2006 Gold Coast Opener Festival CDI***

Ashley Holzer and Imperioso Win First Grand Prix CDI of 2006

Starting off the morning with a win in the Grand Prix division of the CDI of the 2006 Gold Coast Opener Festival, at Equestrian Estates, Loxahatchee, Florida, was Ashley Holzer aboard her DWB stallion (x Cocktail) and 2004 Olympic partner, Imperioso. They danced their way to an easy victory with a 70.167%. The two have been a dynamic team for four years now and keep getting better and better. “The exciting thing about by horse,” commented Ashley, “is the older and more mature he gets, the better he gets.” Holzer who competed with Imperioso in the 2002 World Equestrian Games for Canada, and the 2004 Athens Olympics, are strong contenders for the Canadian 2006 FEI World Games at Aachen.

Sliding into the second place slot for the day was Columbian native Dr. Cesar Parra aboard the 12 year old Selles Francais stallion, Galant du Serein (x Apache D’Adriers) owned by Horses Unlimited. The pair’s ride was quite accurate and skillfully ridden, scoring a 68.750%.

Close behind them was Jan Brons aboard Fernando, his 18 year old Danish Warmblood gelding ( x Fruhling) and Ashley Holzer on her other Grand Prix mount, Diane Fellow’s Gambol, the 12 year old black Dutch Warmblood stallion ( x Gabor) who tied with 68.709%. Brons won the tie to take home third place for the day. With a barn full of loyal clients in his Wellington winter location, Brons owns his own two Grand Prix mounts, Fernando, Jourdan. Brons rode three Grand Tests on Friday, on Fernando, Jourdan, and Focus. Jan admits it is Fernando who holds a special place in his heart. “I have not showed Fernando since Kentucky (MSEDA September 2005). said Brons. “He was the first to go this morning at 7:55, and he was there for me. That’s my horse!”

2006 Gold Coast Opener Festival CDI***

Patrick Burssens Has a Dark Secret

There was no denying the incredible talent and potential of Patrick Burssens’ new super star mount, Dark Secret, the black 8 year old Dutch Warmblood stallion (x Flemingh) owned by Mary Anne McPhail. Patrick debuted the horse is the Prix St. Georges Open class yesterday in the open division of the horse show and took it by storm. The horse’s huge half passes, powerful trot and elasticity within all three gaits earned the pair a 69.000%. Patrick did a super job of riding all of the movements with correctness and extravagance at the same time. . “This is his first horse show, and I am quite proud of the way he handled himself this weekend. He is a very nice horse and I am pleased with his progress and showmanship.”

Patrick has had Dark Secret since he was a young horse and has brought him along with the help of some of the world’s finest trainers. As an 8 year old horse, Dark Secret is showing all of the talent to be one of the world’s brightest prospects. The pair has made it clear that this is only the beginning of what we can expect to see from these two in the future.

2006 Gold Coast Opener Festival CDI***

Holzer and Pop Art Dominate the Prix St Georges/Intermediare 1

Ashley Holzer has added two more blue ribbons to her belt with the win of the Prix St. Georges CDI*** on Friday with an unstoppable 71.900% and came back again today to win the Intermediare 1 CDI*** with an equally cool 71.900%. Last year, Ashley and Pop Art were ranked second in the USDF Horse of the Year at the PSG level after an outstanding year of competition to earn them an average of 70.55% and ranked seventh at the Intermediare 1 level with a year end average of 69.667%. “I knew I had some mistakes here and there in the PSG, but overall I was very happy with the ride and I just love this horse so much! He has really come along nicely and is working all of the Grand Prix movements." Ashley's plan is to show him PSG and I-1 in Florida and then take him out at the Grand Prix when we return to Canada.

Taking second in the class was Chris Hickey riding the always impressive Regent, an 8 year old DWB gelding (x Flemingh) owned by Brenna Kuginski to a 69.550%. Third in the class went to Mirja Block aboard Prince Charming, her father, Kurt Block’s 9 year old Hannoverian gelding (x Perpignon) with a 67.200%.

2006 Gold Coast Opener Festival CDI***

Danielle Gallagher Ashley Holzer's Working Student get their Day in the Sun

Ashley Hozer's longtime working student, Danielle Gallagher also had an incredible day aboard Ashley’s “Jornello”, a 15 year old DWB gelding (x Stomello) in the Prix St. Georges Amateur class. Earning a 67.625%, the pair easily won the class. "She rode an absolutely clean test." exclaimed and excited Holzer. "I am so proud of her!" Go team Holzer! Second in the class was Robin Shehan aboard Marsaelis, her 16 year old DanWB gelding (x Mago XX) with a 64.750%.

26 year old Danielle Gallagher was bubbling with excitement when asked about her experience working for Ashley. Danielle has working for Ashley for four years now and hopes to be with her for a long time. Her mother worked with Ashley 12 years ago when Danielle was an avid 3-day event rider and initiated the partnership between the two women in Jerez, Spain. Prior to this amazing opportunity, Danielle was working for Canadian jumper, Eric Lamaze in Canada.

Danielle is now the barn manager for Ashley’s top horses and travels around the world with her. “Ashley is such an amazing rider! Just to be with her everyday is such a huge privilege. I just feel so grateful for such an awesome opportunity.

My ultimate dream is to go as far as I can go with my riding, and if anybody’s going to get me there, it’s Ashley!”

Danielle hopes to complete a successful season in the Prix St. Georges on Ashley’s Jornello and has hopes of competing in a CDI by the end of season.

The Ashley Holzer Show at The Gold Coast Opener

There is no denying that "Team Holzer" dominated the vast majority of the FEI classes here at Equestrian Estates this weekend. Every class that Ashley entered she won and her students are keeping with the trend as well. There is no doubt that Ashley’s training methods work, but what is most impressive is that they work for all horses at all stages of their development. Holzer, a mother of two, has a full range of horses from very young horses to elite Grand Prix horses included in her 14 horse full time program, and all are quite successful at their levels. Ashley has worked extensively with the unparalleled world champion, Anky Van Grunsven in the past and has taken that knowledge and understanding into her own training methods.

More prevalent than her success, however, is her positive attitude and demeanor. Always smiling and upbeat, she is consistently kind and humble - a favorite of horse show organizer and show secretaries. In the saddle, she appears thoroughly relaxed and confident in her horses. It is easy to see she truly enjoys her horses and has a great relationship with them. Her horses are seem to be happy to do their jobs and consistently look awesome with shiny coats and proper muscling.

Ashley and Pop Art easily won the Intermediare 1 Freestyle with an outstanding 74.675%. The ride was in total harmony with her music, which included the theme song from the soundtrack to the popular horse movie, Spirit. Everything flowed together so perfectly and the transitions within the music were blended very well. Pop Art is truely a horse for the future Canadian team!

It is always exciting to watch such talented horses moving up the world ladder right in our back yard. Behind Ashley was another beautiful ride ridden by Mirja Block aboard her father’s Prince Charming (x Perpignon) with 70.950%. Third place went to Chris Hickey and Rachel Ehrlich’s Werbellin (x Weltmeyer) with a 67.225%.

2006 Gold Coast Opener Festival CDI***

Freestyle Day - Top Five Grand Prix Placings in the 70%

On Sunday, Ashley Holzer and her 16 year old DWB stallion, Imperioso (x Cocktail) again won the Grand Prix Freestyle with ease and elegance scoring a crowd gasping 76.375%. Judges were in complete agreement of who they felt the winner was with two judges scoring the ride above 78%. Imperioso showed true submission and relaxation as he left the ring calmly walking on a long rein as the crowd cheered and whistled.

Second place went to Columbia’s consistently competitive and always delightful Dr. Cesar Parra aboard Horses Unlimited’s 12 year old Selles Francais stallion, Galant du Serein (x Apache D’Adriers) with a 73.725%. Parra and Galant danced to the Latino beats of Shakira and Enrique Iglesias, quite fitting to his South American heritage. Displaying his trademark humble attitude, Parra left the ring smiling graciously to the approving crowd.

Third through fifth places were extremely close (within 4/10 of one percentage point) all scoring above 70%. Third place for the day, and top American score, went to California native Charlotte Bredahl Baker and the 12 year old KWPN gelding, Komo (x G Romiro Z) owned by Kathy Paulich with a 71.775% for their Olympic theme song based kur. Fourth place went to Canadian Evi Strasser aboard her 11 year old chestnut Oldenburg gelding, Quantum Tyme (x Quattre) scoring a 71.500% for their fun and upbeat freestyle.

An equally beautiful and brilliant ride was fifth place winner in the class, Arlene “Tuny” Paige and her athletic 10 year young Hannoverian Grand Prix horse, Wild One (x Wanderer). After proving herself as an internationally competitive Grand Prix rider aboard her famous mare, Claire, Tuny is back again to prove quality repeats itself. The duo received a well-deserved 71.325% for their performance.

HorsesDaily 'On the Scene' at the 2006 Gold Coast Festival with Stacy Gormley - Complete results