Pop Art Prevails In Wellington Dressage CDI-W Grand Prix

Feb 3, 2012 - 12:56 PM

Wellington, Fla., Feb. 3

Last weekend, Canada’s Ashley Holzer placed seventh in the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach (Fla.) Grand Prix freestyle with her new mount, Breaking Dawn. But her veteran partner Pop Art was not to be outdone. “Poppy” put in a nearly flawless test today to win the Wellington Dressage CDI-W Grand Prix—the first show held at the new Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Global Dressage Festival facility—on 73.59 percent over Shawna Harding and Come On III (68.59%).

“I think [Pop Art] is a little mad,” said Holzer with a laugh. “He’s like, ‘Hey, I like London. It’s my favorite town. I’m going to go back there.’ ”

Holzer rode Pop Art, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Amsterdam—Jodyprinses, Cabochon) owned by Ian and Moreen Nicoll and Rusty Holzer, in the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.) and the 2008 Olympic Games (Hong Kong). But last year she felt like Poppy wasn’t feeling as sprightly as usual.

“He just wasn’t feeling fresh,” Holzer said. “I took him home and gave him a little bit of a rest, and I’ve been slowly ramping him back up. The horse feels amazing; he feels like a young horse again. I think maybe he just needed the break for a while to regain himself. He seems to be back at the job and happy to do the job.”

With the help of Purina, Holzer switched Poppy’s feed so that he’s getting more energy. She also changed the footing at her home farm, Riverdale Equestrian Center in the Bronx, N.Y., and her training techniques.

“I spoke to Carl Hester, because it’s different when the horses get older,” said Holzer, who took home $1,800 of prize money today for her win. “I said to Carl, ‘What do you do with your older horses?’ He said, ‘I only work them four days a week.’ So we changed it around a little, and we actually shortened the amount we were working him.”

But even though she joked that Poppy is jealous of Breaking Dawn, Holzer said the newer mount has helped her with the older horse. Poppy also won the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at last weekend’s West Palm Beach CDI, held alongside the World Dressage Masters.

“[Breaking Dawn] forces me to really ride forward because he’s such a big mover, and I’ve tended to bring that to my smaller horse a little bit,” she said. “It’s sort of the perfect storm with Poppy—I think I’m riding him better, I think I’m training him better, and I think I’m feeding him better. I think everything we’re doing in terms of his care is up a notch. I think I’m on a better program for where he is in his age right now.”

Harding and Come On III, a 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Come Back II—Canna, Lantaan), had a mistake in the one-tempis during their Grand Prix test. But Harding, Aiken, S.C., has been working with Roel Theunissen and said the horse is getting much better overall.

“He had that bobble, but he’s not doing anything weird,” Harding said. “I think the passage is getting much stronger, and he has the confidence in the piaffe in the ring now. He feels good, and he’s ready to work.”

While she’s aiming Come On for the Olympic trials in Gladstone, N.J., in June, Harding is also interested in a trip to the Netherlands for the Reem Acra FEI Dressage World Cup Finals. 

“If I’m qualified, and if I can get the funding, I’ll definitely be on that plane to go over,” said Harding.

Despite the controversy that the Equestrian Village development has caused, mostly because of the proposed hotel and shopping center, riders seemed thrilled with the dressage facility. 

“I know it’s gotten a lot of controversy in the area, and I’m sad for that,” said Holzer. “For dressage to grow and for North America to be considered world class, we need facilities like this. Right now it’s an incredible facility. It’s going to be even better. I think it can only do good for dressage, for Wellington, and for anyone who wants to compete.”

A technicality involving building permits forced management to move all of the horses from the newly constructed barns to tent stabling for the remainder of the weekend. The riders received new bedding at no cost, and stabling will be free for them the next time they enter another Global Dressage Festival show. 

Results available at the Global Dressage Festival site. See photos from the new facility.

Category: Dressage

Social Bar

Join Mailing List

Shopping Cart

Like Box

Chronicle Headlines

Most Popular

Rider Spotlight

Charity Spotlight

Horse Spotlight

Like Box

Trainer Spotlight

Like Box