For the second week in a row, Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer was the top of the class in CDI competition in Florida. Riding her 2008 Olympic partner, Pop Art, Holzer won both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special at Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge CDI 3*, held January 25–29, in West Palm Beach, FL, USA.

Toronto native Holzer, who currently resides in New York, NY, rode Pop Art (Amsterdam x Cabochon), the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding is owned by her mother, Moreen Nicoll, and her husband Rusty Holzer, to a score of 69.915% in the Grand Prix test on January 26.

“It was wonderful to be back in the competition ring with Pop Art after not showing with him since Europe,” said Holzer, who last competed with Pop Art at the World Dressage Masters Hickstead (UK) in July 2011. “He felt fit and happy. I was thrilled with many parts of his performances, but I was especially happy to feel him so willing and forward.”

In the Grand Prix Special held the following day, Holzer and Pop Art handily won the class with 70.067%. Two other Canadian riders placed in the top five.  In fourth place, with a score of 64.956%, was Evi Strasser of Ste Adele, QC and her 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding Action Tyme, sired by Aktuell. Jacqueline Brooks of Cedar Valley, ON rode D Niro, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Brookhaven Dressage Inc and sired by D-Day, to fifth place in the Grand Prix Special scoring 64.689%.

It was a busy weekend for Holzer, who was also competing Breaking Dawn in the World Dressage Masters CDI5*, which ran concurrently with the CDI3*. Following her fifth place in the Grand Prix on Friday, Jan 26, Holzer rode the bay 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (by Akribori) that she co-owns with P.J. Rizvi to score of 71.325%, placing seventh in the Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday evening. With the gelding being new to Grand Prix, his future shows great promise with Holzer at the reins.

The judging panel for both the World Dressage Masters and the Wellington Classic Sunshine Challenge included Wim Ernes (FEI 5* ¬NED), Stephen Clarke (FEI 5* GBR), Gary Rockwell (FEI 5* USA), Isabelle Judek (FEI 5* FRA),  Lois Yukins (FEI 4* USA), Liselotte Fore (FEI 4* USA), Jayne Ayres (FEI 4* USA), Hans Christian Matthiesen (FEI 4* DEN), Bo Jena (FEI 4* SWE), Natalie Lamping (FEI 4* USA), and Carlos Lopes(FEI 4* POR).