Ashley Holzer and Countess Crowned Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider, Pays It Forward to Para Dressage Rider Kelby Barranco

Custom MVR winners Ashley Holzer and Kelby Barranco
Custom MVR winners Ashley Holzer and Kelby Barranco

Aiken, SC – Custom Saddlery’s Most Valuable Rider Award is designed to recognize exceptional performances by exceptional riders, and during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival 3 CDI-W and National show, the MVR Ashley Holzer went above and beyond, both in the arena and out. Her ride on Countess was exeplary, but when presented with her MVR ribbon and saddle pad she decided to instead pay it forward to Paradressage rider and avid volunteer, Kelby Barranco. The Canadian Olympian and World Cup veteran presented Barranco with the saddlepad and signed ribbon in recognition of his community spirit and love of the sport. “Kelby is one of the greatest and most valuable members of our sport,” said Holzer. “I wanted to recognize him for all of the hard work he puts into his riding and into voluneering, and he deserves the award more than anyone.”

“She's one of those great mares,” said Holzer Ashley Holzer of Countess, a new mare Holzer offered to “have a go” on in the Test of Choice Intermediare II.

Praising the 16.2-hand liver chestnut Danish (Don x Compeed x Solos) warmblood as a “goer,” Holzer piloted Countess down center line to a 70.526% finish for reserve honors.

“When you get her attention and balance, she's ready to go. She almost chomps at the bit a little too much.” The 12 year-old mare's youthful exuberance led owner Brittany Fraser to offer Holzer, her trainer, the ride.

“I'm a big proponent of teaching by showing,” said Holzer. “When Brittany asked if I'd like a go on her, I said, sure. She was fabulous!” Countess was imported from Denmark to Canada by Erin Crawford, before finding her way to Fraser and Holzer.

“She's the right fit for Brittany,” her instructor assured. “She's going to set a path as an up-and-coming star.” A Custom Saddlery Most Valuable Rider Award suggests everyone is already hitting their stride as the season begins.

All MVR Award winners receive an embroidered Custom Saddlery saddle pad and at the conclusion of the CDI circuit, join a list of 2014 Custom Saddlery MVR’s automatically entered to win the MVR Grand Prize: a new saddle from the company respected for a quarter of a century as one of the most innovative saddle makers in the dressage world.

This marks the second year that the MVR Award, created by Cary Wallace, Master Saddlefitter for Aiken, SC-based Custom Saddlery, has been with AGDF, and recognizes riders going an extra mile or adding something special to a show through exceptional performance, horsemanship or teamwork.

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival is the world's largest international and national dressage circuit featuring 8 CDIs, including five CDI-Ws, one 4* and one 5*, the only non-championship CDIO Nations' Cup in the Western Hemisphere, as well as weekly U.S. National events now through March 30.

Custom Saddlery is a proud sponsor of Most Valuable Riders throughout their dressage community. For more information on Custom Saddlery visit their website at www.mysaddle.com.




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