Ashley Holzer and Havanna 145. Photos ©SusanJStickle.
Page and Dr. House 2 Victorious in FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*
Mill Spring, NC – April 22, 2017 – Ashley Holzer (USA) and Havanna 145 rode to their first major international win 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%.
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 the FEI Grand Prix presented by Adequan® before returning to finish atop the class.
“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.”
Page and Dr. House 2 Victorious in FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* presented by Adequan®
Arlene “Tuny” Page (USA) and Dr. House 2, a 2005 Oldenburg gelding (Don Schufro x Krack C) owned by Page, secured the win in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* presented by Adequan® with a final score of 68.336%. Ashley Holzer (USA) and Sir Caramello finished in second place on a 66.784%, while Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Tattoo 15 collected third place honors after finishing with a 65.804%.
Dr. House 2 is the newest member of Page’s talented string, accompanying her already confirmed Grand Prix mount, Woodstock. In just their third CDI competition together, Page feels that their relationship and communication skills are vastly improving, making each test more expressive and accurate than the last.
“He was good. He just goes from strength to strength. Every time we bring him out I learn something about him. The most important thing that I’ve learned is that he’s incredibly honest and just wants to please,” commented Page.
Developing strength and stamina is key when perfecting the movements of the Grand Prix test and Page has been committed to helping the flashy gelding find his own confidence in the ring.
“At this stage, you have to have that strength to carry more expression. He’s so honest and does the exercises easily, and now has to develop that power in the ring to really move. Today, I felt many more moments where he took over in a good way. He was telling me where he could give more.”
After a minor mechanical mishap when Page’s helmet chin strap came undone as the pair rode down the centerline, the duo did not let the distraction impact their test and continued on with poise and accuracy.
“I’m sure you saw, as soon as I came up the centerline my chin strap came undone. I was trying to think of where in the test I could manage to secure it back,” she smiled, admitting that while the situation was not ideal, ended up working out with a great result. “I kept reminding myself to keep my head very still. He was a good boy and went along with everything like a veteran.”
Heather Blitz (USA) and Praestemarkens Quatero took their second class of the week in the Small Tour at TIEC, finishing the FEI Intermediaire I presented by Adequan® with a score of 71.211%. Ashley Holzer (USA) guided Radondo to second place after earning a 70.553%, ahead of Christilot Boylen (CAN) and Rockylane, who completed their test with a score of 69.553% for third.
To learn more about TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com.