Canada names dressage team for World Games

August 17, 2010

Canada has named its dressage team for the forthcoming World Equestrian Games, with Ashley Holzer, Belinda Trussell, Bonny Bonnello and Victoria Winter chosen to represent the country.


Ashley Holzer and Pop Art. © LewisHarding Ltd


Belinda Trussell and Anton. © LewisHarding Ltd


Bonny Bonnello and Pikardi. © Shawn Hamilton, CliX Photography


Victoria Winter and Proton. © Cealy Tetley

Three-time Canadian Olympian Ashley Holzer of Toronto, Ontario, will ride her 2008 Olympic partner Pop Art (Amsterdam x Cabochon), a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rusty Holzer and Moreen Nicoll. This pair has consistently won Grand Prix classes in North America and earned an average qualification score of 72.329%. Currently ranked 14th in the world, Holzer and Pop Art just returned from a successful tour in Europe where they won the Grand Prix Freestyle in CDI 3* Lingen with a score of 76.300% and secured a bronze medal finish for the Canadian Dressage Team in the CDIO Rotterdam Nations' Cup.

Also a member of the recent European Tour, Belinda Trussell of Newmarket, Ontario, was on Canada's 2004 Olympic Dressage Team. She has qualified for WEG with Anton (Antaeus x Melit), a 10-year-old German-bred gelding owned by Robyn Eames. The pair have been competing at the Grand Prix level for just one year, but they have quickly progressed to the top of the class, earning an average qualification score of 69.595%, which includes Grand Prix scores of 70.638% at the Wellington CDI3* and 70.213% at Lexington CDI3*.

Bonny Bonnello's participation in the European Tour with Pikardi (Point Maker x Daimont), a 13-year-old Canadian Warmblood gelding co-owned by Bonnello and Jean Bell, marks her comeback as a member of the Canadian Equestrian Team. Bonnello, of Calgary, Alberta, rode at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as a member of the Canadian team. This expertise is the reason why she was able to take the relatively green Pikardi all the way up the ranks to score 68.638% in the Grand Prix test at Lexington CDI3* and qualify for the team with an average of 66.932%.

Victoria Winter of Toronto, Ontario, a member of Canada's dressage team at the 1996 World Equestrian Games, will ride Proton, Neil and Cindy Ishoy's 16-year-old Baden-Wurttemburger gelding sired by Patriarch. Winter remained in North America to earn qualification scores and a spot on the 2010 Canadian WEG Dressage Team. The duo received a 67.064% at Lexington CDI3* and 66.809% at Wellington CDI3*, which contributed to their overall average of 66.745%.

The two reserve combinations for the team will be Wendy Christoff of Delta, British Columbia, riding Pfalstaff, her 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding sired by Paladium, and Evi Strasser of Sainte Adele, Quebec, and Quantum Tyme, her 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding sired by Quattro. Christoff and Pfalstaff had an average qualifying score of 66.329%, and Strasser and Quantum Tyme had a four score average of 66.213%.

Both Cheryl Meisner of Blandford, Nova Scotia, and Paganini, John Risley's 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Havidoff x Statuar), and Shannon Dueck of Loxachatchee, Florida and her nine-year-old Oldenburg mare, Ayscha, by Welt Hit II, had earned positions as reserve riders on the team but decided to remain Europe to compete. This decision to remain in Europe made the unexpected complexities of quarantine restrictions such that they could not make themselves available to the team as reserve riders.

"All of these riders have shown tremendous effort and made great sacrifices to be where they are in the standings. I am very proud to be associated with all of them," said Dressage Canada Technical Coach/Advisor, Robert Dover, who will also be the team coach at WEG.

"The six combinations will have their final training camp starting September 15th at Woodspring Farm, the home of Kathy Priest and Dr. Gary Priest, DVM, near the Kentucky Horse Park. I congratulate all the riders as well as their horse owners and supporters and look forward to very successful Games.

"I commend the jobs of both Cheryl Meisner and Shannon Dueck and respect their decisions to remain in Europe with their horses to do further competitions, and I know they will be a strong credit to the Canadian Team in the future. I also want to congratulate both Wendy Christoff and Evi Strasser who have been named as reserve riders for this year's team," he said.