Ashley Holzer, Four-time Olympian for Canada, Becomes United States Citizen

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Ashley Holzer riding Dressed in Black. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ashley Holzer riding Dressed in Black. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 23, 2016–Ashley Holzer, the four-time Olympian for Canada, has become an United States citizen but with dual nationality has not yet decided which country to ride for in the future.

Ashley was sworn in two week ago in New York City, she confirmed to dressage-news.com.

Under International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rules she may have to wait a year before she could compete with the Stars and Stripes instead of the red Maple Leaf on her saddle pad if she decides to ride for the USA.

The 52-year-old mother of two children with her husband, U.S. championship jumper rider Rusty, is entered to compete the KWPN mare Tiva Nana in the World Cup event at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival here this week. The mare, owned by P.J. Rizvi’s Peacock Ridge, has been on pregnancy leave from competition for more than a year.

Ashley has indicated she may compete Dressed in Black, the 11-year-old Westfalen stallion that she owns and began riding at Big Tour 18 months ago, as her mount to seek to represent Canada at this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The best four CDI3* and above scores through July 3 count for selection to fill one of the two individual places for Canada in Rio.

The Holzers founded the Riverdale Equestrian Center in the Bronx in New York City in 1994 and Ashley spends winters in Wellington.

Ashley Holzer on Breaking Dawn at the Olympics in London in 2012. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Ashley Holzer on Breaking Dawn at the Olympics in London in 2012. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Ashley was on Canada’s bronze medal team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and represented her homeland in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the 2008 Beijing Games and the 2012 Olympics in London.

She represented Canada in the first World Equestrian Games in Stockholm in 1990 and also in Jerez, Spain in 2002 and Aachen Germany, in 2006 as well as the World Cup Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1989 and Las Vegas in 2009. She also won team gold at the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba and team silver at the 2003 Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo.

Among the horses she competed at the top of the sport were Imperioso, Gambol, Pop Art and Breaking Dawn that became virtual rock stars that helped fill stadiums when competed by Ashley at the premier shows in Canada and America.

In addition to being a multi-Olympian, Ashley is much sought after as a trainer in both Canada and the United States. Among those who work with her are Chris von Martels and Brittany Fraser, team mates on Canada’s 2015 Pan Am silver medal team.

She is highly admired and respected in Europe as well as North America for both her training and competition records in addition to raising her children, Emma and Harry.

Her swearing-in made Ashley the second prominent international rider to become an American citizen this month.

Lars Petersen, an Olympic, World Games and World Cup rider for Denmark who is based in Florida, took the step in early February.