By U.S. Equestrian Communications Department
Herning, Denmark – The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team completed their first day of championship competition in Herning, with two of the four team combinations taking on Stuterri ASK Stadium today and the final two combinations set to compete tomorrow. The second half of the FEI Grand Prix will begin at 11:00 a.m. GMT+2/5:00 a.m. ET, with team medals being awarded following the conclusion of the competition.
Katie Duerrhammer (Greenwood Village, Colo.) and Quartett received a 70.838 percent in their debut for the team, while Ashley Holzer (Wellington, Fla.) and Valentine completed a tough test after Valentine became tense in the trot tour and struggled to regain composure, which received a 61.285 percent.
In her championship debut with Quartett, a 2008 Brandenburg gelding owned by Kylee Lourie, Duerhammer produced a harmonious test, earning a score solid enough to place them in fourth at the conclusion of the first rotation of combinations. Of her first championship appearance, Duerrhammer noted that Quartett rose to meet the atmosphere of the large stadium in Herning, and even with two small mistakes, the pair still showcased a quality test to the judges.
“I’m super happy with him. This is his first time being on a championship team and my first time on a championship team, so to go in there and put down a solid ride. It wasn’t a mistake-free test, but that’s okay. He tried really hard for me,” said Duerrhammer of her ride with Quartett. “His trot tour is always a highlight for me. It always feels so easy and effortless, so that was the highlight.”
Of her teammates, Duerrhammer noted that competing alongside with her trainer, Adrienne Lyle, as well as Holzer and Peters is something that has given her the confidence and aspirations to continue aiming for championship level competitions, fine-tuning herself as an athlete, rider, and horsewoman.
“I have to say I cannot ask for or wish for better teammates. I feel like everyone here with me are seasoned competitors and championship athletes and to have them be my first team is a dream come true – it’s amazing,” added Duerrhammer.
In Holzer’s second international championship appearance for the United States after competing most of her career under the Canadian flag, she was challenged with keeping her own Valentine, a 2010 Hanoverian mare, focused and calm after the duo struggled with their piaffe work at the beginning of the test. Holzer, a four-time Olympian, handled the situation with professionalism and compassion, and discussed what happened in the arena after the finished their test.
“She’s never seen a venue like this and was a little bit nervous, but she settled into it, and to be honest, it totally caught me off guard. They’re horses – they’re not machines and she didn’t understand what I was asking. I’m obviously disappointed, but also have to be understanding too,” explained Holzer. “When she’s brilliant, she’s absolutely briliant. I wish I had a better answer, but I don’t. I just have to give her confidence and go back and have her understand that I’m not mad at her, but I think gently, kindly foward is how we have to reapproach. I have to make her, in her mind, comfortable and that’s something we can do and work towards again.”
The Dutta Corp. Dressage Team will return to contest the remainder of the FEI Grand Prix tomorrow, with Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) and Suppenkasper set to go last in the third rotation of combinations at 2:14 p.m. GMT+2/8:14 a.m. ET, and Adrienne Lyle (Wellington, Fla.) and Salvino, concluding the competition with the final ride at 7:54 p.m. GMT+2/1:54 p.m. ET.