Ottawa, Ontario—Three-time Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer of Toronto, ON, and her 2008 Olympic partner Pop Art finished in fourth place in the Grand Prix test at the $145,000 CDI 5* Exquis World Dressage Masters Thursday. The competition is being held this weekend, February 4–6, 2010, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, in Wellington, FL, USA. Holzer and Pop Art (Amsterdam x Cabochon), a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rusty Holzer and Moreen Nicoll, earned a score of 72.468%. The pair was just 0.085% behind the third place finisher, 2008 Olympic individual silver medalist Isabel Werth of Germany, riding her Olympic mount Satchmo 78 to a score of 72.553%.
Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, ON, and Anton (Antaeus x Melit), a 10-year-old German-bred gelding owned by Robyn Eames, finished in 12th place with a score of 65.404%. Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, ON, and Devon L (De Niro x Wolkenstein II), a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Douglas Leatherdale, rounded out the Canadian entries with a score of 64.085%.
“I was thrilled with Ashley and Pop Art's ride of over 72%. She was very close to Isabel's score and there is still room for even more improvement which is the best thing,” said Robert Dover, Dressage Canada’s Technical/Coach Advisor. “I felt that both Belinda and Diane have made extremely good progress since arriving in Florida and was proud of both of them and their horses today. These combinations are evolving quickly and show great promise to become truly world-class.”
American Steffen Peters and Ravel won the Grand Prix with a score of 76.851%. Second place, with 74.638%, went to the 2008 Olympic individual gold medalist Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands on Salinero.
The top eight pairs are able to choose if they wish to go onto to the Grand Prix Special or Freestyle. Eight will go on to the $42,000 Moorland Grand Prix Special on Saturday afternoon and the other eight will compete in the $84,000 Exquis Grand Prix Freestyle under the lights on Saturday night.
The international judging panel for the CDI5* includes Dr. Wojtek Markowski (FEI O—POL), Gary Rockwell (FEI O—USA), Axel Steiner (FEI O—USA), Victoire Mandl (FEI I—AUT) and Freddy Leyman (FEI I—BEL).
In addition to this competition in Florida, Exquis World Dressage Masters (WDM) CDI5* will also have events in Munich, Germany and Hickstead, England each with €100,000 (US$145,000) in prize money for 2010 and 2011.