Ashley Holzer and Pop Art Back on Top in Grand Prix Freestyle at Blainville
Blainville, Quebec --- Ashley Holzer danced to victory in the 'Musical Freestyle Extravaganza' held Saturday night to close out the CDI3*-W Blainville Dressage International held June 27-30 at the Blainville Equestrian Park located north of Montreal, QC.
Sold-out for the 10th year in a row, the spectacular 'Musical Freestyle Extravaganza' features athletes choreographing required technical movements to the music of their choice. The illusion of horse and rider dancing as one to their selected music is extremely popular as evidenced by the more than 2,500 people who cram into the bleachers and the VIP tents every year.
Photo Credit: TetleyPhoto.com
A Toronto native, Holzer was the first Grand Prix competitor into the ring on Saturday evening and set a standard that none of the other five riders could match. With world-class piaffe and passage, the two most demanding movements at the Grand Prix level, Holzer and Pop Art, her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, were the perfect picture of quality and harmony. The panel of five international judges rewarded them with a score of 77.200%.
"Blainville is my favourite show," said Holzer whose long list of achievements include a Team Bronze Medal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics. "It is great that they build a show just like you would find in Europe. You can bring your family and friends, and they are really treated to a real night of entertainment."
Jacqueline Brooks of Mount Albert, ON, gave Holzer a run for her money with an extremely well-interpreted freestyle to music from the feature film, 'Alexander', that earned high artistic marks. Her score of 75.300% put her solidly in second riding Gran Gesto, a 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Brinc Ltd. and Anne Welch.
Nova Scotia's Cheryl Meisner, 25, rose to the occasion riding Paginini, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Lobster Point Farms. Having spent the winter training and competing in Europe, Meisner and Paginini were animated and active and had interesting choreography to earn a score of 68.700%.
Jackie Brooks and Balmoral Reign in Intermediaire I Freestyle
While Brooks settled for second in the Grand Prix, she was the clear winner in the Intermediaire Freestyle. Brooks had the crowd on its feet at the end of her exciting performance to music from the feature film 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. Brooks was flawless in executing her freestyle programme, which featured a very high degree of difficulty including an elevated, ground-covering extended trot and three tempi's, where the horse changes his lead every three strides, on a 20-meter circle. Her partner is Balmoral, an eight-year-old Canadian-bred gelding. True to her music, Brooks' ride was brave and daring to earn a score of 76.000%.
"I love Blainville, I love that the town comes us out to support us!" said Brooks enthusiastically, who also competed with Balmoral in Blainville last year. "As soon as I come into the arena, I feel like the crowd wants me to do well, and that they are riding every pirouette and every lead change with me."
Canadian Olympian Belinda Trussell, who is showing Grand Marnier, an elegant 10-year-old Hannoverian gelding owned by her husband, Mark Trussell, at the Intermediaire level for the first time this year, placed second with a score of 71.350%. Their performance was harmonious and featured music that was complimentary to the elastic movement of the horse.
Gary Vander Ploeg of King City, ON, took third place with a score of 67.550%. Riding Cezanne, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Vander Ploeg, with his trademark showmanship, gave a classical and artistic presentation.
With the end of the CDI3*-W Blainville Dressage International the focus now turns to show jumping at the Blainville Equestrian Park. The two-week Blainville Jumping International runs from July 4-8 and July 11-15.
CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle - Final Results
Rider Hometown Horse Score
1. Ashley Holzer/ New York, NY/ Pop Art/ 77.200%
2. Jacqueline Brooks/ Mount Albert, ON/ Gran Gesto/ 75.300%
3. Cheryl Meisner/ Blandford, NS/ Paganini/ 68.700%
4. Cindy Ishoy/ Binbrook, ON/ Proton/ 68.050%
5. Tina Busse-Irwin/ Lakefield, ON/ Amicelli 64.550%
6. Nancy MacLachlan/ Terra Cotta, ON/ Ariston 64.400%
CDI-W Intermediaire Freestyle - Final Results
Rider Hometown Horse Score
1. Jacqueline Brooks/ Mount Albert, ON/ Balmoral/ 76.000%
2. Belinda Trussell/ Stouffville, ON/ Grand Marnier/ 71.350%
3. Gary Vander Ploeg/ King City, ON/ Cezanne/ 67.550%
4. Armand Valkenborg/ Hudson, QC/ Seigneur/ 67.150%
5. Liz Steacie/ Brockville, ON/ Mikayla/ 66.700%
6. Chris Sanders/ Port Stanley, ON/ Van Gogh/ 66.000%
6. Rebecca Schoenhardt/ Erin, ON/ Pele/ 66.000%
8. Chris Von Martels/ Ridgetown, ON/ Korenbloem Charmeur/ 64.600%
9. Jaimey Irwin/ Lakefield, ON/ Dover/ 64.550%
10. Ruth Crawford/ Brockville, ON/ Sambuka/ 64.250%
11. Ute Busse/ Breslau, ON/ Lindor's Finest/ 62.550%
12. Lee Tubman/ Smithville, ON/ Tygo B/ 58.750%
13. Alan Young/ Terra Cotta, ON/ Stella/ 55.150%