Wellington, FL – January 21, 2013 – After a stellar performance at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W last weekend, Adrienne Lyle and Wizard have their sights set on the future. After the duo open their season with prestigious American events this winter, Lyle hopes to travel to Europe to continue building her international experience.
Their first step is World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach, set to take place Jan. 24-26 at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center. “It is so great to be back in Wellington, and I am thrilled to have the chance to compete in the World Dressage Masters again this year!” Lyle said. “The line-up of horses and riders this year is incredible, and it’s going to be an exciting competition to watch.”
|Adrienne Lyle and Wizard at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W
Lyle took advantage of last weekend’s Gold Coast Opener CDI-W to give Wizard, a 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas, his first outing since the Olympics in August. On Friday, they placed third in the Grand Prix, finishing behind Swedish Olympians Patrik Kittel and Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfven. “I was happy with our clean, although slightly conservative, Grand Prix Test,” said Lyle.
Wizard and Lyle turned it up a notch for the Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday. Their score of 75.775% placed them second to Kittel, ahead of such accomplished riders as Vilhelmsson-Silfven, Lars Petersen of Denmark, and David Marcus and Jacqueline Brooks of Canada. “I think [Wizard] was really expressive and had some fantastic moments,” Lyle remarked after their test. “We had a lot of fun.”
After World Dressage Masters, Lyle and Wizard will fly to California to train for their next competition, the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair CDI3* in Burbank. They plan to ride in several CDIs in California throughout the spring. Following the spring events, Lyle is looking into options for traveling to Europe with Wizard and competing in shows there.
Lyle’s trip to the 2012 Olympic Games in London gave her a taste of international competition. She described the Olympics as the realization of her lifelong goals. “Competing at the Olympics was an amazing experience, and the fulfillment of my childhood dream,” she said. “It is such an incredible honor to get to represent your country.”
But rather than seeing her 2012 Olympic performance as the peak of her career, Lyle is only increasing her aspirations after competing against so many talented riders and quality horses. “The whole experience certainly made me hungry for more of that top level of competition,” she said. “When you see those top horses going, it really opens your eyes to what you need to aspire to.”
|Adrienne Lyle and Wizard at the awards ceremony after placing second in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W
Lyle sees time in Europe as a crucial part of her development as an internationally respected dressage competitor. “I think it is imperative that anyone who strives to become a top international rider gets to spend some time in Europe,” Lyle explained. “It is an incredible learning opportunity because you can sit there at the warm-up rings and watch the best riders in the world. You can watch what they do, different training methods and techniques, and you can come away with knowledge that is nearly impossible to gain without being there and seeing everything up close and in person.”
Wizard, too, should benefit from competing abroad. The “huge audience and electric atmosphere” of the Olympics posed a challenge for him, since he had little experience in such conditions. “It is something that horses in Europe are very accustomed to, but we just don’t get too many chances to ride in front of big crowds over here in the US,” Lyle noted. “This is another big reason I want to get back to Europe this year with Wizard and get him some more exposure in some bigger venues.”
While Wizard may not yet have the Grand Prix mileage of some of the European horses, he has the potential to be a top contender. According to Lyle, Wizard’s greatest strengths are his elasticity, power and range of motion. “He can do powerful extensions, but also has an incredible ability to just sit and collect for the collected work. So I think all of that together is fun to watch.”
Spectators at World Dressage Masters – and perhaps spectators in Europe this year – are sure to agree.