Mill Spring, NC - Ashley Holzer (USA) and Havanna 145 rode to their first major international win today in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Adequan® at the Tryon Spring Dressage I CDI 3* hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Holzer and Havanna 145 scored a 73.735% for the win, while Megan Lane (CAN) and San D'Or rode to second place, receiving a 72.660%. P.J. Rizvi (USA) and Breaking Dawn rounded out the top three finishers earning a 71.650%. Competition concludes tomorrow with the final day of international and national dressage at the venue, featuring the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle presented by Adequan®.
Holzer, who is representing the United States for the first time internationally after representing Canada at the highest levels of competition for majority of her career, guided the mare to an impressive win in the George H. Morris Arena. In their Large Tour debut, the pair picked up a seventh place finish in yesterday's FEI Grand Prix presented by Adequan® before returning to finish atop the class today.
"This was the choreography that we used with Dressed In Black, so I know the pattern really well. I changed a few things for her and did change a bit of the music to suit her better," explained Holzer. "I'm very aware of the music and I think the difficult part of the freestyle is the positioning of each movement. You have to have the movements exactly where the music is going to be and I thought that it would be a good introductory routine for us."
The 2007 Hanoverian mare (Hochadel x Rodgau) owned by Diane Fellows, is a new mount for Holzer, as she only arrived to the United States in December 2016. Working on strength and conditioning throughout the winter season, as well as getting to know Havanna 145's personality, Holzer feels that the mare is something incredibly special for the future.
"I was thrilled with today because it felt like she totally understood what I was asking her. I now am seeing that if she understands what I'm asking her to do, she's going to do her best to do it. There's a willingness and trust there that is very promising," she added.
While Havanna 145 had only shown in the Small Tour in Europe before her purchase, Holzer felt confident the mare had the talent and drive necessary to move to Large Tour quickly. Holzer elaborated, "This is our first CDI together and really only one of the first few shows that we've done. Her personality is amazing. She just is one of those horses that only gets better every single day. Every time you see her it's just better."
As for competing internationally as an American for the first time, Holzer said the competition has been emotional, but overall a very positive experience. Noting that Canada and her memories competing as a Canadian will always be held close to her heart, beginning a new chapter in her competition career is an exciting venture and ultimately the right choice.
"I am thrilled. I feel so embraced by the Americans and this program. I'm cantering around and they're cheering for me. It's thrilling for the owners of my horses who now get to see them competing under their own national flag. This country has been amazing to me. I've been here for more than 25 years and I feel American," Holzer said. "Jumping across that threshold was terrifying, but for me personally, I'm thrilled to be competing as an American. It was the right choice that came at the right time."
Competition at the Tryon Spring I CDI 3* presented by Adequan® concludes tomorrow featuring numerous international and national classes, including the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle. To learn more about TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.
FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* presented by Adequan® Results
Place, Rider, Nationality, Horse, Horse Information: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total %
1. Ashley Holzer (USA), Havanna 145, 2007 Hanoverian mare by Hochadel x Riviera x Rodgau, owned by Diane Fellows: 74.575%, 72.125%, 72.375%, 72.500%, 77.100%, 73.735%
2. Megan Lane (CAN), San D'Or, 2006 Westphalian gelding by Sandro Hit x Pavarottie W x Cocktail, owned by Deer Ridge Equestrian: 69.125%, 73.750%, 71.750%, 73.125%, 75.550%, 72.660%
3. P.J. Rizvi (USA), Breaking Dawn, 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Akribori x Eveline x L. Ronald, owned by P.J. Rizvi: 69.875%, 71.625%, 70.125%, 72.625%, 74.000%, 71.650%
4. Katie Poag (USA), Zonnekoning, 2004 Dutch Warmblood stallion by Florett As x Maraba, owned by Katie Poag: 69.125%, 72.375%, 69.500%, 71.375%, 72.125%, 70.900%
5. Arlene "Tuny" Page (USA), Woodstock, 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Havel x Mirania x Contango, owned by Arlene Page: 69.125%, 69.000%, 71.750%, 67.000%, 70.425%, 69.460%
6. Karen Lipp (USA), Whitney, 2005 Hanoverian mare by White Star x Hauptstutbuch Grace x Grand Cru, owned by Kathleen Oldford: 68.750%, 69.875%, 70.500%, 66.000%, 68.950%, 68.815%
7. Ariana Chia (CAN), Teo, 1999 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Democrat x Helga x Uniform, owned by Ariana Chia: 64.875%, 63.625%, 63.125%, 62.625%, 64.425%, 63.735%