Mill Spring, N.C. – April 22, 2016 – Ashley Holzer (CAN) and Dressed In Black took home a historic win in the first ever FEI Grand Prix CDI3* presented by Adequan at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Holzer and Dressed In Black earned a 70.32 percent for the win, while Chris von Martels (CAN) and Divertimento received a 69.88 percent for second place. Megan Lane (CAN) and Caravella rounded out the top three with a 68.58 percent to complete a Canadian sweep.
Holzer and Dressed In Black, an 11-year-old Westphalian stallion owned by Holzer along with Dr. Diane Fellows, made a strong return to CDI competition. The pair only contested a few national shows at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) this past season, and Holzer was pleased with their performance at Tryon. The talented stallion has been brought along carefully under Holzer’s watchful eye, and she is beginning to see the hard work pay off as the pair continues to display confidence in the ring.
“This is the first CDI for us in a long time,” Holzer said. ” I have to thank AGDF because those shows gave me the opportunity to compete a few times nationally and get him settled in the ring a bit. It’s different when you haven’t done a CDI in a while because you’re a bit rusty.”
Holzer and many of her students traveled to TIEC on their way up from Wellington, Florida, after concluding the winter circuit. Arriving early on Monday of this past week, she explained that the extra time spent at the facility was well utilized, as it helped Dressed In Black become accustomed to the ambiance of the venue.
“It was great that I had a few days here to get him in the ring,” she noted. “He’s never seen a big ring like this before, and there is a lot of atmosphere. I’m thrilled with the way he handled himself in there. The fact that he went in and felt like a teammate and a player was incredible. I was not pushing for a big test on him this time out. I wanted to go in and not over face him with the ring, and I think that to me, as a rider, that is the nicest feeling. Instead of them feeling scared and nervous, they’re confident and trying their best for you.”
While in Florida for the winter circuit, Holzer focused on fitness and increasing strength with Dressed In Black. She explained, “We really worked on fitness. When you go in and do a Grand Prix, it is one thing; when you go in and do a Grand Prix where they need to put more effort in, that’s a lot. We’ve been focusing on mostly getting him to a place where he’s comfortable and fit.”
Holzer’s student, Chris von Martels, followed her in the standings, placing second aboard Divertimento, owned by Lövsta Stuteri. Von Martels took over the ride on Divertimento this past winter, and the pair has continued to grow their relationship with each other as they gain more competition experience.
“I was pleased with the entire test today. Again, like Ashley said, it’s a very electric atmosphere in there and it’s just a huge stadium,” Von Martels commented. “I was mostly happy that, even though it is still a relatively new relationship, it seems that with each show we’re becoming more comfortable with each other and are starting to know what to expect.”
He continued, “Our goal today was to ride a clean and accurate test, and we were able to do so. That brings us both to a new level of confidence. Looking forward, we’ll look to maintain that accuracy within the test and add a little bit more of a dynamic element.”
Divertimento is typically a hot horse who can be reactive to sound in the arena, but his trust in von Martels is evident and the pair handled the atmosphere of the George Morris Arena with ease.
“I really believe the horses who tend to be hotter in the ring, when you earn their trust and confidence, they’re the ones who try the hardest for you,” he said. “Maybe it takes a little bit longer and it can be a bit challenging, but I really love this horse, and I think he’s fantastic. I’m thrilled that we were able to work this out with his owners, and I know that when you really win over his heart he’ll give you everything he has.”
Megan Lane (CAN) was also very pleased with her own Caravella, as she felt the pair executed the fluidity and workmanship they had been working towards throughout the winter circuit. Lane explained that the test was a major stepping stone regarding the inclusion of improvements she would like to see consistently in the ring.
“She felt relaxed and I was really happy with the test,” Lane said. “She did everything that I’ve asked of her. We’ve been working a lot on the animation and cadence within the test. I wanted to hit that next level of brilliance, but also keep the relaxation too.”
She added, “That’s why I was so happy with her today, because that was what exactly happened in the ring. It felt like a breakthrough ride, and no matter the score, it just felt different. It was one of those performances for me where I rode out of the ring and knew we had accomplished something great.”
All three riders made the journey from Wellington, Florida, to TIEC to contest the inaugural CDI3* presented by Adequan® and each individually voiced their opinions on the expanding venue and what the facility means for equestrian sport as a whole.
“Honestly, wow. I was dumbfounded when I first came here and drove up to this facility,” Holzer said. “This is an amazing thing. We are so lucky to have the support of individuals who back and sponsor such a great horse show. It takes a vision and it’s very easy to say you want to act on that vision. This is going to grow the sport in unbelievable ways.”
Emily Miles (USA) and Floretienne, owned by Leslie Waterman, topped the Prix St. Georges, presented by Adequan, with a score of 69.316 percent, while Lindsay Kellock (CAN) and Royal Prinz, owned by Teresa Simmons earned second place with a 67.789 percent. Miles also finished in third place aboard Sir Sherlock, also owned by Leslie Waterman, receiving a 66.316 percent.
Results: Tryon CDI3*
Grand Prix CDI3* presented by Adequan
1. Ashley Holzer/CAN/Dressed In Black/Ashley Holzer and Dr. Diane Fellows/70.320%
2. Chris Von Martels/CAN/Divertimento/Lövsta Stuteri/69.880%
3. Megan Lane/CAN/Caravella/Megan Lane/68.580%
4. Karen Pavicic/CAN/Don Daiquiri/Jayne Essig and Karen Pavicic/68.000%
5. Brittany Fraser/CAN/All In/Brittany Fraser and Marc-Andre Beaulieu/67.620%
6. Ashley Holzer/CAN/Arthur/Windhaven/65.100%
7. Katie Poag/USA/ Zonnekoning/Katie Poag/65.000%
8. James Koford/USA/Rhett/Shirley McQuillan/62.682%
Prix St. Georges CDI3* presented by Adequan
1. Emily Miles/USA/Floretienne/Leslie Waterman/69.316%
2. Lindsay Kellock/CAN/Royal Prinz/Teresa Simmons/67.789%
3. Emily Miles/USA/Sir Sherlock/Leslie Waterman/66.316%
4. Jessica Jo Tate/USA/Kynynmont Gunsmoke’s Gideon/Pamela Liddell/66.079%
5. Caroline Adams/USA/Uniek/Carolina Adams/60.632%
6. Danielle Vitosh/USA/Sandro Simian/Danielle Vitosh/58.412%