Canadian Olympic dressage rider Ashley Holzer has ended her competitive partnership with Pop Art.
Holzer and the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Amsterdam—Jodyprinses, Cabochon) competed for the last time together on Nov. 8 at Toronto’s Royal Winter Agricultural Fair in the $20,000 Dominion Regalia Royal Invitational Dressage Cup Freestyle, where they won with a score of 76.70 percent.
Holzer, 49, New York, decided it was time to ease “Poppy’s” workload as he got older and wanted him to finish his international career on a high note. “I’ve had him since he was 6. He’s brought me to places I never thought we would both go: to be top 10 in the World Ranking List, a chance at the Olympics and World Championships. He’s done so much for me, but the best thing about him is the friendship that we have. To have a horse that’s done so much for me and to have such a great relationship with him is pretty awesome,” she said.
Holzer and Pop Art won numerous CDIs in their nine years together, including the Grand Prix at Dressage At Devon (Pa.) in 2007 and the Grand Prix and Grand Prix freestyle in 2008. That same year, they represented Canada at the Olympic Games in Hong Kong where they placed 14th individually.
In 2009, they finished fifth in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix freestyle at the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas and finished 11th individually at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.) in 2010.
“He felt so much fun to ride [at the Royal]. I felt so happy to be there with him. To go out on such a high note, feeling like I love riding him and that he’s so willing and happy to do his job, I think it was bittersweet a little bit. He was just spot on, like he almost knew,” she said.
Pop Art will travel to Florida with Holzer this winter where he’ll continue to stay in work.