Wellington, FL – February 11, 2017 – Week five at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival concluded its fourth day of competition on Saturday, February 11, with another win for Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Horizon in the FEI Intermediaire 1 Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Engel & Völkers.
Adrienne Lyle and Horizon, a 2007 Hanoverian mare (Hotline x Don Schufro) owned by Elizabeth Juliano, took home another victory, this time in the FEI Intermediaire 1 Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Engel & Völkers, with a score of 75.325%.
“That was my first freestyle ever with her,” Lyle revealed. “We actually just kind of pulled this together last minute. I wasn’t aware that when we entered we also had to have a freestyle, so once we got here to the show I called some friends and Katherine Bateson Chandler lent me an old freestyle of hers. This was the first time I’ve actually ridden through the whole thing. I was really happy and Horizon was really good and stayed right with me and was there for me, despite winging it.”
Lyle and Horizon were also winners of the FEI Intermediaire 1, presented by Engel & Völkers, in Friday’s competition.
Lyle has spent the past few years out of the international competition ring. Commenting on her return, she said, “I’ve been really missing it. It feels really good to get back out there.”
Olympic Bronze Medalist Steffen Peters and Bailarino, a 2008 Oldenburg gelding (Breitling x Schila x De Niro) owned by Four Winds Farm, placed second with a score of 75.100%.
“I was very happy with Bailarino. Like I said before, he is not the most motivated horse and for the third day, he still had to work a lot, but he did his job. We had one short change in the three tempis, and that was the difference between the first and second placing.”
Peters joked, “I asked Adrienne to take it easy on me. I even pulled the age card since I’m twice her age, but it obviously didn’t work!”
Placing third in the FEI I-1 Freestyle, was Jane Cleveland (USA) and Monique, a 2009 Danish Warmblood mare (Temptation x Kaprice x Matador) owned by Cleveland, with a 72.750%.
Earlier in the day, Diana Porsche (USA) and Di Sandro, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (De Niro x Gentina x Sandro) owned by Porsche, won the FEI Grand Prix 16-25 CDIU 25, sponsored by Diamante Farms, with a score of 71.535%. Second place was awarded to Anna Buffini (USA) and Sundayboy, a 1999 KWPN/Oldenburg gelding (Kennedy x Eezelma) owned by Buffini, with a score of 69.651%. Mathilde Blais Tetreault (CAN) and Utah rounded out the top three with a 65.907%.
Adrienne Lyle on Fortune and Fame. Photos copyright SusanJStickle.com.
Chris Von Martels Takes FEI Intermediaire 1 Freestyle
Wellington, FL – March 8, 2015 – Today was an exciting day at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), host of the Week 9 Palm Beach Dressage Derby’s final day of competition. For the first time at AGDF, a Derby Exhibition class was organized, providing a unique opportunity for spectators and fans to further appreciate the sport of dressage. Adrienne Lyle (USA) ultimately won the class, followed by Christoph Koschel (GER), Karen Pavicic (CAN), and Lars Petersen (DEN) respectively.
The class, formatted like a true Derby, paired riders to compete on the same horse in back-to-back tests (Koschel/Pavicic and Lyle/Petersen), with the rider receiving the highest score moving forward to the second round. Riders were given a five-minute familiarization period with the horses before performing an FEI Prix St. Georges level test. “Last year when I heard the Palm Beach Dressage Derby would be held at our venue, I had been told about the history of the show and I thought that a Derby needs a Derby (class). That’s why I set this up this year to test out how it would work,” said Thomas Baur, Director of Sport at AGDF. “It was great that we had four top riders join us, and we will work on something for next year to make the Derby class a larger part of the week.”
Christoph Koschel received the highest overall score of the class, with a 71.421% aboard Kelly Layne’s Von Primaire, which ultimately moved him to the second round to compete against Adrienne Lyle, who received a 66.579% aboard Melody Jackson’s Fortune and Fame, pushing her into the final round of competition. Lyle won the final round of the Derby, scoring a 66.816% aboard Leah Wilson’s Zango with Koschel finishing just behind on a 64.053%.
“I think that this is something for a Saturday night. It would be really fun,” said Baur. Koschel added that these competitions are fun for spectators, and there are several ways to make the class more difficult for riders. “These competitions are great because you get to see horses being ridden by different riders and like Thomas said, a derby needs a derby. They’re very popular in Germany. It would be great to add some sort of Freestyle element to the class as the final round. It would be something really nice for the crowd and make it more challenging for the riders.”
Lyle, who entered the International Ring at AGDF for the first time this season to participate in the class, was thrilled with her win and expressed the most sincere gratitude to the owners who volunteered their horses for the competition. “I was very excited when I received the invitation to compete, and it’s great fun. Thank you so much to the owners for giving us this opportunity. It was incredibly generous of them, and they put a huge amount of trust in our hands to make sure their horses had a positive experience in the ring.”
Lyle and Koschel both started the first round on large warmblood geldings, proceeding to ride the smaller Zango, a feisty P.R.E. stallion, who made both riders work for their scores. “I rode two completely different horses today. We had one bigger mover and then one little firecracker of a horse, so it was really interesting. You get a couple of minutes to warm-up and figure them out, and then you have to go in there and ride to the best of your ability. It’s a great challenge,” remarked Lyle.
The planning for next year’s event has already begun and the extra preparation time will allow Thomas Baur and his team to create a truly spectacular event. “With more time I think we can really make this class an important piece of this competition,” he stated. Karen Pavicic agreed and said the event was well received considering its inaugural year. She noted, “A lot of people were asking about it and I think there was a lot of interest, which will continue to grow as people understand what it is and the format. People were asking about live-stream and wanting to watch, which is a great thing to know for next year.”
Chris Von Martels (CAN) and Zilverstar added another FEI Intermediaire 1 Freestyle to their list of wins this year at AGDF. The pair scored a 74.950% to take home the win. Fellow Canadian Christilot Boylen and Donatella 79 finished behind Von Martels in second with a 72.050% and Silva Martin (USA) and Aesthete followed in third receiving a 71.950%. The FEI Intermediaire 1 Freestyle class was presented by Peacock Ridge.
Von Martels and “Zilver” have made a tremendous statement this circuit with their ability to perform consistently. The duo placed second this week in the large FEI Prix St. Georges class and also won the AGDF 5 I-1 Freestyle as well. “It was another fantastic week for us. He had a great result in the Prix St. Georges and actually yesterday in the I1 he was very good; we just had a big costly error, which we lost points for, but that happens. He’s been so consistent, and I’m thrilled,” he said.
The pair is steadily working towards their goal of representing Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games to be held in Toronto later this summer and will compete for Team Canada at the AGDF 12 Stillpoint Farm FEI Nation’s Cup in a few short weeks. “For myself and all of my horses, we know the areas we need to focus on in terms of training but with Zilver in particular, he’s developed a lot more strength and confidence. Now his real potential is showing, and his quality is shining,” said Von Martels.
Something Special C, 2000 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Ferro x Gicara II x Beaujolais) who placed 6th in yesterday’s FEI Grand Prix Special, ridden by Adrienne Pots, is owned by James & Elizabeth Bramsen.
AGDF 10 will host the Florida International Dressage Youth Championships beginning this week, highlighting the riding of young dressage riders from around the world, alongside FEI CDI 1*/3* competition. Classes will begin on Wednesday, March 11, and continue through Sunday, March 15. For more information on AGDF, 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 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven 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.
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard at Aachen in 2014. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photo.
Wellington, FL – January 22, 2015 – United States dressage competitor Adrienne Lyle has announced the retirement of Wizard, her Olympic and World Equestrian Games partner. The 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer-Pica, Classiker) is owned by Peggy Thomas.
Highlights of Lyle and Wizard’s long partnership include representing the United States at the 2012 London Olympic Games as well as at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, where they contributed to a fourth place team finish. They were the 2008 Brentina Cup champions.
Lyle said: “Wizard enjoys being turned out and goes in turnout daily. One day this winter after coming in to be ridden, he just didn’t feel right. After having our vet here in Florida evaluate him, it looks to be a strain in a suspensory.
“Everyone involved in Wizard’s life wants his health and happiness to be our number one priority. The Thomas family, Debbie McDonald and I made a decision that we would not push Wizard’s rehab to be ready to try for the World Cup Final this year. Given Wizard’s age, we have made the decision to get him happy and comfortable and give him the retirement he deserves.
“My partnership with Wizard began in 2007, when I came to Debbie McDonald as a working student and was given the ride on Wizard shortly thereafter. As everybody knows, it takes an amazing team to get a horse and rider to the top level of our sport, and I have had the most incredible team you could think of!
“For the past eight years, I have had the amazing support of the Thomas family, who allowed me to ride Wizard and compete him around the country and around the world. I have had Debbie McDonald’s incredible coaching every step of the way as well as Bob McDonald running the farm and handling the logistics of Wizard’s jet-setting life. Wizard took me around the world to places I never thought I’d get to be.
“I am eternally grateful to all of those involved in Wizard’s career for allowing me to have this amazing journey with him. He will return with me to the Thomases’ River Grove Farm in Idaho and join Brentina in her retirement there.”
Mary Adelaide Brakenridge for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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].”
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%.
“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 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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
“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.”