Ashley Holzer & Dressed in Black Win Grand Prix at Inaugural Tryon CDI3*
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
MILL SPRING, North Carolina, April 22, 2016–Canada’s four-time Olympian Ashley Holzer competed Dressed in Black for the first time in more than a year Friday to win the Grand Prix at the inaugural CDI3* at the Tryon International Equestrian Center on which tens of millions of dollars are being spent to create one of the world’s most amazing show grounds.
Ashley and Dressed in Black scored 70.320 per cent to top the field of 11 combinations of which seven were Canadians seeking scores to qualify for the country’s two individual starting places at the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Most Canadian pairs except for thew top ranked Belinda Trussell on Anton contending for an Olympic berth competed here following three months of shows over winter at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida.
This was only the fourth Big Tour Grand Prix for Ashley and the 11-year-old Westfalen gelding but their last competition was at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida in March, 2015.
Chris von Martels, the 2015 Pan American Games team silver and individual bronze medalist, placed second on 69.880 per cent that moved the pair up to second place on the unofficial Canadian Olympic rankings compiled by dressage news-com for combinations that have completed the required four Grand Prix and Special tests.
Megan Lane on Caravella was third on 68.580 per cent. The pair earned one of the two Olympic starts for Canada based on rankings within the North American Olympic group that goes to the nation and not the individual,
Ashley, who is based in Wellington and New York City, made it clear she will not push Dressed in Black or Arthur that she also rode in the Grand Prix for sixth place to make a team spot.
“It’s OK to have incredible personal dreams but you need to have realistic goals,” she said.
Dressed in Black achieved a major goal in the Grand Prix, though, by handling what Ashley described as an electric atmosphere in the George H. Morris centerpiece arena that was built to be able to handle top international jumping events.
“We’ve never seen a big ring like this,” she said. “There were not a ton of people but there was a lot of atmosphere. I’m thrilled with the way he handled himself. In fact, he went in there as a team player. It’s the nicest feeling that instead of being scared he was confident and it felt like he was trying his best.”
Chris von Martels said that Divertimento, the 14-year-old Westfalen gelding that was competed until this year by Sweden’s six-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson–Silfvén, said the pair succeeded in riding a clean accurate test.
“We have a new level of confidence, and we will move ahead maintaining the accuracy and add a little more dynamics.”
Both Ashley and Chris plan to compete at the Ottawa CDI3* May 19-22 before heading to Europe.