Pop Art “Amazing,” Anton Highest Score in Europe So Far in Rotterdam CDIO Freestyle

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Canada's Ashley Holzer and Pop Art. © 2010 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Canada's Ashley Holzer and Pop Art. © 2010 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, June 19–Pop Art gave an “amazing” performance for rider Ashley Holzer in the Rotterdam CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle in the rain Saturday night, while team mate Belinda Trussell on Anton performed their best ever freestyle to post their highest score in European competitions so far.

They were completing the third of four legs of a European tour by a Canadian squad preparing for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in September, and faced their toughest competition so far–Dutch superstars Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas and Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival among nine combinations that are in the world’s top 20–and a cold, rainy and windy night.

Ashley, a three-time Olympian, rode her 2008 Beijing Games mount, Pop Art, to a score of 75.571 per cent and seventh place behind four Dutch and two German pairs. Ashley and 13-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding have not always seemed confident this year despite a string of first places on the Florida winter circuit and a win in the Grand Prix Freestyle at Lingen, Germany just two weeks ago.

There was no doubt on rainy Saturday night in Rotterdam, however.

“He was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!” she wrote in a text message to dressage-news.com

“Best in such a long time. I was simply thrilled.”

And, she said, her team mate Belinda was also “fab.”

Belinda Trussell and Anton. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Belinda Trussell and Anton. © 2010 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Belinda and Anton, a 10-year-old gelding, with Saturday’s freestyle score of 72.536 per cent posted their best result ever on two tours competing in Europe. The pair got their feet wet in competitions away from the highest levels in Germany and The Netherlands last fall.

But with this tour at Wiesbaden and Lingen in Germany and now Rotterdam with Aachen to come next month, the pair have established themselves as serious international competitors with only Ashley and Pop Art ahead of them in Canada’s rankings.

Belinda told dressage-news.com that Anton was “quite scared” in the arena at first, with its electric atmosphere and the tempestuous weather.

Despite this, she said, “I was so pleased with Anton. He stayed with me and did his best even though he was nervous at the start.

“It was my best freestyle to date in the way it felt under me.

“Anton and I are still newcomers here in Europe and we are getting wonderful exposure competing against the best in the world.

“The class tonight was such a strong class. It was the best of the best.

“I am thrilled to be a part of that caliber of horse and rider combinations.

“Anton and I still have more to develop and he is progressing so well in the European environments.”