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being brought to Arizona and reschooled in dressage. It was an inspired choice. “She just loves dressage,” Holly says. “Her personality changes as she goes into the ring – she just loves to show off!”

A New Partner

Just a few months ago, Holly made the difficult decision to move to a younger horse with more international potential. If she wants to be competi- tive in the 2012 Paralympics, she needs an Olympic- caliber horse. “Other countries haves lots of funding and provide experienced international horses,” she explains.

Sadly, she realized that Lily was not that horse, much as she loves the mare. “You’ve got to be real- istic,” she explains with a sigh, pointing out

Starting this February, she began riding Grand Ballerina, a young Oldenburg mare. Ballerina has come to her thanks to a free lease/sponsorship offered by San Diego-based trainer Robin Garrett. “She is hot and expressive and truly a blast to ride,” Holly says. “I am so grateful to Robin for this opportunity!”

With Ballerina, Holly explains, she will continue the process she began with Lily. “In many ways, she’s a more extreme version of Lily. She’s very sensitive to quiet, correct riding.” There are new lessons to learn, Holly admits. “When she gets tense, I’m learning to keep my leg on her. It’s scary at first, to push her for- ward when she already feels explosive. But I’m learn- ing it helps her relax to feel my leg stay steady on her.”

“Ballerina is just so much fun,” she continues. “She has a really big trot that’s deceivingly smooth. I don’t realize how big it is until I see it when I’m not on her. With that trot, it’s an easy ride but an expressive one.”

Together, Holly and Ballerina are focused on the CPDI competition that will be held in Chicago this summer. Knowing there is an approved Paralympic qualifying competition here in the United States, and even rela- tively close to her Tucson home, takes away a lot of stress, Holly says.

She is determined to do well in 2010. The Paralympic test she will ride is roughly the equivalent of a Third Level test, but without the flying changes. But a com- petitor’s freestyle can be up to Prix St. Georges in dif- ficulty, “so that’s what mine will be!” she says with a smile. Her freestyle ride, showcasing a medley of Abba songs, was created by choreographer Cynthia Collins. As Holly points out, Dancing Queen is a natu- ral song choice for a horse named Ballerina!

that in 2012 Lily will be more than 20 years old. “I didn’t want her to travel that much and compete that intensely. It’s just a little too much to ask.” Instead, she has made the decision to sell Lily and hopes to find another young owner for her who can benefit from the mare’s talent and years of experi- ence. “Don’t let her age fool you though; to ride her, you’d never know she’s 18!”


Looking Back

International-level competition is a long way, Holly says, from those early trail rides she rode as a pint-size horse lover. The determination remains the same, however. Her mother also loved horses, she recounts, and bought herself a horse when Holly was very young. After that horse proved to have some behavior issues, Holly took him on. His name, appropriately enough, was Ambition. “He was a fat, lazy little Arab that I had to push around the arena,” she recounts with a laugh.

“I was lucky to have a trainer, whose name was Lisa Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76
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