Adrienne Lyle & Sharon McCusker Win $25,000 Carol Lavell Training Grants

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Adrienne Lyle and Wizard at the Olympic Games in London. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The United States Oympian Adrienne Lyle Sharon McCusker have been awarded $25,000 Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prizes to train in Europe, the first time The Dressage Foundation has awarded the prize to two riders in the same year.

Adrienne of Ketchum, Idaho, and Wizard, the horse she rode at the London Games last summer, and Sharon of Ashby, Massachusetts, and Wrigley, were selected, the foundation said, “because they display the characteristics and qualities of being talented, committed, qualified riders whose plans are to reach and excel at the elite, international standards of high performance dressage.”

Adrienne is assistant trainer to Debbie McDonald at River Grove Farm in Hailey, Idaho. She has been riding Parry and Peggy Thomas’ Wizard since 2007, becoming Brentina Cup Champions in 2008. The combination rode as the individual for the U.S. at London.

She plans to use the money to train with Klaus Balkenhol, the former U.S. team coach, this summer in Germany, and to compete at several European CDIs.

“I am so excited to have received this amazing prize,” she said. “I believe it is important to keep a presence at European competitions, to continue to challenge yourself and put yourself up against the best.”

Sharon has been a dressage trainer and competitor for more than 20 years. She has been on the USEF High Performance list with three self-trained FEI horses, as well as being long-listed for the World Equestrian Games with previous mount, Juli Sherif. Sharon and Wrigley have been a part of USEF’s Developing Horse Program for two years. With the help of the funding, Sharon plans to take Wrigley to Germany to train with Hubertus Schmidt, with the goal of qualifying for the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2016 Olympic Games.

“The timing of this could not have been better for the development of Wrigley,” she said. “Having the opportunity to train and compete in Europe with him in his first year at Grand Prix is fabulous. It will allow me to really get the best start possible for Wrigley with consistent top coaching and exposure to top class riding. He is my ‘once in a life time horse’ and this prize will help me to bring him to his full potential.”