Tag Archives: Adrienne Lyle

Lyle Leads the Way for US on First Day of Dressage Team Championship at WEG

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard (SusanJStickle.com)

Caen, France – The first day of dressage competition at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games got underway Monday beneath rainy skies at the d’Ornano Stadium with the first half of competitors completing the FEI Grand Prix Test. Forty-nine combinations performed in front of the Ground Jury of Stephen Clarke, Elizabeth McMullen, Isabelle Judet, Susan Hoevenaars, Francis Verbeek, Dietrich Plewa, and Liselotte Fore. The United States got off to a strong start with solid performances from Adrienne Lyle and Tina Konyot.

The U.S. stands in fifth place in the team competition at the end of Monday after two horse rotations.

Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) had to deal with some of the heaviest rain of the day as she headed down centerline during the afternoon session with Peggy Thomas’ Wizard. The 2012 London Olympic Games veterans produced an accurate and consistent test that was just marred by a mistake in the one-time changes to score 72.000% to finish the day in seventh place.

“I was thrilled with how he went. We played around a bit in the warm-up and splashed around a bit to make sure he was comfortable with it,” said Lyle of her warm-up that helped her achieve the Grand Prix score she was aiming for. “That was my goal to hit 72, so I was thrilled. When you’re on a team there’s always extra pressure so I’m really happy with our test today.”

The pair has been competing together for nearly nine years and their partnership showed as Wizard kept a level-head throughout the test to stay with Lyle every step of the way.

“He knows his job and now I can try to get half a point here and there,” said Lyle. “I can really trust him.”

Konyot (Palm City, Fla.) was the first rider down centerline for the U.S. with her own Calecto V scoring 69.643%. The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and 2012 London Olympic Games veterans performed their trademark expressive test but a few bobbles, including in the one-time changes, kept them from breaking the 70% mark. Nonetheless Konyot was extremely pleased with the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion.

“I’m very, very happy. I had a few mistakes that cost me some points but overall I’m very happy.”

The 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are slated to be the final championship appearance for Calecto V to close out an impressive career for the stallion.

“He’s in the three-plus club: two world championships and one Olympic Games; very few horses have done that,” said Konyot proudly of her longtime partner. “He’s done so much for me.”

The pair finished the day in 17th place.

Germany leads the team competition at the halfway mark, with their combination of Kristina Sprehe and Desperados FRH producing the top score of the day after earning 78.814% just before the lunch break.

The U.S. will close out the team competition on Tuesday with Laura Graves and Verdades heading down centerline at 10:09am local time, with Steffen Peters anchoring the American effort on Legolas 92 at 3:45pm local time.

By Helen Murray

To learn more about the dressage championship at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit: http://www.normandy2014.com/2014-games/the-disciplines/2/dressage.

Follow the U.S. Dressage Team here.

Lyle and Graves Finish Equal Tenth in Deutsche Bank Prize at CDIO5* Aachen

Adrienne Lyle & Wizard (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Aachen, Germany – Adrienne Lyle and Laura Graves closed out a strong American effort in dressage competition at CHIO Aachen by tying for 10th in Sunday’s CDIO5* Deutsche Bank Prize. The two members of the Short List for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage Team both score 76.900%.

Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) and Peggy Thomas’ 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Wizard, earned high marks for their music and interpretation as well as scoring 8s across the board for their degree of difficulty.

Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own 12-year-old KWPN gelding, Verdades, also earned high scores for their music and interpretation as well as for the choreography of their Freestyle.

Learn more about CHIO Aachen here.

Follow the U.S. Dressage Team here.

Peters, Konyot, Lyle Land Top Five Finishes on Day 2 of CDI4* Fritzens

Peters and Legolas 92 at the 2014 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions (SusanJStickle.com)

Fritzens, Austria – The U.S. continued to showcase strong form on Saturday at CDI4* Fritzens with riders securing three of the top five placings in Big Tour competition. Steffen Peters, Tina Konyot, and Adrienne Lyle, all members of the Short List for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage Team and London Olympic Games veterans, helped the U.S. to monopolize the top placings in the Grand Prix for the Freestyle. Earlier in the day Peters earned his second Small Tour victory of the weekend.

“America had another great day in Fritzens today,” said U.S Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover. “I am very excited and hopeful that we will see more excellent U.S. rides and results tomorrow in the Grands Prix Special and Freestyle.”

Peters (San Diego, Calif.) and Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92 demonstrated the form that has helped them earn three National Titles as they scored 75.340% on Saturday. The 12-year-old Westphalian gelding finished in second place, 8/10s of a point behind the day’s winner.

Earning a third-place finish in the Grand Prix for the Special was Konyot (Palm City, Fla.) and her veteran 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion Calecto V on a score of 72.600%.

Rounding out the U.S. effort on Saturday was Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) and Peggy Thomas’ 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Wizard, who finished in fifth place on a score of 68.640%.

Austria’s Victoria Max-Theurer collected her second victory of the weekend, winning Saturday’s class on a score of 76.180% with Augustin OLD.

To start the day Peters and Konyot both represented the U.S. in Small Tour competition performing the Intermediaire I Test. Peters and Four Winds Farm’s seven-year-old Rheinlander mare Rosamunde earned their second victory of the week after scoring 76.026%. Konyot and Bruce Grivetti’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wyoming finished in 18th place on a score of 64.605%.

Competition at CDI4* Fritzens comes to a close on Sunday with Peters, Konyot, and Lyle riding in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.), Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.), Caroline Roffman (Wellington, Fla.) and Lisa Wilcox (Loxahatchee, Fla) will perform the Grand Prix Special.

Learn more about the CDI4* Fritzens here.

Follow the U.S. Dressage Team here.

Vita Flex Victory Team Dressage Riders Put in Top Performances at Festival of Champions, Set to Compete in Europe

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard. (Photos courtesy of JRPR)

Gladstone, NJ (June 25, 2014) – It was another 3 for 3 success for all of the dressage riders on the Vita Flex Victory Team at the US Festival of Champions. Riders Adrienne Lyle, Lisa Wilcox, and Caroline Roffman brought it full circle by all finishing in the top 8 and securing a spot to compete in Europe as final selections are made for the US Dressage Team for the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

Held at the United States Equestrian Team Headquarters in Gladstone, New Jersey, the Festival of Champions served as the selection trials for the World Equestrian Games, where the top 2 horse and rider combinations would earn a spot on the team, and the top 8 would be sent to Europe to compete. The Grand Prix division featured 3 classes set over four days, with each constituting a different percentage of the overall score. The Grand Prix was Thursday, and accounted for 45% of the total. The Grand Prix Special was Friday for 40%, and the final day was the Freestyle, which made up the following 15%.

Vita Flex’s top finishing pair was 2012 Olympian Adrienne Lyle and Wizard, who finished fourth overall with a 73.543%. She and Peggy Thomas’s 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Weltmeyer put in accurate and expressive rides in both the Grand Prix and Special, followed by an impressive Freestyle set to blues rock. Wizard also displayed an exceptional piaffe and passage tour, along with bold extensions.

Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O
Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O

Finishing sixth was Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O with a 72.760%. Hannah, as the mare is called, also displayed brilliance in her passage and extensions, along with neat, correct pirouettes and a freestyle set to upbeat pop music including Katy Perry’s Roar. Roffman could not have been more thrilled with the mare’s performance, saying, “The Festival was only Hannah’s fifth Grand Prix event, and I am so excited to be bringing her to Europe. Last summer we did the small tour with her in France and now we will be shooting for a spot on the team for the World Equestrian Games!”

Veteran Olympian Lisa Wilcox and Denzello rounded out Vita Flex’s top 8 finish with an overall score of 71.633%. The pair’s solid performance secured them a chance to compete in Europe and to contend for the additional two spots left on the US Dressage Team for Normandy.

“We were so thrilled that all three of our Victory Team dressage riders made it to the prestigious Festival of Champions, and now that excitement is doubled as all three will go to compete in Europe,” said Vita Flex Brand Manager Tanner Clark. “They’ve all worked very hard to get where they are, and Vita Flex is thrilled to be able to continue to support the horses as they travel overseas and hopefully make an appearance at the World Equestrian Games.”

Lisa Wilcox and Denzello
Lisa Wilcox and Denzello

The Vita Flex Victory Team is comprised of many world-class riders from all disciplines. Members rely on Vita Flex® products and are proud to represent the company. Vita Flex Nutrition offers animal health supplements, antioxidants, electrolytes, joint supplements, performance products, topicals and vitamins and minerals. Vita Flex® products are researched and tested by equine nutritionists and veterinarians and have been relied upon for more than two decades by owners, trainers and top riders.

Vita Flex is a registered trademark of Farnam Companies, Inc.

Contact Tanner Clark

Tina Konyot and Calecto V Clinch American Victory in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* during AGDF 12

Tina Konyot and Calecto V. Photos © SusanJStickle.com.

Canada’s Megan Lane and Caravella Earn Top Call in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*; Adrienne Lyle and Wizard Ace FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*; Chris Hickey and Ronaldo Win FEI Prix St. Georges

Wellington, FL – March 28, 2014 – Competition for the AGDF 12 CDI 5* continued on Friday at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) with four major classes. Starting out the day, American Chris Hickey topped the FEI Prix St. Georges, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, with Cecelia Stewart’s Ronaldo earlier in the day on Friday. Fellow American Adrienne Lyle finished first with Peggy Thomas’ Wizard in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, which sponsored all of the large tour classes for the week. Megan Lane (CAN) and Caravella clinched the first place prize in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* and Tina Konyot (USA) and Calecto V took top prize in Friday’s feature class, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*.

The FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* was the finale event of the “Friday Night Stars” series at the 2014 AGDF, and ended it in great fashion with a packed house of spectators.

Devon Kane of Diamante Farms was thrilled with Friday evening’s class after watching the AGDF develop from its infancy to the world-class dressage competition it has turned into.

“We’re just thrilled to be a part of this whole adventure,” Kane beamed. “These guys were amazing tonight; it’s spectacular to watch. You can see the crowd was so excited, and everybody’s just thrilled to have not only these people here that are blowing us all away but [riders of all levels].”

Watch the CDI 5* Freestyle winning ride from Tina Konyot and Calecto V.

Of sponsoring the season’s only five-star event, Kane commented, “We take great pride in that. It’s amazing to have a five star here in Wellington, and to be able to provide the upper echelon with that opportunity, we definitely take that seriously. We’re thrilled to be a part of the team and all the founding sponsors here.”

President of Equestrian Sport Productions Mark Bellissimo reflected on a hugely successful season for the AGDF: “We thought it would take four or five years for this to take hold, and I think we thought this is where we would be two years from now,” Bellissimo acknowledged. “We have a tremendous amount of interest, with people visiting and talking about coming next year, so it’s going to continue to grow. I want to thank Diamante Farms and all the other sponsors in this, because I think this is going to be one of the great places in the world for dressage. To be a part of it is an honor, and I think it will endure the test of time.”

Allyn Mann of Adequan shared his thoughts on the AGDF circuit as it reaches the halfway point of its final week of competition, reflecting on the 2014 circuit and the incredible growth the show has experienced since its inception three years ago.

“As I sit here and I reflect on this journey these last three months, the blessings have abounded big time. I think because of what we have, and what we have seen over these past few weeks, and where the future is going thanks to Mark and what your vision has been, [AGDF has turned into a world-class competition]. It’ll only get better, so we are honored to be in this wonderful position, to support a wonderful sport. It’s a blessing, and we’re very grateful to be a part of it,” Mann expressed.

Of the evening’s competition, judge Anne Gribbons added, “I’ve seen also now some horses that were struggling in the beginning of the season, and tonight came around and looked beautiful. Some of our up-and-coming horses had a fantastic effort tonight. It was a very tough class to judge. It’s been a fantastic venue and a really wonderful finale.”

Konyot (USA) received a crystal horse from the Esperanza Collection of Swarovski for her winning ride with Calecto V, her 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion out of Bahera by Come Back II. The pair earned an impressive 79.250% to pick up the top prize for the class, while second place finisher Mikala Gundersen scored a 76.775% with My Lady. Third place went to fellow Dane Lars Petersen and Mariett. The pair scored a 76.625% for their performance. Petersen was also awarded the Mary Ann McPhail Award for maintaining the highest international ranking of any rider throughout the twelve weeks of the AGDF.

“Calecto is like a fine wine,” Konyot grinned. “He just keeps getting better. I had a wonderful ride, just a great way to end the season. I had a wonderful experience: a great ride, a great feeling, great energy.”

Konyot was happy that Calecto seems to be peaking as he heads into the FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in April and was also especially pleased to earn their highest score yet in the grand prix freestyle.

“I’ve always been up in the 70s, but this has been my highest score so far. It’s a very good feeling, especially going into the World Cup, where [the freestyle] is an important score for me, so I’m very happy about that,” Konyot shared.

For the weeks leading up to the World Cup, Konyot will continue the same routine with Calecto, always striving to put her partner’s needs first to ensure his happiness and health. “He’s 16 years old; he’s done a WEG, an Olympics. This is not new for him; it’s not new for me either, so we just want to have a great frame of mind, keep ourselves fresh, happy and healthy,” Konyot remarked.

Second place finisher Gundersen also enjoyed a personal best on Friday evening after a season of working on the mare’s fitness. “I have the vet check her after each show just to make sure everything is great, and he says, ‘It’s just amazing: this horse gets better and better every time I see her,'” Gundersen smiled.

She continued, “I’m very happy with tonight. I had more collection in the canter today. I had been missing that a little bit in my prior tests, and that’s getting much better. I had some really good things in there today. For sure it’s our best test so far.”

Gundersen sang the praises of the AGDF for giving her the opportunity to develop her horse over the course of six CDI competitions. “I think she’s also gotten better in the season,” Gundersen commented. “She’s not a young horse, but she’s still quite young in the grand prix, so having all these shows one after another has been very good for her. She’s matured enormously this season. She was so calm and so wonderful to ride tonight.”

Petersen also felt that Mariett was at the top of her game tonight. Of his ride, he commented, “I think tonight she was the best to ride that she has been, actually. I have a little thing at the moment with my piaffes: I have to keep them a little forward. And that’s a little bit expensive, but I’m very happy with her tonight.”

Petersen has used his trademark circus-themed music for his freestyle for the past two years, but tweaked the choreography at the end of the season. He edited the one and two tempi changes, originally performed on a 20 meter circle in the middle of the arena before another line of two tempis.

“I’m getting too old to be riding that many tempis on a 20 meter circle!” Petersen joked. “That’s very difficult to do, and it’s such a big risk. You get one mistake in 31 tempis [and it can be costly], so that’s why I took it out. It’s too risky.”

Megan Lane and Caravella Earn Top Call in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*

Young professionals ruled in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 3*, with Canada’s Megan Lane (22) winning the class with Caravella. The pair scored a 71.600% for the blue ribbon, while 26-year-old Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades took second with a 70.250%. Third place went to Gary Vander Ploeg (CAN) and Degas for their score of 68.350%.

Watch Megan Lane and Caravella in their winning Freestyle test.

Megan Lane and Caravella
Megan Lane and Caravella

“I love riding my freestyle because of the amazing atmosphere that it creates for my horse,” Lane beamed. “She goes exceptionally well, so it’s always exciting to ride it. This is actually a new freestyle for me; it’s only my second time riding it. It’s done by Jos Peters, compliments of Deeridge Equestrian, who I ride for.”

Of her Spanish-themed music, Lane continued, “It’s so much fun to ride to. The Spanish theme I acquired because I had ridden it in the Young Riders, and I think it suits her personality. I really enjoy riding to that style of music.”

Lane listed several elements of her choreography as points that raise her degree of difficulty, including piaffe and double pirouettes, one and two tempis on a circle, and an extended trot on a loop.

“There was a little mistake in the one tempis, but because of the degree of difficulty in that, something always happens! Our piaffe-passage was definitely a highlight this time, too. I’m really happy with that,” Lane explained.

Lane has her eyes on making the team for Canada in the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) later this fall, and appreciated all of the experience she has gained over the last three months at the AGDF. “The experience is priceless. The more experience we get, the more comfortable both of us are. I’m so lucky to be able to come down here and have the chance to ride multiple grand prix,” Lane said.

Second place finisher Graves agreed, noting that she and Verdades have developed immensely as a team. “I really feel like our partnership has grown. We’re having a much more adult conversation these days. He plays in the field and we play in the stall and he’s a very goofy horse to be around, but getting in the arena and right away getting to work [has noticeably improved],” Graves explained.

Graves admitted that Verdades has always been a challenge, but her hard work and patience have paid off. When she realized their recent scores could qualify her for the WEG selection trials in Gladstone, NJ, she quickly threw together a freestyle for Verdades.

“When I realized I might have the scores to get to Gladstone, obviously one of the requirements is to do a freestyle. So I threw this together, and it obviously needs a lot of tweaking, a lot of rewriting of the choreography,” Graves acknowledged.

Of her test on Friday evening, she added, “He went right into the canter pirouettes. He’s riding a lot more like a trained horse, which is nice. I can ride him right up to it and then half-halt and turn him, and he was pretty honest. Also, because I don’t really know where I’m going in there, he has to stay with me and just kind of trust that we’re going to end up where we need to be.”

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard Ace FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*

Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Wizard capped off an incredible AGDF season with another victory lap after winning the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*. The pair earned a top score of 75.588% to earn the class by a substantial margin. Second place went to fellow American Michael Barisone, who rode Ellegria to a 69.392%. Cesar Parra completed an All-American top three with Van the Man. The pair earned a score of 69.078% for third place.

Watch the winning ride for Adrienne Lyle and Wizard.

Friday afternoon’s score was another personal best for the pair; Lyle described their performance as the perfect ending to a stellar season.

“It’s been a big changing season for him because he’s been up and down and kind of all over the place [in previous years],” Lyle said. “To have the chance to come to a facility like this and show on a regular basis, and not have it be a huge ordeal [is fantastic]. You’re not putting them through a ton of transport. The footing is great, the stabling is great, so I felt comfortable showing more than I maybe have in the past. I think that’s starting to make it more workman-like and more routine.”

Lyle admitted she would have loved to ride the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, but was committed to making her long-term goals a priority. The pair needed to put in some practice in the Special leading up to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) selection trials in Gladstone, NJ.

“I felt less rusty than last time. I chose to do the Special because it is so important for Gladstone and for the WEG qualification. As much as I would have really loved the freestyle tonight, I had to keep our long-term goals in mind, and I’m really glad I did. To have a Special that solid under our belt is really helpful for both of our confidences,” Lyle shared.

Barisone was equally thrilled with Ellegria’s performance, remarking that he never have imagined he would have the success he’s experienced with her. “She’s a wonderful horse. She’s honest as the day is long. She’s very simple to ride all the time. I just never thought we would be around 70%,” Barisone expressed.

He continued, “I watch my tape [of their rides] and I say there’s at least five more percent there, at least. This is a dead green, eight grand prix under her belt horse, and I’m getting second to [Adrienne], who’s been to the Olympics with her horse. I’m happy and proud to be in there, and I think she’s got a really long way to go.”

After his two top grand prix mounts were sidelined with injuries right before the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Barisone admitted to getting a bit disheartened, but Ellegria has pulled him out of his funk.

“She’s saving me,” Barisone smiled. “It is so easy, the disappointment when they get injured. All your hope is gone and you’re like ‘Why am I doing this?’ I had the two best I’ve ever had in my life, and the two best got hurt the same week. It was awful. This thing pops up in my life, and she’s putting the faith back in me.”

Barisone added that the AGDF has brought the first truly international dressage competition to North America, which he believes will put Americans on the fast track to catching up with the Europeans.

“It takes a village to get this done. The Europeans just have a really big, organized village. I think that it takes the owners, and the riders, and everybody. It takes this kind of effort and this facility. It’s an incredible circuit. This [show] is going to be one of the things that propels us to being competitive with the Europeans. This is the village, right here,” Barisone concluded.

American Chris Hickey and Ronaldo Enjoy Top Finish in FEI Prix St. Georges

Chris Hickey (USA) and Ronaldo finished first in the FEI Prix St. Georges presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty on a score of 71.842%, followed by second place finishers Denielle Gallageher-Legrif (CAN) and Argo Conti Tyme with a score of 69.781%. Third place went to Shannon Dueck (CAN), who scored 69.561% aboard Cantaris.

Besides a few bobbles in the canter zig-zag and trot, Hickey was thrilled to see the eight-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding continue to flourish as the AGDF circuit comes to a close.

“Ronaldo felt great. His tests are getting more and more solid,” Hickey said. “He’s a very big-moving, elastic horse, so it’s hard to keep everything together sometimes. He’s very immature for an eight-year-old, but I was very pleased with the test.”

Hickey was especially happy that Ronaldo’s owner, Cecelia Stewart, was able to attend the show, and even happier that she was able to see Ronaldo do so well. On top of that, the pair bested a field of 36 riders, making the win especially meaningful for Hickey.

“I think it’s great for the sport. At the end of the season, for the last CDI to be the biggest, is just wonderful,” Hickey commented. “I was really super happy with the results and how my horse went today.”

Ronaldo has been schooling all of the grand prix movements, but Hickey described him as far from ready to be competing at that level. He’ll continue at the small tour with Ronaldo to gain strength and confidence to develop the young horse’s talent. Hickey pointed out that Ronaldo shares a Don Schufro connection on his mother’s side with Paragon, Heather Blitz’s grand prix mount, and Hickey has noticed similarities between the two.

“He’s a big, gangly, young horse still in his body. He’s not a short, smaller, really well-muscled horse. He is also [related to] Don Schufro, which is what Paragon is. If you look at him as a young horse, he was always skinny looking. Ronaldo has a long way to get strong and develop at the grand prix before he can get out and do it,” Hickey explained.

Pedigree is important to Hickey, but he believes choosing a favorable bloodline is not based on talent alone. Ronaldo has also inherited his sire, Blu Hors Romanov, and dam sire Don Schufro’s remarkable temperament.

“For an FEI horse, being a fancy mover as a young horse is not what I want. I want a horse that is going to take the work and develop and get stronger and have the gaits become more expressive and flamboyant as the horse is trained. This horse has a super temperament and a super character and a willingness to work. He goes to work and does his job every day. To me, that’s also a huge piece of what the breeding is,” Hickey explained.

Hickey is excited to see what the future holds for Ronaldo, whom he believes possesses all the features of a great FEI competitor. The pair will contest the FEI Intemediaire-1 and the FEI Intermediaire Freestyle of the AGDF 12 CDI 3*.

“Even though he’s expressive and flamboyant, his hind legs still do the right thing. He piaffes and passages at home unbelievably. You can fire him up and he’s amazing, and then you can fire him up and give him a long rein and he walks on the buckle, totally relaxed again,” Hickey concluded.

For full results and more information, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 8 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $400,000 in prize money for the six international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area for the International Arena fully catered for relaxing and having an enjoyable experience.

Please visit
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

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Equestrian Public Relations

Konyot and Lyle Victorious in Grand Prix Freestyle and Grand Prix Special at AGDF CDI5*

Wellington, Fla. – On Friday, U.S. riders again produced top finishes in Wellington, Fla. at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5* presented by Diamante Farms, as American combinations claimed victory in both the Grand Prix Freestyle and Grand Prix Special. Tina Konyot saved her best performance of the 12 week festival for last as she earned victory in the Freestyle competition, while her teammate from the winning U.S. Nations Cup effort one month ago, Adrienne Lyle, produced a an impressive effort to win the Grand Prix Special.

Grand Prix Freestyle

Konyot (Palm City, Fla) teamed up with her 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and 2012 Olympic Games veteran, Calecto V, earning the highest score of the evening to nearly break the 80% mark in front of a packed house. The 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion, who is known for strong performances in the Freestyle, did not disappoint as he earned a mark of 79.250% under the lights. With their winning performance on Friday Konyot and Calecto V close out their winter season on a high note after having earned numerous strong finishes over the last three months.

Shelley Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempel’s Doktor, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, were the second highest placed U.S. finishers in the Freestyle finishing in fourth on a score of 76.100%.

Finishing the Freestyle in second and third were Danish combinations Mikala Gundersen with My Lady and Lars Petersen on Marrietta with scores of 76.775% and 76.625%, respectively.

Grand Prix Special

For the second consecutive day, Lyle (Ketchum, ID) and Parry and Peggy Thomas’ 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding Wizard earned high marks to claim back-to-back victories on the final weekend of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. On Thursday, the 2012 Olympic veterans topped an international field in the Grand Prix and returned to The Stadium Friday afternoon to earn a score of 75.558% in the FEI Grand Prix Special Test and win the class by more than a six-point margin.

Finishing in second place was Michael Barisone (Long Valley, N.J.) and Lauren Sprieser’s 13-year-old Westfallen mare Ellegria on a score of 69.392%.

Learn more about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival here: http://www.globaldressagefestival.com/.

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard Earn First World Cup Qualifying Score with Freestyle Win

Photos: Phelps Media Group.

Wellington, FL – March 6, 2014 – Adrienne Lyle and Wizard brought enthusiastic energy to their Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night to claim the Palm Beach Dressage Derby trophy. It was the 31st anniversary of the Derby and the first time it was held at the Stadium at PBIEC as part of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).

Not only did they win the trophy with a 76.525 percent, their second highest score to date, but they also earned a qualifying score for the 2014 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final. Lyle must earn one more qualifying score to be in the running to represent North America in Lyon, France, next month. The North American representation for the 2013 Reem Acra World Cup Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden included two Canadian riders, Jacqueline Brooks and Jamie Irwin, with no athletes from the USA.

“It would be wonderful to get the chance to go to the World Cup, but it is something I will have to thoroughly discuss with my coach, Debbie McDonald,” Lyle said, adding that if she earns the two qualifying scores then a decision will be made about competing in Lyon. “Everyone involved with Wizard’s care must make sure the timing and logistics are all doable while keeping Wizard’s best interests at the forefront.”

She and Wizard, a 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer-Pika, Classiker) owned by Peggy Thomas, will go on to compete in the AGDF 10 CDI-W March 13-16 in hopes of earning the second score.

Lyle said in the short time until the next competition, she will give Wizard a little down time to relax and then practice her freestyle a bit more. She said she had a chance to ride through her new choreography only once before performing it at the CDIO3* Nations Cup where she and Wizard scored a 75.800 percent to win the individual gold medal. They then took to centerline again Saturday night with no run-throughs of the updated version of the kür since the Nations Cup.

Lyle2“I think it’s a bit more interesting, breaking up the trot and canter tour like it is now,” she said of the changes in her choreography. “It starts and ends with his strong piaffe/passage, which is exciting for the crowd and highlights his power.”

She said she was especially proud of Wizard for his strong performances two weekends in a row.

“I gave him several days off after the Nations Cup, and a day of trail riding, and only schooled before the jog on Thursday for the CDI-W,” she explained. “I was really happy that he stepped right up to the plate after the days off and performed an obedient and willing test. To me that says that he is starting to get more consistent and more understanding of his job.”

Lyle thinks the routine of showing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival series has contributed to her success this season.

“I think maybe Wizard is just starting to come into his own,” she said. “Debbie [McDonald] and I have been working with him for nine years, and it has been a long road. But I am eternally grateful to the Thomas family for giving me the chance with him and to Debbie McDonald for sticking by us and never losing faith in the partnership.”

Lyle3To keep track of her training and competition, visit her Website. ‘Like’ her on Facebook and check out her YouTube account.

Sue Weakley for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
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Adrienne Lyle Claims Another FEI Grand Prix Freestyle at AGDF Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI W

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard. Photos © SusanJStickle.com.

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Rassing’s Lonoir Best FEI Intermediaire-1

Wellington, FL – March 1, 2014 – Competition for the AGDF 8 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI W continued on Saturday with the FEI Intermediaire-1 and FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Martha W. Jolicoeur and Maria Mendelsohn of Illustrated Properties. The FEI Intermediaire-1 was topped by Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and Rassing’s Lonoir, while Adrienne Lyle and Wizard were back in the winner’s circle for the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle.

In addition to the dressage competition, spectators were treated to musical entertainment from talented young singer Kristin Sponica of the Frost School of Music at University of Miami, accompanied by Danielle Werz on keyboard, in addition to an American Mustang exhibition.

Competition for the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI W concludes Sunday with the FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle and FEI Grand Prix Special. The FEI Grand Prix Special begins at 9 a.m. at The Stadium at PBIEC, followed by the FEI Intermediaire-1 Freestyle at approximately 12:20 p.m.

Lyle (USA) and Wizard topped the class with a score of 76.525%, just edging out second place finisher Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady, who finished on a score of 76.125%. Cesar Parra (USA) and Van the Man were third with a score of 74.000%.

Mary Ann and Walter McPhail, co-founders of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, were pleased to see their beloved competition find a home at the AGDF.

“We’re very happy that the derby has evolved again, and that we’re here on this beautiful showground, and we want to thank Mark Bellissimo and all the people that have made it possible for us to be here. We appreciate it,” Mary Ann McPhail expressed.

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, was equally happy to have salvaged the Palm Beach Dressage Derby.

“It’s such an amazing legacy event in this area. The whole crew that was behind this should be proud that they did this. They were the inspiration for dressage in this community, and it’s a leadership role in this country,” Bellissimo remarked.

Bellissimo also thanked Allyn Mann of Adequan for believing in his vision of creating a world-class dressage facility in Wellington, a vision that now includes the Palm Beach Dressage Derby.

“I think [the McPhails] are the inspiration and vision behind dressage [in Wellington]. I’m honored to be able to continue that vision for them with our team,” Bellissimo explained, “and it was Allyn Mann and Adequan that shared our vision for this place.”

Lyle acknowledged that Wizard was a little on the hot side for their freestyle, but their test still went incredibly well.

“He was very hot tonight, but when you can hold it all together like that, it just gives you a phenomenal feeling. He’s like no other horse I’ve ever sat on. The power and elasticity he can offer when he’s on like that is amazing,” Lyle described.

There’s a thin line between incredibly expressive gaits and having problems when he’s hot, which Lyle is sure to carefully manage.

“He does stuff brilliantly when he’s like that, and I think it’s important for the judges to see him when he’s on his ‘A’ game and doing the impressive stuff like that. So I think it’s a fine line between him getting the quality and expression out and still keeping it under [control],” Lyle explained.

Earlier in the season, Lyle described Wizard as feeling his best ever, a statement she still stands by as the gelding starts to show his consistency.

“I still believe he is doing better now than he ever has before, and what’s been the biggest thing for him is now he’s being consistent, and I think that’s where he lacked,” Lyle commented. “He’s getting very workmanlike about it now.”

After Friday’s test, Gundersen said she would trust My Lady’s energy a bit more and really push her for the freestyle, a choice she felt paid off despite a few minor mistakes.

“I pushed her a little bit harder than I’ve done before in the freestyle, and it paid off. I had a couple little mistakes because of that also, but that’s what happens when you try harder. You take some risks, but in general I’m really happy. I’m very pleased with the score, it’s the highest score we’ve had so far, so we’re definitely going in the right direction,” Gundersen outlined.

Both rider and horse truly enjoy the freestyle, which Gundersen feels continues to improve as her horse gets stronger.

“She needs to get a little bit stronger still. We have some difficulties in the freestyle that I need to get a better score. Eventually once she’s stronger and can do the lines better and more secure, the scores will go higher,” Gundersen outlined. “The music is fantastic. Everybody loves it, I love it, the mare loves it. The choreography is just a little bit difficult still, so we have some little things.”

Cesar Parra and Van The Man
Cesar Parra and Van The Man

Parra also felt his horse was on an upward trajectory and is eager to see where Van the Man will go from here after making a few adjustments to his program.

“We tried to change a little bit the warm-up. We’re working now with Robert Dover and are looking more at different aspects. I respect his input and I think every time you change the team it takes a while to adjust, but I think we’re looking forward now to keep going up. It’s a horse of great quality and great fun, and I really love riding him and enjoy him very much,” Parra detailed.

Despite a challenging warm-up, Parra put his trust in Van knowing he often does better during the test than warming up. Riding Van has become a true joy for Parra, and he felt the test was overall very well executed.

“I trust him a lot in the ring. I love the freestyles. I’ve done many freestyles in my life, and I really enjoy the music. Besides [the half pass to the left], he was pretty on. He was very light, very easy to ride,” Parra said.

Gundersen concluded the evening by expressing her gratitude for the support of the McPhails, Equestrian Sport Productions, and all of the sponsors of the AGDF for bringing the competition to fruition.

“I just really want to thank everyone here for doing such an amazing job for us riders. Sponsoring, building this facility, they’re talking about this all over the world and we’re so lucky to be here,” Gundersen said. “I just really want to tell you how much we appreciate it.”

Earlier in the day, LaGoy-Weltz and Rassing’s Lonoir, a 10-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by the rider, finished first in the FEI Intermediaire-1 on a score of 73.596%. Americans swept the top three, with Christopher Hickey and Ronaldo earning second place with a score of 72.149% and Silva Martin and Rosa Cha W finishing third with a score of 70.439%.

Saturday’s test was the first time LaGoy-Weltz had ridden a CDI with Rassing’s Lonoir, known as “Lono” in the barn, and she was thrilled with how the gelding performed. The pair finished third in the FEI Prix St. Georges on Friday, and LaGoy was pleased to see improvement in his trot work, which can be challenging for the big-bodied gelding.

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Rassing's Lonoir
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Rassing’s Lonoir

“He definitely clicked into a much fancier place today than he did yesterday in his trot. Clearly he still deals with some excitement or tension in the canter, but I went through that went I first started showing him nationally as well. We dealt with that in the [national] horse shows and now it’s just going to be a phase of dealing with it and him learning to breathe and let go,” LaGoy-Weltz described.

The finer points of the test were where LaGoy-Weltz saw the biggest improvements, particularly with how Lono dealt with the CDI atmosphere.

“It’s the little details, like how he went around the ring on the outside. The fact that we trotted in, picked up the canter, and went down centerline and nailed the halt [was great]. There’s still work to do in all of it, particularly in the canter, just his strength for the collection,” LaGoy-Weltz explained.

She continued, “He was just more relaxed. Yesterday, even just in the warm-up he wasn’t quite as connected. He just wasn’t finding his groove in the trot. He still has lovely basic gaits, but in order to click in to that other place, finding that other notch of thoroughness, and him just relaxing and letting go and me just focusing and thinking about it. He was just in a better place.”

Lono is not the first horse LaGoy-Weltz has competed at CDI level and having that experience under her belt has made this time around much less stressful.

“It’s fun for me, because I’ve done one other horse in the CDIs and he was a much hotter, spookier, more difficult horse. With Lono, since I’ve done it, I can be like ‘Oh, alright we’re through the paperwork, the jog, now it’s just riding the St. Georges in another ring or the I-1 in another ring.’ So I can be a lot less like, ‘Oh my god, it’s a CDI.’ It’s nice that I’ve gotten to that point,” LaGoy-Weltz smiled.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 8 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $400,000 in prize money for the six international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area for the International Arena fully catered for relaxing and having an enjoyable experience.

Please visit
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

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Equestrian Public Relations

Nations Cup Gold Medalists Adrienne Lyle and Wizard Look Forward to World Cup Qualifiers

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard in a canter pirouette. Photos by Meg McGuire.

Wellington, FL – February 26, 2014 – Adrienne Lyle and Wizard, who swept the gold medals last weekend at the Stillpoint Farm CDIO3* Nations Cup, are back at work training for their next competition.

By notching the highest scores in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special of 71.600 percent and 71.059 percent respectively, they helped Team USA 1 secure the Nations Cup gold medal. Their high marks earned Lyle and Wizard the right to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle, and they scored a 75.800 percent to lead the way among all large and small tour freestyle riders and win the individual gold medal.

Instead of resting on her laurels, Lyle is back at work. She hopes to earn qualifying scores for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final and will compete Feb. 28 – March 2 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 8 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W and March 13-16 at the AGDF 10 CDI-W.

Wizard had a few days off to relax and then Lyle set him back to work with some light trail riding. Although she has goals, she is careful to monitor Wizard, who suffered a bone bruise in his foot a year ago after the 2013 World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach.

“I have declared for the World Cup, so if Wizard seems fresh and ready to go, I will compete in the upcoming CDI-Ws,” she said. “But the main priority is Wizard’s health and happiness – mentally and physically. He is getting to a point in his career now where he really knows his job and I don’t have to school him long or very much. I can play with some stuff in the ring, then give him a day or two of hacks and trail rides. He lets me know what he feels like, and it’s my job to listen to him.”

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard during the 2014 Stillpoint Farm CDIO3* Nations Cup
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard during the 2014 Stillpoint Farm CDIO3* Nations Cup

Lyle’s coach, Debbie McDonald, said the road to Wizard’s recovery was long, but they took their time and made sure he was fully recovered before putting him back into training.

“We’ve taken our time and done everything we can to make sure we are completely in the right place at the right time,” McDonald said.

Lyle explained her low-key training philosophy with Wizard. “I try to keep the training playful and never drill or over-tax him,” she said. “I keep it short and to the point. I should never have to work him longer than about 20 minutes in the arena. Then we can go do trot sets in the field for cardio fitness, or go for a leisurely trail ride for him to relax and unwind.”

She said she also spent a lot of time suppling the gelding in the warm-up before the Nationals Cup competition.

“Wizard was being a little ‘spicy’ in the warm up, as the music and riding under the lights can get him pretty wound up,” she said. “Then when it came time to go in the ring, Debbie said, ‘OK, now ride him up to contact and keep him with you.’  I believe her last words were, ‘Hang on, girl!’ as Wizard went trotting through the in-gate.”

“I just need to keep Wizard relaxed and confident in the ring,” she continued. “I need to keep him mentally fresh and happy. His wellbeing is my priority, and with the competitions as close together as they are, I’m not going to have much time to train in between. He needs his rest and I need to trust in our training we have done up to this point.”

Besides competing for top scores in World Cup qualifiers, Lyle also hopes to qualify for the selection trials for the World Equestrian Games in Gladstone, NJ, this summer. She and McDonald are confident in Wizard and Lyle added that they are also working on bringing up some promising young horses.

“More than likely, it will be several years before I may be back out in the international ring with any of them,” she said. “My dream would be to have another horse as talented as Wizard. I hope one day to be trying out for the World Equestrian Games, Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals and Olympic Games on another talented horse.”

To read more about Adrienne Lyle, click here.

Follow her on Facebook here.

Sue Weakley for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Blvd #105
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Lyle and Wizard Golden in Freestyle Competition at Wellington Nations Cup CDIO3*

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard (SusanJStickle.com)

Konyot and Calecto V Third

Wellington, Fla. – The Wellington Nations Cup CDIO3* sponsored by Stillpoint Farm, held in conjunction with the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, came to a conclusion on  Friday evening in front of a packed house with riders vying for Individual medals in Freestyle competition. Small Tour and Big Tour combinations went head-to-head, with the Ground Jury of Anne Gribbons, Gabriel Armando, Cesar Torrente, Lorraine MacDonald, and Bo Jena judging all competitors to determine Individual honors. The U.S. had strong representation in the Grand Prix with four of the six entries flying the American flag, while in the Small Tour two up-and-coming combinations represented the United States.

For the third consecutive day Adrienne Lyle and Wizard could not be beaten as they posted a score of 75.8% in the Grand Prix Freestyle to earn the Gold medal. The competition for the top spots on Friday were incredibly close with the top three all finishing within one point of each other. Lyle’s teammate from the winning USA I Nations Cup team, Tina Konyot, joined her on the podium, finishing in third place. Splitting the American podium finishes was Juan Matute Jr. of Spain with Don Diego Ymas in the Intermediaire I Freestyle Test on a score of 75.325%.

Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) and Peggy Thomas’ 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding had the crowd’s full attention throughout their performance set to some of the most popular music from the 1970s. Throughout the test, Wizard’s ground covering and expressive gaits were on display and the maturity the impressive gelding has developed over the past 12 months shown through as he remained rideable during the entirety of the test.

The pair showed brilliant work on Friday night, particularly in their rhythmic piaffe and, passage as well as introducing added difficulty by completing double pirouettes. The pair looked on track to score in the high 70s until a bobble in the one-time changes and stumble during their final extended trot.

“I was thrilled with my Freestyle; he can be a bit spicy, especially in the Freestyle,” said Lyle. “I think he was the most rideable he’s ever been in a Freestyle (tonight).”

Lyle always enjoys riding her Freestyle and believes Wizard rises to the occasion as the crowd gets involved with the music.

“I really like my music. Everyone gets into it and is whooping and hollering and he feeds on it, so do. It’s really fun.”

Tina Konyot and Calecto V (SusanJStickle.com)
Tina Konyot and Calecto V (SusanJStickle.com)

Finishing in third place on 75.2%, Konyot (Palm City, Fla.) and her own 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion proved why they have been among the top U.S. Grand Prix combinations for the last four years with another solid performance on Friday night. Riding to their trademark music which includes KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” they added levels of difficulty throughout the test as they executed one time changes on a half circle as well extended canter into piaffe and piaffe pirouettes.

“I think this is the first time I have been thrilled to be third, I usually like to win but I’m very excited to be third tonight, this was so exciting,” said Konyot. “To see all these people here to watch dressage was incredible.”

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempl’s Doktor produced a solid effort on Friday night in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle to score 73.4% and finish in fourth place. The 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding has continued to improve in his second year at the Grand Prix level and in their test set to an upbeat soundtrack showed immense potential for the future.

Leading off the Grand Prix Freestyle on Friday was Catherine Haddad-Staller (Califon, N.J.) and her own Mane Stream Hotmail. The 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding demonstrated solid piaffe and passage to score 69.8% and finish in eighth place for their up-tempo test.

Silva Martin (Unionville, Pa.) closed out her debut U.S. Nations Cup performance with a ninth place finish in Friday’s Freestyle, riding the Rosa Cha W Syndicate’s Rosa Cha W to a score of 69.325% in the Intermediaire I Freestyle. The 10-year-old Warmblood mare showcased athletic trot work, with Martin increasing the technicality of the canter work to include flying changes on a circle, two-time changes, and solid pirouettes. Martin and Rosa Cha were awarded a 69.325% for their test that was set to current Top-40 hits.

Shawna Harding (Aiken, S.C.) led-off the U.S. effort on Friday evening performing an up-tempo Intermediaire I Freestyle with Tonya Rowe’s Rigo. The pair executed a near flawless test to a compellation of hits from the 1970s which featured an enhanced level of difficulty including the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding performing two-time changes on the centerline. They finished the Freestyle in 11th place with a score of 68.7%.

Watch the Wellington Nations Cup CDIO3* sponsored by Stillpoint Farm live and find Video-on-Demand on USEFNetwork.com presented by SmartPak here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/2014AGDF/.

To learn more about the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, visit: http://www.globaldressagefestival.com/.

Follow the U.S. Dressage Team here: http://www.usefnetwork.com/featured/USDressageTeam/.

By Helen Murray