Adrienne Lyle & Horizon Win USA Championships Int. 1 to Take Lead for National Title
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
GLADSTONE, New Jersey, May 20, 2017–Adrienne Lyle rode Horizon to a razor-thin lead in the Tim Dutta United States Intermediate 1 Championships Saturday, less than two weeks after successfully challenging a suspension for contaminated horse feed.
Adrienne and the 10-year-old Oldenburg mare scored 70.526 per cent in the Intermediate 1 to take a lead of 0.009 per cent over Jane Cleveland of Wellington, Florida on Monique who had won the Prix St. Georges. Nicole Levy on Florantina placed second in the Int. 1 with 70.368 per cent with Adrienne and Harmony’s Duval third on 70.132 per cent.
The weather Saturday was chilly and raining, a dramatic change from the first two days of the championships which experienced near record high temperatures with tropical type humidity.
Adrienne said the harmony, composure and softness marked the performance by Horizon that she described as an “over-achiever.”
Horizon made her CDI debut at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida this winter, winning two of 10 starts at small tour, placing second twice and third twice.
The horses were being prepared to travel to a CDI3* in Tryon, North Carolina with plans to head to these championships immediately after when the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) imposed a two-month suspension on Horizon and Don Principe ridden by Under-25 Kaitlin Blythe for a trace amount of a prohibited substance.
Horizon and other horses competed by Adrienne were then sent to Hailey, Idaho where she spends summers with coach Debbie McDonald.
After both riders produced evidence, supported by the manufacturer of the product that was the same fed to both horses, that the feed had been contaminated in production the FEI lifted suspensions of the riders but maintained the two-month ban on the horses. An appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland led to the suspension on the horses being lifted May 8, 10 days before the start of the championships.
Adrienne said that when the suspension first happened it was described by Debbie like “it took the wind out of our sails.”
“We had this fantastic season, the horses were doing great, we were going to go to Tryon then straight to here,” she said. “We had this boom, boom, boom–then we were hit with this.
“After a day or two we were like, ‘What do we do with this? We have to have a plan’.”
Elizabeth “Betsy” Juliano, who heads up a legal services company she built and the owner of Horizon as well as being in the syndicate that owns Salvino that Adrienne is competing in the Grand Prix Championships, took charge of finding legal representation and dealing with other parties involved.
“We never stopped training as if we were going to come here because even if there was a remote chance of being able to compete you had to be ready,” Adrienne said. “So once you get over the initial shock you just have to put it out of your mind and hope for the best and focus as if you’re going to be cleared by the time of the next competition.” That meant Gladstone first and if not then Europe that she hopes to go to this summer.
“The logistics of it were a little more challenging,” she said. “We didn’t have a plan a and b, we had a plan a,b, c, d, e, f. g all the way down the list. We had Tim Dutta on hold for shipping, the show organizers, our whole team waiting to to see if something was going to be able to happen. I knew they’d be supportive of it.”
As to how it affected her, she said: “It’s devastating to be accused of something you didn’t do, especially something you are so careful about. But when it comes to competing and training I just put it out of my mind.
“I’m fairly good at compartmentalizing, maybe too good. You can never get on a horse with emotions about anything. So whether’s you’re upset with a ruling or because of a fight with a friend you have to check your emotions at the door. We practice that daily.”