Adrienne Lyle 2nd Highest USA Scoring Rider So Far in 2012 with Wizard in Wellington CDI5*
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 30–Adrienne Lyle became the top scoring USA rider behind only Steffen Peters so far this year when the 27-year-old from Idaho rode Wizard to victory in the Global Dressage Festival musical freestyle Saturday night, the sole CDI5* in North America in 2012.
Following a laser light show with accompanying music at the new multimillion dollar show grounds that are part of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Adrienne and the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer x Pica Classiker) owned by Peggy Thomas, scored 77.725 per cent and the first place prize money of $25,200 (€18,900) in the $120,000 (€90,000) event presented by Diamante Farms.
Canada’s three-time Olympian Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn, named after the smash hit Twilight movies for one of the the producer families who own the horse and were on hand to see the ride, placed second on 74.000 per cent.
Anja Plönzke, the German who was in her fourth competition swing in the U.S. and whose outgoing personality has made her popular with both competitors and fans, finished third on 73.600 per cent. The German jumping squad that won the Nations Cup here came to support their compatriot although she had not previously met the team until this week at a Wellington restaurant.
Eight horse and rider combinations started the freestyle that was a signature event for the inaugural Global Dressage Festival of five CDIs over the winter season with a total of $275,000 (€206,000) in prize money, among the richest dressage circuits in the world.
Fans who packed the VIP Global Pavilion and spectator stands turned out for performances by 2010 U.S. World Equestrian Games combination of Tina Konyot of nearby Palm City, Florida, and Calecto V and the new Grand Prix partnership of Heather Blitz of Wellington and Paragon. Just six months ago, they were on the U.S. team that won gold as well as individual silver at the Pan American Games at small tour.
Adrienne and Wizard are competing in Florida for the first time, normally based in California during winter when their home town of Ketchum in Sun Valley, Idaho, is a skiers’ paradise.
A month ago at these same show grounds, Wizard was in pain from a sore back. After therapy, the horse came back fitter and more powerful than ever, winning the Grand Prix on Thursday and the Freesyle Friday at the CDI5* that also marks the finale of the Winter Equestrian Festival with the $500,000 CSI5* Saturday night.
“In the last two weeks since I’ve been back riding him he has felt like a different kind of horse,” she said. “He’s got the range of motion and power but is expressive and relaxed and feels fresh in the ring.
“”He doesn’t feel like he’s limited… I think he can do everything for a 10 ”
The crowd felt so, too, when the pair produced a score that was second only to those achieved by Steffen Peters and Ravel and Legolas this year, a boost to hopes for a strong U.S. team performance at the Olympics in London this summer.
Adrienne and the horse will return to their California base for the next two months before heading back east in June for the U.S. Olympic selection trials in Gladstone, New Jersey.
Ashley and Breaking Dawn, an Olympic prospect along with her 2008 Beijing Games mount Pop Art, turned in a ride that the three-time Olympian described as “the cleanest he’s gone so far.”
The pair started conservatively because she is being careful not to make the mistake of pushng too hard too soon.
“The horse is just phenomenal,” she said. “He was comfortable, happy and willing to do what I asked.”
She plans to head to Europe to work with Anky van Grunsven and Sjef Janssen before determining a schedule that could include both Rotterdam and Aachen CHIOs as final preparation for the Olympics.
Anja Plönzke, who has competed in three World Dressage Masters Palm Beach events as well as most of the competitions in the series in Europe, said she plans to return for a longer stay next year.
“”This place is gorgeous,” she said of the GDF grounds. “The people are very, very nice. And now I know everybody. And…the winters in Germany…”
Earlier Friday, the Olympic Grand Prix Special was won by Pierre St Jacques of Anthony, Florida, and Lucky Tiger with a score of 67.311 per cent. David Marcus of Campbellville, Ontario, was second with Chrevi’s Capital scoring 67.022 per cent with Christopher Hickey of Colora, Maryland, aboard Douglas Hilltop third with 65.378 per cent.
Grand Prix Freestyle results:
|E: Zang ‘5*’ – USA||H: Roudier ‘5*’ – FRA||C: Steiner ‘5*’ – USA||M: Fouarge ‘5*’ – NED||B: Tornblad ‘5*’ – DEN|
|Rider||Ctzn||Horse||E %||.||H %||C %||M %||B %||T %||Pl.|
|Holzer, Ashley||CAN||Breaking Dawn||74.125%||74.375%||72.500%||75.125%||73.875%||74.000%||2|
|Plonzke, Anja||GER||Le Mont d’Or||73.625%||72.250%||72.500%||75.500%||74.125%||73.600%||3|
|Konyot, Tina||USA||Calecto V||76.500%||69.125%||74.250%||72.125%||75.000%||73.400%||4|
|Harding, Shawna||USA||Come On III||67.375%||69.000%||68.000%||71.000%||69.625%||69.000%||7|
|Brooks, Jacquline M.||CAN||D Niro||64.750%||65.250%||69.125%||68.750%||68.875%||67.350%||8|