Ashley Holzer & Pop Art Win Florida World Cup Qualifier
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WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 24–Canada’s Ashley Holzer and Pop Art, veterans of Olympic and World Cup competitions, won the Gold Coast Dressage Association’s World Cup qualifying Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night to keep the combination atop of the North American League (NAL) standings.
The score of 76.400 per cent in a field of only six starters–two from the USA, two from Canada, one Dane and one Colombian–gave them an average of 76.125 per cent after two competitions. Three scores are required in the NAL.
Ashley said that even if she qualifies for one of the two places reserved for North America she will skip the Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, at the end of March and instead concentrate on preparations for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in September.
Reigning World Cup Champion Steffen Peters of San Diego, California, has said that he and Ravel will also skip the World Cup Final to focus on the WEG.
Denmark’s Mikala Munter Gundersen, who is based fulltime in Wellington, Florida, placed second with the Horses Unlimited Leonberg on 71.800 per cent with the USA’s Melissa Taylor, of Wellington, on Schumacker Solyst third with 66.550 per cent.
In the Grand Prix Special, Canadian combinations filled the top two places–Belinda Trussel and Anton placed first with 68.292 per cent and Victoria Winter and Proton second with 67.250 per cent. The USA’s Todd Flettrich of Coatesville, Pennsylavnia and Otto were third with 66.958 per cent.
Although the number of CDIs in which most competitors can participate has been cut sharply — in the Florida winter circuit alone the number has been reduced to four from six a year ago–most riders admitted they were unprepared for this opening event.
And it was reflected in the mediocre scores for most combinations.
Lauren Sammis on Sagacious HF said she had not competed the horse since last September. Mikala Gundersen said the same applied to her and Leonberg.
A warmup national competition at the same facility that has a single covered arena–there are no walls to enclose it–and the other arenas are outdoors two weeks saw substantial withdrawals in weather conditions freakish for South Florida–temperatures were close to freezing, winds gusting and there was heavy rain. Some who did compete suffered ill effects on their health that proved counter productive.
Grand Prix Freestyle Results
Grand Prix Special