Blainville, Quebec  – In her final competitive appearance before the equestrian events at the 2008 Olympic Games, Ashley Holzer showed the Canadian audience what she hopes to demonstrate to the Olympic judges in Hong Kong this August. Riding to music from Disney’s Millennium Celebration and the film National Treasure, she and Pop Art delivered a world class FEI Grand Prix freestyle performance that received 77.150%, the highest score in three days of competition at the CDI-W Blainville Summer Classic.

Pop Art, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Amsterdam owned by Ian and Moreen Nicoll and Rusty Holzer, received scores of nine from several of the five FEI judges for his piaffe and transitions between piaffe and passage. Holzer said that competing at Blainville, which is just north of Montreal, QC, was more valuable for her own Olympic preparations than for Pop Art.

“Honestly, I think this was not so important for my horse, but it was important for me. No matter how experienced you are, it makes a difference if you compete more often,” said Holzer, a Toronto native who lives in New York City. She also took the measure of Pop Art’s readiness in the final weeks before the Olympics, noting, “He’s feeling very fit and happy. He’s in a good place eight weeks out.”

Finishing second in the Grand Prix Freestyle was another member of Canada’s three-member 2008 Olympic dressage team, Jacqueline Brooks of Mount Albert, ON, riding Gran Gesto. She and the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Grannox, owned by Brinc Ltd. and Anne Welch, performed their well-known program featuring the music from the film Alexander. One of the highlights of Brooks’ difficult choreography is a twenty meter circle with one tempi changes, a movement for which Gran Gesto was rewarded with high marks.

Making her Grand Prix Freestyle debut with Wunder Ein, Simone Williams of Navan, ON, received 66.050% and third place for her Latin-inspired freestyle. Fourth place went to Chris Von Martels of Ridgetown, ON, riding Hesperos for 65.900%.

The final class in a full day of FEI freestyles, the Intermediaire Freestyle was delayed by a severe thunderstorm. After the lightning and rain had diminished, Belinda Trussell of Stouffville, ON and Anton took top honours in the field of 14 with 71.000%. Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, ON, and Devon L slipped from first place the previous day to finish as the runner-up with 69.650%. Gillian Sutherland of Unionville, ON, was third on Great Tyme after scoring 69.100% for her ride.

Two young riders made it three-for-three this weekend by winning their freestyles: FEI Junior rider Alexandra Dvorak of Hillsburgh, ON, and FEI Pony rider Vivian Cornell from Kingtson, ON. Dvorak and Fling danced to their top score of the week with a score of 68.700%, as did Cornell and Daylight, with 67.250%. Danielle McKinnon of Aurora, ON, won her second class in as many days, taking the FEI Young Rider Freestyle on Noma Tender with 66.400%.

A two-day pause separates the two back-to-back World Cup Qualifying CDI and Equine Canada national competitions taking place at the Blainville Equestrian Park north of Montreal, QC. The national competition of the Blainville International Classic begins on Tuesday, June 24, while the CDI-W gets underway on Thursday, June 26. The grand finale of two weeks of dressage will be a Freestyle Gala and Dinner beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 28. Tickets for the Freestyle Gala can be purchased by contacting Karin Ouellette at (450) 434-5261 or

CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle – Final Results

Rider – Hometown – Horse – Score

1. Ashley Holzer – New York, NY – Pop Art – 77.150%

2. Jacqueline Brooks – Mount Albert, ON – Gran Gesto – 71.800%

3. Simone Williams – Navan, ON – Wunder Ein – 66.050%

4. Chris Von Martels – Ridgetown, ON – Hesperso – 65.900%

Scoring for CDI-W Blainville and Equine Canada National Competitions is provided by Devonwood Competition Services. Results are available at Information on CDI-W Blainville can be found on