Canada’s Ashley Holzer & Pop Art Win Wellington CDI3* Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 16–Ashley Holzer and her Olympic veteran Pop Art won the Wellington Dressage Classic CDI3* Grand Prix Friday, on a day when some newer partnerships were not ready for prime time.
Ashley and the 15-year-old KWPN gelding (Amsterdam x Jodyprinses x Cabochon) that she rode for the Canadian team at the 2008 Olympics, scored 71.447 per cent to come out on top of the 31 starting combinations at the new Global Dressage Festival showgrounds.
Tina Konyot and Calecto V, the 14-year-old Danish stallion (Come Back II x Bahera x Rastell) that she rode for the U.S. team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, was the unlucky first ride of the day due to the open draw but her score of 70.191 per cent held up to every challenge except for the Canadian couple.
Heather Blitz and Paragon, the nine-year-old U.S.-bred Danish Warmblood gelding (Don Schufro x Pari Lord x Loran) that won team gold and individual silver at the Pan American Games at small tour six months ago, scored 70.128 per cent for third place in their rookie season at Grand Prix.
Ashley and Breaking Dawn, the 11-year-old KWPN gelding (Akribori x Eveline x L.Ronald) previously named Ultiems Flemming that she is competing in only her fifth show, finished fourth on a score of 69.745 per cent. The ride went from the horse feeling uncomfortable part way through to recover to perform “like a rock star” in the second half.
Poppy, as she calls Pop Art, continues to amaze her, Ashley said, “the horse of a lifetime.”
“It is such a great feeling to have an old horse that keeps putting out for me,” she said, “and a young horse that was trying his best to impress the heck out of me.”
Tina’s first ride at the new show grounds that she described as “spectacular,” showed a horse that was back to top form after tying up during the World Dressage Masters six weeks ago.
She was, however, disappointed to have to go first in the class. She lives in Palm City, Florida, an hour from the show grounds.
She prefers the draw according to rankings as riders have earned that place in the sport and, she believes, and it is better from a show perspective for the top combinations to go in the final groups. The same issue will arise at this year’s World Cup Final next month when the order of go in the Grand Prix will be determined by an open draw and those results will determine the starting order for the Grand Prix Freestyle.
The experience of Ashley and Tina and their mounts was not matched by all combinations in the Grand Prix.
Van the Man, the 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Obelisk x Lady x Landjunker), was competing for the first time since the horse was bought as an Olympic prospect for Cesar Parra, the native Colombian who now rides for the United Sates.
The horse was ridden by Dorothee Schneider of Germany at Grand Prix and the Special at Fritzens, Austria, and Verden, Germany, for scores ranging from 67 to 72 per cent.
On Friday, however, Van the Man was extremely tense and resistant in the transition from walk to passage.
The pair finished with a score of 63.170 per cent.
Complete Grand Prix results: