Devon, Penn. – Ashley Holzer and Pop Art showed they’ve still got plenty of energy after their long journey to Hong Kong and back. The pair took the win in Friday’s FEI Grand Prix for the Freestyle with a score of 70.708. Right behind them was Lars Petersen riding Succes with a score of 69.00.
Placing third was Holzer’s Olympic teammate Jacqueline Brooks with Gran Gesto and a score of 65.958.
Photo Credit: Sophie Ghedin
After her Olympic competition, Holzer wasn’t sure she’d make the trip to Devon, but her husband, Rusty, talked her into going. “I wasn’t going to come to Devon, but my husband said it was so close and how often can you travel only two hours from home and get to ride before World Cup judges.” Holzer made it clear that she and Pop Art are aiming to represent Canada at the 2009 World Cup competition in Las Vegas.
"I want to go to Las Vegas,” she said. Vegas is, she said, the closest thing the U.S. has to Aachen. “Aachen is unbelievable, but you can’t recreate Aachen in America, it doesn’t work. But the World Cup Finals do work. Everyone in Europe talks about Las Vegas.”
Holzer was thrilled with her Devon win, not just because she’s wanting to collect World Cup points, but also because it proved that Pop Art, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, returned home from Hong Kong in top form despite the long journey. “I’m so glad to have a healthy, happy horse back home after traveling that far. I’m thrilled he’s home and it’s great to come to Devon just four weeks after the Olympics and have him so fresh.”
Holzer loves competing at Devon and so too, she said, does Pop Art. The competition ring in Hong Kong was out in a field and seemed rather isolated from competitors. In contrast, Devon is always an exciting venue for both her and Pop Art. “He always finds this ring very exciting. It has a great atmosphere.” He came in a bit over excited, but settled once he got going. Holzer is hoping for the same success in Saturday’s popular Grand Prix Freestyle. “I feel very positive. I love my freestyle (created by Karen Robinson). The ending is slightly different – more technically difficult,” she said of the freestyle she plans to ride Saturday night.
Despite the challenge of traveling half way around the world to compete in the Olympics, Holzer said she really enjoyed her time in China. She spent 10 days traveling the country with her family after the Olympics, including going to the closing ceremonies in Beijing and walking on the Great Wall of China.
"I loved traveling around China,” she said. “It was really incredible and the Chinese people were so hospitable and welcoming every where we went. It was great. I think every Chinese person wanted pictures with my kids. “
Taking the win in the FEI Grand Prix for the Special was Diane Creech riding Wiona with a score of 64.167 percent. Second in that competition was Susan Dutta riding Golden Choice DC to a score of 62.417. Third was Melissa Taylor with Schumacker Solyst and a score of 61.792.
More than 40 entries made for a huge Prix St. Georges competition and coming out on top was Courtney King-Dye riding Jubilant to a score of 68.667 percent. Right behind them in second place was Christopher Hickey with Bugatti Hilltop and a score of 68.50. Third went to Tom Dvorak riding Corrigan and with a score of 66.083.