Just Four Days Before Valentine’s Day Ashley Holzer Sweeps Global Dressage Festival CDI3* Small Tour on Valentine, Gift From Husband

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Ashley Holzer and Valentine completing the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI3* Small Tour hat trick. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com


WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 10, 2019–Ashley Holzer swept the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI3* Small Rour with a victory on Valentine in the Intermediate 1 Freestyle Sunday, just four days before the celebration for which the horse was re-named to honor the gift from her husband.

Their first musical performance together using music that Ashley had competed Pop Art to 14 years ago because she hadn’t yet had one made for Valentine earned the American team partnership of Ashley and the nine-year-old Oldenburg mare a score of 76.917 per cent. The win gave the four-time Olympian for Canada before switching to compete for the U.S. an undefeated string of seven victories since starting CDIs this year.

It was enough to squeak by Tina Irwin on Laurencio that were were awarded 76.750 per cent and to make the pair a leading contender for Canada’s Pan American Games which will decide whether the nation’s dressage team gets a start at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Netherlands’ Leida Collins-Streijk on Fellini was third on 72.833 per cent.

The 55-year-old Ashley who is based full-time in Wellington said after the ride, the last of the day: “I think my mare had a very tricky warm-up. She was so tense in the warm-up because she’s never done a freestyle before with the music. We actually had to run and grab a bonnet because she was unfortunately upset by the noise.

“What is amazing to me is that I trot off, and right away she is looking, she’s attentive, but she’s so trying her very hardest. When I’m in that trot tour I feel like I’m floating. She floats through the trot tour without hardly any aid whatsoever. So I think for me, sort of feeling a horse dance underneath you like that so easily, that’s a thrill no matter what class you’re in.”

She made a last-minute change to her music and choreography, and luckily her student Brittany Fraser had kept the freestyle from 2005 that Ashley rode to on Pop Art that went to become her 2008 Olympic mount, one of the four Games she competed on the Canadian team before switching to ride for the United States.

“I had a bit of a different pattern with different music,” she said, “which we realized was too bold. So luckily Brittany is quite a hoarder, and she actually found my Pop Art small tour freestyle and brought it. It’s got a nice flowing trot tour, and I rode Poppy’s freestyle!”

Ashley doesn’t plan to compete Valentine again until March by which time she intends for the horse to have hwer own freestyle.

She plans to take Valentine to compete in Europe this summer–she intends to go with her Grand Prix mounts–and is not eyeing a spot on the U.S. team for the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, being staged one week after the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in Aachen, Germany in July.

The mare (Sir Donnerhall x Ragazzo) was a Valentine’s Day gift as a four-year-old from her husband, Rusty, and re-named the horse from FN Sensation.


CDI3* Intermediate I Freestyle
Judges: Stephen Clarke Janet Lee Foy Claudia Thaler
Pl. Score Nation Athlete Horse H C B
1. 76.917 USA Ashley Holzer Valentine 78.250 76.750 75.750
2. 76.750 CAN Tina Irwin Laurencio 80.625 76.000 73.625
3. 72.833 NED Leida Collins – Strijk Fellini 73.500 73.125 71.875
4. 72.375 CAN Belinda Trussell Carlucci 74.625 71.750 70.750
5. 70.750 GER Michael Klimke Harmony’s Sanrino Rhp 71.625 72.375 68.250
6. 70.333 USA Leif Aho Classy Sinclair 71.500 68.750 70.750
7. 70.167 USA Yvonne De Haan Winter 73.500 67.500 69.500
7. 70.167 CAN Lindsay Kellock Floratina 68.875 72.125 69.500
9. 68.333 USA Endel Ots Lucky Strike 69.875 68.000 67.125
10. 67.250 COL Marco Bernal Germany 70.750 64.875 66.125
10. 67.250 CAN Alison Famiglietti Let’s Dance 65.250 69.000 67.500
12. 65.917 MEX Monica Burssens Elfentanz 63.500 68.125 66.125
13. 64.167 MEX Carlos Maldonado Lara Massimo 63.000 65.375 64.125
SCR CAN David Marcus Aron