Simonson and Holzer Victorious in Last Day of World Equestrian Center April Dressage CDI3*
On the final day of the World Equestrian Center April Dressage CDI3* sponsored by Hampton Green Farm and Discover Dressage on Sunday, April 16, 2023, Olympian Ashley Holzer (USA) and young rider Christian Simonson were victorious at World Equestrian Center – Ocala (WEC).
Scoring a personal best of 79.492% with Zeaball Diawind, an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Fürstenball OLD x Zardin Firfod owned by Christina Morgan, Simonson topped the Intermediate I Freestyle CDI1*. Second place went to Nicholia Clarke (USA), who had a personal best score of 74.217% with Komsi Komsa, an eight-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Apache x Osmium owned by Komsi Komsa Syndicate LLC. Jennifer Williams (CAN) and Impression Texel, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Sorento OLD x Jazz owned by Carlos Koo, was third with 70.533%.
All three judges – Cara Whitham (CAN), Sandra Hotz (USA) and Sandra Andrea Smith (ARG) – had Simonson in first place, with Whitham and Hotz both scoring over 80%. Zeaball Diawind scored eights across the board in the shoulder-in movements and all three judges appreciated the harmony between horse and rider as well as the music and the rider’s interpretation of it.
“It felt amazing to say the least,” recalled Simonson, who is 20 years old and from Ventura, California. “It was Zeaball’s third day of competition, and he’s always a horse I can depend on. He was incredible yet again. He gave me so much heart in our test.”
Simonson rode a freestyle designed by Karen Robinson featuring music from Dutch DJ Martin Garrix. This was only their second-ever I-1 Freestyle together, although the freestyle choreography and music has evolved over the past year from their young rider freestyle.
“Karen has done all of my freestyles since I was a junior,” said Simonson. “It has modern, epic music that goes well with how beautifully Zeaball can move and the presence he has in the ring. It shows off his ability to half pass. Karen did a beautiful job with my trainer Adrienne Lyle in designing a choreography that suits him well at a small tour level.”
Simonson and Zeaball have been together since the Fourth Level, and they did their first Prix St. Georges test together when Simonson was 17 years old and Zeaball was eight.
“He and I have grown up together,” expressed Simonson. “He’s such an amazing guy that I get to ride. We hope to move up to grand prix together if that’s what he wants to do. It’s important that he is happy and enjoys it. He shows some talent for it already.”
After a break, Simonson will head to Europe with Son of a Lady to compete for the U.S. Dressage Young Rider team at the CDIO-Y this June in Hagen, Germany.