Ashely Holzer (USA) and Mango Eastwood ©️Susan Stickle.
Wellington, FL – March 14, 2020 – Mango Eastwood bounced his way to victory under Ashley Holzer (USA) in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI3*, presented by Peacock Ridge, in week 10 of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), held at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
The 11-year-old gelding began his CDI grand prix career just a month earlier, and has won five of his six starts under the four-time Olympian for Canada, who now rides for the USA. The pair scored 72.596%, which would have been even higher if not for a big stumble coming from extended trot to passage, which took them a few strides to recover from as Mango found his feet again.
Second went to Jennifer Schrader-Williams (USA) with 71.511% on Millione — a new personal best score for the pair. This was also their best finish of the 2020 season, which has been a successful one for the 17-year-old Millione, who began competing at the level in 2018. Australia’s Kelly Layne finished in third with 69.936% on the 11-year-old Samhitas, by Sir Donnerhall.
Holzer and owner Diane Fellows bought the son of Wynton as a nine-year-old from Spain’s Jordi Domingo and have taken their time training him out of the international spotlight until he was ready. He now projects confidence in the ring.
“I really haven’t had a ton of experience showing him and he’s a little tired with this being the third show in a row, but he really gave it,” said Holzer. “There were moments where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re unbelievable!’ He’s an incredible horse and the mistakes were totally mine; I misjudged the speed in the one-times, but even when I make a mistake he doesn’t throw in the towel or hold it against me, he just comes right back. Once I get all the kinks out, I really think this horse is going to be spectacular.”
Watch Ashely Holzer’s winning test here. Courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.
British judge Stephen Clarke was impressed with the emerging pairing’s talents. “Ashley’s riding is amazing. There were moments of tension but her brilliant riding saved the game,” he said. “The horse has a lot of talent, which she was able to show in spite of those tense moments. The horse has a huge ability and when he’s even more established and relaxed, then we’ll see more elasticity and expression which brings even higher marks.”
Holzer, who is 56 and based in Wellington, Florida, revealed that she models her warm-ups around the World number one, Germany’s Isabell Werth: “I do my Isabell training before I go in. I watch my video from the last time and then I watch Isabell’s best grand prix special and she just sits there looking like she’s doing nothing so I try to do that,” she explained.
She believes that Mango is right up there with the most talented grand prix horses she has ever ridden. She recalled, “I’ve had a lot of luck with a lot of lovely horses; Pop Art was an amazing partner in the ring, but the breeding has moved on and these breeders are making unreal athletes now. Mango is the next level of breeding as far as athleticism goes.”
For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.