Marcus Orlob and Ashley Holzer Win Last Qualifiier for Developing PSG/GP Tour at 2024 CDI Wellington

Mon, 03/18/2024 - 10:38
2024 CDI Wellington
Marcus Orlob and Jane at the 2024 CDI Wellington Week 10 :: Photo © Sue Stickle

Week 10 of the Global Dressage Festival provided the last qualifying opportunities in the two prestigious developing horse classes, the Lövsta Future Challenge Intermediate II  and the Buffalo Wild Wings Prix St. Georges Future Challenge. 

Marcus Orlob rode Alice Tarjan's Jane to victory in the developing GP tour, while Ashley Holzer and Liberty L won the developing PSG class. The grand finals of both classes take place during GDF 12. 

The qualifiers—and the final—are designed to offer riders the opportunity to get their up-and-coming talented younger horses into a championship type environment. The tours are held at national level but the riders compete in the main International Arena, gaining exposure to spectators, tents, flags and a bustling VIP tent alongside, without the pressure of competing in a CDI and needing to stable at the venue for days. They mimic the concept of the German Nurnberger Burgpokal/Louisdor Cup.

Marcus Orlob and Jane Win in Developing GP Class

 Marcus Orlob has taken over the ride on Alice Tarjan's Jane, a 10-year-old Desperado x Metall mare, and won the Lövsta Future Challenge Intermediate II with 70.343%. The German-born Orlob, who rides for the USA, spearheaded a clean sweep of the top three places by the home nation. Nicholia Clarke rode the nine-year-old Apache gelding Komsi Komsa to 68.676% and the second qualifying place. The USA’s Hannah Bressler Jaques filled third with a 66.716% ride on her own 10-year-old Ferdeaux son, Jim. 

Tarjan has been competing Jane herself and the pair are unbeaten in 11 CDI starts up to Intermediate II level, but she has handed the reins to Orlob, for now

“Alice has ridden and trained Jane since she was three,” explained the Florida-based Orlob. “The last couple of shows she was quite a handful for her, so Alice said, ‘Why don’t you try to see if you can make it better in the ring?’ And here we are!

“She is a horse with lots of quality; the piaffe/passage is a highlight and also the pirouettes usually — although she was a little bit spooky and tense today so she didn’t show as much quality as she can show. But overall I am happy and she did what I asked for.”

Orlob plans to keep the ride for a little while and step the mare up to grand prix level in the near future.

Qualified for the Grand Prix level Future Challenge final:

  • Andrea Woodard - Kaliber
  • Caroline Roffman - Libertee
  • Amanda Perkowski - Sonata MF
  • Tina Konyot - J Everdale
  • Christoph Koschel - Destare
  • Kelly Layne -  Living Diamond
  • Beatrice Marienau - Issey
  • Charlotte Jorst - Straight Horse Cosmo
  • Marcus Orlob -Jane
  • Nicholia Clarke - Komsi Komsa
Holzer and Liberty L Win PSG Future Challenge Qualifier

The season’s final qualification round winner in the Prix St Georges Future Challenge was the USA’s Ashley Holzer. From the 18 horses entered and 15 actually competing, she rode her own eight-year-old Liberty L to 70.588% and the top spot.

Her compatriot Jennifer Williams nabbed the second qualifying slot available, riding her own nine-year-old Bordeaux gelding Babylon Berlin to 69.314%. Lars Ligus (GER) and Hof Kasselmann’s Visionär, an eight-year-old by Vilancio, finished in third with 68.873%. 

Ashley Holzer and Liberty L
Liberty L is such a solid citizen that he participated in the 2024 Robert Dover USEF Horsemastership Clinic Week in January with a 12-year-old, “whose foot could hardly get below the flap”.

“He went out there in that main ring and did a second level test,” said Holzer. “He is just a saint of an animal and a real pet. He’s such a fun, lovely horse and I don’t have a day when I don’t have a great ride on him. He’s a  Toto Jr x Charmeur and some people say that bloodline can be a little temperamental, but he’s proving them wrong. He’s fabulous and his mind is always with me.”

Holzer, who calls him ‘Loco’ at home, has owned the horse since he was four after finding him through a friend in Holland who thought the pair would be a good match. He was bought from Roos van Schaik in 2020. The horse was originally named RVS Loco Dice L and bred by Jan Lamers. Holzer changed his name to Liberty L and kept him with rider Emma Laarkamp for a while before shipping him to the U.S.A.

“The highlight for me is that he’s not even eight yet and he went in that ring and concentrated,” she added. “He does amazing pirouettes and flying changes; having a horse that wants to play and really enjoys his work is lovely.”  

On the developing young horses series, she added, “ The horses have to be able to go into atmosphere and not feel that it takes away from their concentration. I have not used this main ring enough for the young horses, and this class really gives us the opportunity to do that, with a little less stress. They’re able to be out in the paddock at home — all mine go out for hours a day — and then come here and try the test. 

“I’m very thankful to Diane [Fellows, of sponsor Buffalo Wild Wings and owner of several of Holzer's horses] and Lövsta. We really need to take advantage of these great opportunities to give our horses a little bit of confidence, and for us riders too to know that they won’t be scared of things. Loco had never done a victory gallop before today, and now I know that it won’t be a problem. That’s great to know that for my future of training with him. Without these classes, you don’t know that.

“We’re living and learning with these young horses,” concluded Holzer, who trains with Katherine Bateson Chandler and—when possible—Carl Hester and Robert Dover. Hester will be in Wellington to lend a helping hand for the season’s final CDI during GDF 12 .  

Qualified for the Prix St Georges level Future Challenge final:

  • Ben Ebeling - Escona
  • Rebecca Cohen - Kai van Wittgenstein P
  • Pablo Gomez Molina - Farinel De Fonteabeti
  • Caleb Scroggins - Veneziano‘s Rhapsody
  • Catherine Haddad - Sola Diva
  • Jill Irving - Knight
  • Signe Kirk Kristiansen - Suarez
  • Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven - Kane
  • Ashley Holzer - Liberty L
  • Jennifer Williams - Babylon Berlin

Photos © Sue Stickle - Astrid Appels

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