Olympic Dressage Rider to Give Exhibition at WEF Opening Sunday


Top dressage competitor Ashley Holzer who is seeking to ride in her third Olympic Games will give a musical freestyle exhibition on the opening Sunday of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival at the newly rebuilt Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Holzer, 45, and a mother of two, lives in New York City but rides for Canada.

She will give an exhibition of her musical freestyle in which the horse performs a series of ballet-like movements in the tempo of the music. The format that has been adopted for the Olympics and world championships has become a major focus of high performance dressage competitions.

The dressage exhibition will be held in the International Arena between the Six-Bar Competition and the Speed Derby that are the headliner jumping events on the first of 12 weeks of WEF that will be held in Wellington.

Holzer said that in addition to helping expose her riding discipline to a larger audience she also was excited to compete on the footing installed in the International Arena by Bart Poels of Belgium. Poels is one of the two footing specialists that has created and installed the footing for the Olympic equestrian venue in Hong Kong.

Highlights of Holzer's career include winning the team bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, team gold at the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, team silver at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo and representing Canada at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She is seeking to qualify to ride for Canada at Hong Kong.

She is the highest ranked rider in the World Cup North American League that includes both the United States and Canada. The North American League receives two places in the World Cup Final that will be held in March in The Netherlands.

Ashley Holzer of Canada performing the dressage musical freestyle
at Devon, Penn., last September.
Photo: Ken Braddick-HorseSport USA

The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com


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