Ashley Holzer & Breaking Dawn Take Florida Gold Coast World Cup Grand Prix

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Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn in Florida. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 20–Canada’s Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn won the Grand Prix at the Gold Coast Opener World Cup event Friday, but the focus is laser-like on the London Olympics this summer.

Ashley of New York and Wellington rode the 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Akribori x Eveline x L.Ronald) to a score of 71.106 per cent in only their second outing at Grand Prix with Shawna Harding of Aiken, South Carolina, and Come On III second on 69.894 per cent and the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz on Liebling II in their first competition together (see separate story) third on 66.426 per cent.

Breaking Dawn was renamed from Ultiems Flemming for the title of the one of the successful Twilight Saga movie series, by P.J. Rizvi, when she bought the horse. Suhail Rizvi of Greenwich, Connecticut, is a major investor in the entertainment business that includes stakes in the Twilight series.

Ashley and P.J. became friends when the Canadian Olympian took over the New York stables in 1994 where P.J. was boarding her horses.

Breaking Dawn, trained from a youngster by The Netherlands’ Patrick van der Meer, was originally bought for P.J. to ride. Ashley suggested the horse could do the Grand Prix and go to the Olympics.

“Why don’t you try,” was the response from P.J., who trains with Ashley. Ashley became an owner in the horse, whose barn name is “Edward” after one of the central characters in the Breaking Dawn movie, and registration was switched to Canada from the U.S.

The deal is that Edward will be returned to P.J. to ride after the Olympics and, Ashley said, “she will have no problem riding him in the ring. He is an incredible horse and eventually will be an exiting combination for the United States.”

Ashley competed “Edward” at small tour in Florida last winter, but the first Grand Prix competition was at the Royal Winter Fair in Canada last November, which the pair won.

“He’s got a lot of energy,” she said. “For as much energy as he’s got, he’s so good in the head. Sometimes horses who have a lot of energy can be a little psycho. He is a saint. I love him. He is a lovely animal, whether not he becomes a top Grand Prix horse.

“When I ride him. people say ‘push for more.’ I know how hard it is to do a Grand Prix well. He doesn’t know the path yet. He’s got to know what’s expected of him.

“He is so good. If I said, ‘you need to pick up up your legs five times higher’ he would do it. He is such a saintly guy.

“When P.J. gets on him, he goes for her like he goes for me.

“I have to thank Patrick (van der Meer) for that.

“Patrick must have done a great job because he loves people and loves what he does. You can tell he’s had a good upbringing.”

Sjef Janssen, the Dutch team coach and Ashley’s trainer, believes that her 2008 Olympic, 2009 World Cup Final and 2010 World Equestrian Games mount, Pop Art, is the more seasoned and consistent performer and that Breakng Dawn has to prove himself in the competition arena.

Ashley Holzer and Pop Art at the 2008 Olympic Games. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“I have to let go of Poppy,” she said of the 15-year-old KWPN gelding (Amsterdam x Jodyprinses x Cabochon), “and move on. Mentally, I like the challenge of riding a new horse.

“I don’t want Poppy to feel like he’s second fiddle. But I also think this sport likes to see you on something different after a while. They know how it’s going to be Pop Art.

“Don’t tell Poppy, I love him a lot, but I’m enjoying riding Edward. It’s a sensitive subject among my horses.”

Ashley said that she is thinking of nothing “but tomorrow and the Olympics. My only focus is the Olympics. We will build slowly so when he goes down the centerline in London in August he will be the best he can be.”

She said that Breaking Dawn is “an incredible” indoors horse, and showed his comfort in that format when he swept the Toronto competition in November with the crowd clapping their appreciation.The horse wanted to stop for the crowd to be patted.

The World Cup Final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, in mid-April is “probably not in the cards,” although she could be a contender for one of the two invitations reserved for the North American League.

“One of the good things about being older,” said the 48-year-old mother of two, “you can fight the temptation to do everything.

“This is an exciting year with the Olympics. It’s in London.It’s a big deal for everyone. My family is from Scotland.

“I would like to have a personal best at the Olympics… no pressure on myself.”

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