Young Again Pop Art With Ashley Holzer Wins Wellington World Cup Grand Prix

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Ashley Holzer and Pop Art in the World Cup Grand Prix at the Global Dressage Festival. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 3–Pop Art, with new energy from drinking at the Fountain of Youth, was ridden by Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer to victory in the Global Dressage Festival’s inaugural World Cup event Friday, posting a personal best at Grand Prix for the 15-year-old gelding who began his big tour career five years ago.

Ashley, who is based in Wellington and New York, and “Poppy,” whom she rode at the 2008 Olympics, scored 73.596 per cent with Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina, and Come On III second on 68.596 per cent and James Koford of Raleigh, North Carolina, on Rett third on 67.766 per cent.

Extra drama was added to the $50,000 Wellington Dressage CDI-W when a local government inspector ordered about 50 horses to be moved from new stables that had won rave reviews from riders. Organizers erected temporary tent stabling.

The action created a backlash of anger against opponents of the new multimillion dollar facility which has been at the center of a heated political campaign over plans to build a condominium hotel on the site. Some opponents have publicly stated they are not against the dressage facility but commercial aspects of the development while taking both legal and surreptitious actions to disrupt the dressage competitions.

One rider said, “When these kinds of actions affect us riders we’re not happy, but we’ll live with it. When it affect our horses we get seriously p.o.’d. I don’t see how moving us from the best stabling at any show grounds into tents helps anyone, certainly not our horses. The organizers are doing everything they can to help.”

Village of Wellington officials and Mark Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions at Gobal Dressage Festival grounds. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Equestrian Sport Productions that organized the show credited stabling charges against a future competition while several riders volunteered to take their national level horses home overnight.

In a “we’re in this together” spirit, Canada’s Jacqueline Brooks used her truck to ferry tack trunks and other supplies from the permanent stables to the temporary tents to meet the eviction deadline of 8 a.m. Saturday.

Not a single competitor–either national or CDI–withdrew from the show because of the disruption to the stabling, reported Lloyd Landkamer, manager of the competition.

Sweden’s Gustav Svalling, president of the ground jury, described it as “a technical problem” and said he believed that the new showgrounds “are going to be excellent” in the future.

The competition itself, the first CDI at the grounds being built specially for the Global Dressage Festival as part of a multimillion dollar expansion of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, was not interrupted by the regulatory inspections.

Ashley said that Pop Art, whom she first showed at international level exactly five years ago, “feels amazing. He feels young again, like he has been drinking from the Fountain of Youth.”

Shawna Harding and Come On III. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Poppy’s fitness and energy were a “perfect storm,” she said, of changed diet, a new training schedule and different riding to accommodate his age.

She joked that Pop Art was probably stepping up his game, too, to compete against Breaking Dawn, Ashley’s new Grand Prix mount, because Pop Art loves to compete in England and wants to be her ride at the London Olympics this summer.

Ashley reiterated her decision not to go to the World Cup although she has the highest scores so far in the North American League which is based on an average of scores and not points.

But she said she thought the controversy over the GDF grounds was “sad” as the new facility was “going to be te best” that would boost growth of dressage in North America and attract Europeans to the winter circuit.

“They have done an incredible job,” she said. “The footing is fabulous. The stabling is amazing.”

Shawna and Come On III, who competed at the 2011 World Cup Final in Leipzig, Germany, and then campaigned in Europe said she will go to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, if invited to the Final in mid-April.

She had ridden there when she worked for the late Dr. Reiner Klimke and it was one of her favorite shows.

The new GDF grounds, she said, was “like a mini-Hagen (Germany) but prettier.” As a rider who pays all her own costs, she appeciated the prize money and the sponsors of the event.

Stephen Clarke dousing Janet Foy and Elisabeth Williams with Champagne as Gustav Svalling, Gary Rockwell, Leif Torblad look on at the "launching" of the new Global Dressage Festival grounds. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The ground jury of Gustav Svalling, Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, Leif Torblad of Denmark, Gary Rockwell and Janet Foy of the United States and FEI Steward Elisabeth Williams of the U.S. celebrated the new show grounds with a California Champagne (or sparkling wine for the purists).

Complete Results:

Class: 2 – FEI Grand Prix Ring: GDF International
E: Clarke – GBR H: Rockwell – USA C: Svalling – SWE M: Foy – USA B: Torblad – DEN
Rider Nat Horse E % H % C % M % Rk. B % Rk. T % Pl.

Holzer, Ashley CAN Pop Art
73.085% 0 72.553% 0 74.787% 0 72.872% 0 74.681% 0 73.596% 1

Harding, Shawna USA Come On III
69.255% 0 67.340% 0 70.213% 0 68.085% 0 68.085% 0 68.596% 2

Koford, James USA Rhett
67.234% 0 67.872% 0 65.957% 0 67.660% 0 70.106% 0 67.766% 3


Koford, James USA Pharaoh
65.532% 0 65.213% 0 68.723% 0 64.787% 0 65.319% 0 65.915% 4

Winter, Victoria CAN Proton
66.064% 0 64.043% 0 65.000% 0 63.191% 0 65.851% 0 64.830% 5

Brooks, Jacquline M. CAN D Niro
66.170% 0 63.617% 0 64.362% 0 63.191% 0 66.170% 0 64.702% 6

Kim, Dong Seon KOR Bukowski
63.404% 0 63.298% 0 67.021% 0 62.234% 0 61.915% 0 63.574% 7

Losos de Muniz, Yvonne DOM Liebling II
63.191% 0 64.574% 0 63.936% 0 62.234% 0 62.553% 0 63.298% 8

Losos de Muniz, Yvonne DOM Dondolo Las Marismas 63.191% 0 62.234% 0 63.298% 0 63.511% 0 63.191% 0 63.085% 9

Reichart, Shelly USA Welttaenser
65.319% 0 60.745% 0 63.191% 0 64.043% 0 61.383% 0 62.936% 10

Cordia, Elaine USA Jewel’s Adelante
61.277% 0 61.277% 0 63.617% 0 60.000% 0 63.723% 0 61.979% 0

Vander Ploeg, Gary CAN Cezanne
62.553% 0 62.766% 0 60.851% 0 61.170% 0 59.681% 0 61.404% 0

Reteguiz-Denizard, Luis PUR Nalando
61.702% 0 59.149% 0 60.957% 0 60.319% 0 58.936% 0 60.213% 0

Jensen, Stephanie CAN Addiction
61.489% 0 62.128% 0 55.745% 0 62.340% 0 59.149% 0 60.170% 0

Schwarz, Ilse AUS Cadenza
59.149% 0 58.298% 0 58.723% 0 61.170% 0 55.106% 0 58.489% 0