Adrienne Lyle & Wizard Trump Top Field in Florida CDN Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, Jan. 21–Adrienne Lyle and Wizard launched their inaugural Florida circuit in their drive to win a place on the United States Olympic team beating a field led by top international riders in the CDN Grand Prix at the Gold Coast Dressage Opener World Cup event Saturday.
Adrienne, just turned 27 years old and who has never before even visited the Sunshine State, scored 73.652 per cent with the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer x Pica x Classiker) with the World Equestrian Games combination of Tina Konyot and Calecto V second on 71.596 per cent and the Canadian Olympic pair of Ashley Holzer and Pop Art third on 71.525 per cent.
Adrienne has worked with Debbie McDonald for seven years in Hailey, Idaho, six of them riding Wizard. They normally spend winters in California, but they reviewed the small number of CDIs there and decided that in this Olympic year to compete in Florida with its 11 CDIs over the winter as she seeks to qualify for the trials from which the U.S. team will be selected for the London Games.
They opted to make their first Florida start at the CDN so Wizard could go home every night.
The horse was very energetic and made no major mistakes before the panel of three judges with Sweden’s Bo Jena the president.
“It has been a long road with Wizard,” said Adrienne, who competed the horse in Germany two years ago, and was holding on to Tia, her toy Australian shepherd when she talked to dressage-news.com.
“He is feeling so much stronger and more confirmed. He’s always had a lot of expression and now it is really showing the piaffe and passage. There are no big holes, no big weaknesses in our test.”
The Wizard team, including Debbie and owner Peggy Thomas, made a major financial commitment for Adrienne and Wizard to compete on the Florida circuit–air transportation, living expenses for horse, rider and others, as well as no being able to work with customers while away from home.
“Debbie has been so incredible guiding me through this whole experience with Wizard. She has done an amazing job. Going to Europe in 2010 was perfect timing to get the exposure and for me watch ride after ride.
“She has put me in the right places where I am not overfaced but where I’m just out of our comfort zone,” Adrienne said. “When you survive you get more confident and come away with more knowledge.
“You see the potential and you work to fulfill that and it is great to finally see it blossom. I’m just kind of enjoying everything. Debbie tells me what to do and it works. It’s really cool.”
Adrienne is known for not being nervous in competitions, and confirmed that when she “gets into the saddle I don’t thin of anything except what we’re doing. I don’t get distracted.”
She took to heart advice from Bob McDonald, Debbie’s husband, before Adrienne performed the demonstration ride at the 2009 World Cup in Las Vegas and had never before ridden in an arena with such atmosphere, “Once they close that gate, it’s the same stuff you do every day.”
Seeking to qualify for the World Cup in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, in mid-April–North America is awarded two places–is on the cards but if she is successful that would require some “creative fund raising.”
Everyone is already making huge sacrifices to be on the Florida circuit.
“I’m not contributing,” Adrienne said. “I’m just an expense.”