Ashley Holzer & Havanna Win Wellington World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle With 2nd Highest Qualifying Score In North America in 2018

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Ashley Holzer and Havanna riding to victory in heavy rain at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 23, 2018–Ashley Holzer and Havanna won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle in heavy rain Friday night but will skip a chance to go to the Final in Paris in April despite posting the second highest score in a musical performance in North American qualifying.

Ashley, a three-time Olympian for Canada but who now rides for the United States, said she is focused on earning a place on the American squad to go to Europe over the summer for selection of the team for the World Equestrian Games at home in Tryon, North Carolina.

The 54-year-old rider and the 11-year-old Hanoverian mare that have been partnered for only the past year, scored 78.200 per cent for the victory, a personal best in four freestyles that she admitted jokingly she put together by Googling initially for “emotional music” then searching for “emotional uplifting music.”

Video of the ride by Ashley and Havanna can be seen here

“The best thing about tonight was that Havanna came out after a strong performance last night and she again tried her hardest,” said Ashley who is based in New York and Wellington. “Thomas [Baur, AGDF director of sport] saw her a year ago and told me she’d do it–and he was right. She’s a good egg and she tries her hardest; every time I ask her to try harder, she says, ‘OK.’ It’s testament to her incredible upbringing and character.
“I’ve been in this game long enough to be so grateful every time I win,” she added. “We all know you can win one day, and then maybe not the next day. I’m just so excited to be on this mare in such great company.”

Canada’s Brittany Fraser and All In, who train with Ashley as did three other American and Canadian combinations in the class of 12 starting pairs, placed second on 75.850 per cent that is not enough to earn a Paris invitation at this stage.

Brittany Fraser and All In competing in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2018 SusanJStickle.com
The ride by Britanny on the 13-year-old All In was their highest ever freestyle score. Fraser has had the Tango gelding since he was five, climbing the ranks together, and they have been competing at Grand Prix for three years.
“He’s a sensitive horse so you’d think the rain would bother him, but he does not care,” said Britanny, 29, who was riding to music by Joost Peters. “I had a little mistake in the twos, but each time I ride the freestyle I get a higher score, so I’m really happy about that. He’s finally saying, ‘OK, I know my job and I know what to do.’ He’s trying harder and harder.”

Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida rode Doktor in this competition for third place on 73.560 per cent but has the highest result on her other Big Tour horse, Danilo, who is the top of the North American standings.

However, Laura Graves of Geneva, Florida and Verdades have the highest freestyle score, 84.675 per cent, but need another result to clinch one of the two starting spots reserved for North America. The last chance to do that will come next week with the Palm Beach Dressage Derby in Wellington as the wrap-up event for this season of the annual world championship.

Havanna (Hochadel x Rogdau) was bought by Diane Fellows just over a year ago from Jessica and Benjamin Werndl in Germany as a U.S. team prospect for Ashley.

Results:

CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle
E: Clarke-GBR H: Storr-GBR C: Osinski-USA M: Umbach-LUX B: Eisenhardt-GER
Rider Nat. Horse E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. T Pl.
Holzer, Ashley USA Havanna 145 79.750 1 77.875 1 77.250 1 79.375 1 76.750 2 78.200 1
Fraser, Brittany CAN All In 75.625 2 74.875 2 74.000 3 77.250 2 77.500 1 75.850 2
Francis, Shelly USA Doktor 74.375 3 71.925 4 74.500 2 73.500 4 73.500 3 73.560 3
Losos De Muniz, Yvonne DOM Foco Loco W 74.125 4 72.500 3 71.125 5 75.500 3 73.000 4 73.250 4
Rizvi, P.J. USA Breaking Dawn 71.250 5 71.875 5 71.375 4 72.375 5 73.000 4 71.975 5
Lipp, Karen USA Whitney 70.375 6 70.500 6 68.500 6 70.500 6 67.000 7 69.375 6
Lane, Megan CAN Zodiac MW 70.250 7 69.875 7 67.625 7 70.125 7 68.000 6 69.175 7
Hirosh, Sahar Daniel ISR Whitman 67.625 8 66.375 9 65.875 9 69.875 8 65.125 9 66.975 8
Crawford, Eiren CAN Warello 65.125 9 67.125 8 65.125 10 64.875 10 64.375 10 65.325 9
Irving, Jill CAN Arthur 62.500 11 63.625 10 67.250 8 65.875 9 66.875 8 65.225 10
Hill, Debbie USA Cartier 63.500 10 61.625 11 65.125 11 63.500 11 62.375 11 63.225 11
Brooks, Jacqueline CAN D Niro Ret.