually debating going to Ocala next winter.
Q: How many kids do you have?
A: “I have two kids. Beckham, my son is three and my baby girl Berkeley is a year old.
Q: How do you balance being a mother, a wife and an upper level competitor?
A: Insert a giant laugh… “YOU JUST FIGURE IT OUT I GUESS! How does someone manage a 70 horse barn? But honestly, it’s all about time management AND having others help me. I couldn’t do this alone! My husband Andrew and his parents are incredibly supportive. My own parents help constantly and we have a nanny, thank god! I never bring my kids to really big events because I can’t handle the distraction. But I do have to come home at the end of the day…I have others counting on me!”
Q: Do you think having children changed you as a rider, from a mental standpoint?
A: “Absolutely! It took me a while to get back to where I felt relaxed and like my old self competing particularly after my first child. It wasn’t so much a physical thing, but mental. I was back to my old self at Fair Hill this April and hopefully that will continue because being brave is still a work in progress for me!”
Q: Any advice for young woman who maybe want a family and want to compete but are worried about the balance?
A: “Take all the time you need for YOU and do what’s right for you. You may have plans that you’ll have a baby and continue towards a 4*, or you might find that you have a baby and are perfectly content staying at the lower levels.”
Q: Biggest piece of advice for a young aspiring rider with no money, no sponsors, or anything working in their favor?
A: “If you really truly love what you do and work really hard, and put the time in to become the best rider, you absolutely will get noticed. But you have to really learn to do it well. Also you must be nice! Nobody wants to help a grumpy person!”