Canadian Ashley Holzer Off to Great Start at Wellington Dressage

Day one of Wellington Dressage did not disappoint, but despite the excitement of German Team rider, Hubertus Schmidt competing, it was Canada’s Ashley Holzer who dominated on the first day of competition. Holzer won the $1000 FEI Prix St. Georges with her striking 8-year old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Pop Art, who lived up to his name and made the Prix St Georges look like a work of art for a score of 67.250%.

Jason Canton rode Julia Martin’s 9-year-old gelding, Navignon to second place with a score of 66.417%. Canton’s expressive canter extensions were correct and exciting, but Navignon was a tad over eager in the pirouettes, and that left Holzer’s almost flawless ride on top of the leader board.

German team rider, Hubertus Schmidt finished third on Irwin Le Pow’s majestic gelding, Levantus with a 65.500%. A clip of the rail into the extended trot lead to a break into canter and despite a quick recovery followed by a superb extended walk, the pair simply couldn’t make up the difference to secure the win. But spectators were treated to a close-up of superb German riding just the same. Fourth place in this large class also went to Ashley Holzer riding Jornello with a 65.167%. This had to be an especially nice placing for Holzer, as Jornello was out of competition for over 3 years and returned to Wellington in top form.

Ashley Holzer’s winning streak continued in the $1250 FEI Intermediare II, which she won with 67.967% aboard Diane Fellow’s Gambol. This is Gambol’s first season at I-2, but she looked relaxed and confident in every movement. Owner, Diane Fellows, heading back to the barn with an arm full of loot, had this to say, “Ashley is a phenomenal rider and truly loves her horses. She’s a great match for riders who really love their horses.”

Fellows met Ashley when she moved to New York City and met Ashley’s husband Rusty. “Next thing, I was working with Ashley in the Bronx at Riverdale Equestrian Center and really enjoying it. We ride through Van Courtdandt Park. A lot of people don’t realize you can ride right in the city”. Second to Holzer was Dr. Cesar Parra on Leonberg with a 65.203 %, followed closely by Jacqueline Brooks on Gran Gesto and Karin Reid-Offield on Hexagon’s Louisville who tied for third with scores of 65.041%.

In the lower levels, Marco Bernal and the handsome Westphalian stallion, Farewell continued their winning ways scoring an incredible 80.455% in training level test one. Ever humble, Bernal said simply, “He’s a very nice horse.” Obviously the judges agreed.

Another interesting win in the lower levels, was Heather Houck’s win in the First Level Test 1 AA. Houck won the class with a 67.778% aboard her Tacolando Triple R, who she bought online a year and half ago!

Friday will kickoff the not-to-missed Grand Prix classes at Wellington Dressage beginning at 8:00 am.

Johnny Robb for PMG