Ashley Holzer And Marcus Orlob Are Victorious in Last Qualification Rounds For Developing Young Horse Finals

Mar 17, 2024 - 10:27 PM

By Alice Collins for Wellington International

Week 10 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 at the 2024 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL. The grand finals of both classes take place during AGDF 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. They 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. 

The season’s final qualification round winner in the Buffalo Wild Wings Future Challenge Prix St Georges was the USA’s Ashley Holzer. From the 18 horses entered, 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 Linus (GER) and Hof Kasselmann’s Visionär, an eight-year-old by Vilancio, finished in third with 68.873%. 

Ashley Holzer & Liberty L, winners of the Buffalo Wild Wings Prix St. Georges Future Challenge. Photo ©

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 Glock’s Toto Jr x Charmer 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. 

“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.”  

Ashley Holzer, who rode Liberty L, is presented as winner of the Buffalo Wild Wings Prix St. Georges Future Challenge. Photo ©

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 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 AGDF 12 .  

Full list of qualified combinations for the Buffalo Wild Wings Prix St Georges final (listed in qualification order):

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

Big tour
During week 10 in the big tour ranks, Marcus Orlob linked up with Alice Trajan’s 10-year-old Desperado x Metall mare, Jane, and won the Lövsta Future Challenge Intermediate II with 70.343%.

Marcus Orlob & Jane, winners of the Lövsta Future Challenge Intermediate II. Photo ©

The German-born Orlob, who now rides for the USA, spearheaded a clean sweep of the top three places by the home nation. Nicholia Clarke rode the Komsi Komsa Syndicate LLC’s 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.  

Marcus Orlob & Jane are presented as winners of the Lövsta Future Challenge Intermediate II. Photo ©

“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.

Full list of qualified combinations for the Lövsta Future Challenge final (listed in qualification order):

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

AGDF 12 (March 27-31) heralds the final CDI competition of the 2024 season and features a CDI4* at Equestrian Village, as well as a national show. For more information, results and to watch the live stream, visit the Global Dressage Festival website. 

Click for full results from AGDF 10.

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