When Canadian dressage superstar Ashely Holzer announced last year that after living in the United States for more than two decades she had been granted US citizenship, the internet started buzzing with questions. What did that mean for Canadian dressage? Would Ashley still compete under the maple leaf or would she now ride for the Stars & Stripes?
Those questions have now been answered with Ashley's recent announcement that she would indeed be competing as an American from now on. In an interview with Horse Canada she expressed excitement at this new chapter in her life, but also noted the decision wasn't easy.
“It was a difficult decision, as I grew up in Canada and have been extremely proud to represent Canada for many years,” she said, “but I have lived in the States for almost 25 years and it is now truly my home. My husband and children are American and I became a citizen last year. The owners of the horses I presently ride really want them to represent the US, which I totally understand.”
While the loss of such a talented competitor is a blow to our national team it is not a loss to Canadian dressage as a whole. Hopefully the many Canadian athletes who ride and train with Ashley will continue to do so, and will continue to benefit from her expertise.
UPDATE APRIL 4
In brighter news for Canadian dressage fans disappointed by Ashley's decision, rising star Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu - originally from Nova Scotia but living in the US for the past several years - announced this week she will be moving back to Canada permanently and will be based in the Ottawa / Montreal area. The barn where I ride is hosting a clinic with Brittany in May and I'm really looking forward to it!
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