50th Washington International Horse Show Welcomes Olympian Ashley Holzer for Dressage Exhibition


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50th Washington International Horse Show Welcomes Olympian Ashley Holzer for Dressage Exhibition

Washington, D.C. – October13, 2008 – The 50th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) is pleased to announce that three-time Olympic dressage rider Ashley Holzer and her 2008 Olympic mount, Pop Art, will perform a dressage exhibition the show, which will be held Oct. 21-26 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Holzer, originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, now lives in New York City with her husband, show jumper Rusty Holzer, and their family. Holzer began her equestrian career riding hunters, then switched to dressage. At 16, she competed at the North American Young Riders Championships. She then started competing internationally and won a team bronze medal for Canada in dressage at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. She competed in two more Olympic Games for her home country, in 2004 (Athens) and 2008 (Hong Kong).

At the 2006, Holzer rode her Olympic mount, Pop Art, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Amsterdam, to the win in the WIHS Dressage Invitational. This year, Holzer will once again ride her top mount in a grand prix freestyle exhibition. She may also reveal new freestyle music for her routine. “It’s a very exciting freestyle. These horses are athletes that can perform, and the freestyle allows me to show what they can do,” she said.

Holzer noted that the WIHS at Verizon Center is “probably one of the best indoor venues.” Holzer will also compete at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto two weeks later in preparation for the 2009 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas.

“I think that it is really very apropos to what we see in Europe for indoor shows,” Holzer said of Washington. “The people are very close to the ring. They’re very involved, motivated, excited about it. When I showed there, it was a thrill because the crowd was so into it. With dressage horses, you’re sort of used to coming in and nobody getting that emotionally involved. At Washington, they really do. That makes it way more fun. It really showcases our sport; that it can be exciting, and it can be fun to watch horses do these brilliant maneuvers to music. Washington has done a great job showcasing that for us.”

Holzer thinks the great crowds at the WIHS will also enjoy watching Pop Art show his talents. “I think that anyone in the equestrian world can appreciate an athlete in any discipline, whether it’s a roper or a Saddlebred or a hunter- whatever it is. I think you can appreciate great horses. I’m honored to be at Washington for sure, and I hope I do a great job,” she commented. “I think just giving some people the opportunity to see dressage to music will open their eyes to the sport, and hopefully they’ll get interested in it.”

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