Ashley Holzer (USA) and Havanna 145 strutted to victory in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* at Tryon Spring Dressage 1 CDI 3* presented by Adequan® at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), dancing in tandem to music compiled by Tom Hunt and earning a total score of 77.225%. Jill Irving (CAN) and Arthur, her own 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Jazz x Contango), grabbed reserve honors on a score of 74.075%, while Jessica Jo Tate (USA) and Kynynmont Gunsmoke’s Gideon, 2008 Connemara Cross gelding (Gun Smoke x Kynynmont Tara) owned by Pam Liddell, combined to receive a score of 67.925% and third place.

“I’m thrilled. I’m really over the moon with her,” emphasized Holzer of the 2007 Hanoverian mare (Hochadel x Rodgau) owned by Diane Fellows. “We had a bit of a setback last year, so this is her just sort of coming out of it, and she is really exceeding my expectations. The one little mistake she made was completely my mistake and she was just phenomenal. She kept answering the call and I had some moments even in the warm-up where she’s just bringing it to another level.”

Holzer and Havanna danced to “Havana,” bringing some sauce with the new floor plan. There were several aspects of their performance that Holzer was particularly excited about, she detailed: “I was really hoping in the beginning to just flow with her. Sometimes I get a little aggressive in my forward and it ends up looking a little rushed and hectic, and think she flowed really well through the first half pass and then coming up to the first passage, and I was really thrilled with the way that flowed to the music.”

Holzer continued: “I love the music, and I was sort of laughing to it [“Havana” by Camila Cabello] while I was in there. It’s so her, and I was getting a bit of a chuckle,” she admitted. “It’s funny, because it was really her owner, Dianne Fellows, that truly was responsible for this freestyle. I was a little bit like, ‘Really, Havanna to Havana music? Come on,’ and she really put her foot down and was really the one that got it made. And she’s right – it’s amazing, and it really works! I have to thank her. Without Diane, that music would not be her freestyle.”

Despite a small bobble, Holzer relayed her excitement about the overall improvement she sees in the mare: “I was a little behind the music and then I gunned her a little bit, but the rest was right on. I think it’s a really great feeling when you feel the music and the horse sync so well together,” she said. “But, I really think what was amazing for me is that I feel she has more power, and she’s ramping up with more power, and she’s able to control it instead of getting nervous, and is relaxing with that power. That’s a big step.”

Holzer and team were using this weekend’s CDI competition as a test for bigger steps planned, she elaborated. “We really wanted to see how this show went, and she exceeded our expectations. I’m hoping to go to Europe,” she concluded, “and hopefully it will be our next big step.”

FEI Intermediate I CDI 3* was captured by Jennifer Baumert (USA) aboard Handsome, a 2005 Hanoverian gelding (Hochadelx Weltmeyer) owned by Betsy Juliano, LLC, scoring a total of 74.755%, while reserve honors were awarded to Endel Ots (USA) and Lucky Strike, a 2010 Hanoverian gelding (Lord Laurie x His Highness) owned by Max Ots, for their efforts and resulting score of 72.451%. Rounding out the podium, Pablo Gomez Molina (ESP) and Furst Foriano Ymas, a 2007 Westphalian gelding (Furst Piccolo x Donnerbube I) owned by Yeguda de Ymas S.L., scored 71.765% to collect third.

Canada topped the podium in the FEI Young Rider Individual CDIY NAYC/USEF Qualifier, with Vanessa Creech-Terauds and Fleur de Lis L, a 2009 Hanoverian mare (First Dance x De Niro) owned by Louise Leatherdale, earning a total score of 72.029%. Anna Weniger (USA) and Claudius, a 2010 Hanoverian gelding (Carland x Wilander) owned by Andrew Weniger, scored 66.324% to finish in reserve.

In the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 CDIU25 USEF Qualifier, Naima Moreira Laliberte (CAN) and I Do Kiss, a 2006 Swedish Warmblood stallion (French Kiss x Donnerfly) owned by KML S.A.R.L., scored 71.205% to take first. Camille Carier Bergeron (CAN) aboard Gilles Bergeron’s Acoeur, a 2007 German Sport Horse gelding, received a score of 67.051% to earn second place, while Anna Weniger (USA) collected third aboard Don Derrick, earning a 60.769% with the 2004 Dutch Riding Horse gelding (Don Ruto x Libertino I) owned by Dawn Weniger.

Tryon Spring Dressage 1 CDI 3* concludes tomorrow, Sunday, April 21, and features the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3* at 9:55am in Tryon Stadium. View CDI results and schedules here.

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 Rodgau, owned by Diane Fellows; 76.250%, 78.750%, 75.125%, 77.125%, 78.875%, 77.225%.

2. Jill Irving (CAN), Arthur, 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Jazz x Contango, owned by Jill Irving; 70.500%, 75.875%, 73.375%, 75.250%, 75.375%, 74.075%.

3. Jessica Jo Tate (USA), Kynynmont Gunsmoke’s Gideon, 2008 Connemara Cross gelding by Gun Smoke x Kynynmont Tara, owned by Pam Liddell; 65.875%, 69.000%, 67.000%, 68.500%, 69.250%, 67.925%.