Ashley Holzer & Sir Caramello Win Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix Special for 1st Big Tour Victory
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WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 3, 2018–Ashley Holzer and Sir Caramello claimed their first victory in winning the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI3* Grand Prix Special Saturday in only their fourth Big Tour start.
Ashley, based in New York in summer and Wellington in winter, and the 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding scored 70.149 per cent, the first score of at least 70 per cent for the three-time Canadian Olympian who now rides for the United States.
Katherine Bateson Chandler of Wellington and Alcazar were second on 69.979 per cent with Canadian Olympic rider Megan Lane on Zodiac MW third on 67.915 per cent.
“I’m speechless,” Ashley said of the victory. “This horse has been on the most incredible journey. Never in a million years did I think he’d win. I thought we might do a 65 per cent test. But I’ve just watched the video back and some of the things he did in that test were unbelievable. And he whinnied at me for this first time in his life this week; I’m feeling very emotional about it.”
She described him as “a power machine… challenging to bring on.”
“It’s been hard for him to balance his huge gaits and then close up again for the collected work,” she said. “That’s taken a long time to develop. I also got some last-minute advice from Robert Dover and Carl Hester yesterday–about taking my time in the corners, and not worrying about him being too ‘up’ in the frame.”
Sir Caramello, owned by P.J. Rizvi of Peacock Ridge that was also the sponsor of the class, was first competed at national small tour in 2015 and moved up to Big Tour 11 months ago.
PJ, who owned Breaking Dawn that Ashley rode for Canada in the 2012 Olympics, has “been behind him 100 per cent of the time and, believe me, we’ve had some major lows with convincing him that everything would be okay,” Ashley said. “This win is testament to the importance of having a supportive owner who understands these things — so it was fitting she was the sponsor of the class.”