Sept. 17, Saugerties, N.Y.
Wizard’s trip to Saugerties, N.Y., involved a 17-hour drive to Los Angeles, a five-hour flight across the country, a trailer ride to Gladstone, N.J., and then another trailer ride north. But Wizard and his rider Adrienne Lyle are making the most of their time competing on the East Coast, placing third in the Saugerties CDI-W Grand Prix yesterday and then winning the Grand Prix freestyle today (74.92%) over Catherine Haddad and Winyamaro.
“I was really happy today. It was my first time riding him to that music. He was really honest and really with me,” said Lyle. “It was a clean ride, and I thought he was probably the most rideable he’s been in a freestyle.”
Lyle was also pleased about showing improvement over Friday's Grand Prix test.
“Yesterday we had some really good moments, and then we had some major mistakes like breaking to canter in the extended trot,” said Lyle. “It wasn’t the difficult points, but the parts where he should be shining we really lost points, and that knocked our score down. I wasn’t unhappy with him yesterday; it was more about having little communication errors.
“We’re really trying to get him to have a little more power, and we’re taking more risks going forward in the ring. And you have to do that to learn how to do it. Today he was more relaxed, and I knew a little more where to push and where to relax. He was much more harmonious today,” she continued.
This was the first time Wizard, a 12-year-old Oldenburg (Weltmeyer—Pica, Classiker), and Lyle, 26, performed this particular freestyle together, but it’s not an entirely new piece of music.
“I used it briefly on another Grand Prix horse, Felix, and he’s not competing now,” said Lyle. “We were working on a new freestyle for Wizard for next year, and then we thought, ‘Oh, let’s try this,’ and it seemed to fit him really well. Terry Gallo did it originally, and she tweaked the tempo a little from Felix to Wizard.”
Lyle works as Debbie McDonald’s assistant trainer at Peggy and Parry Thomas' River Grove Farm in Hailey, Idaho. The Thomases also own Wizard, who is coming back from some time off after having part of a splint bone removed last winter. Lyle and Wizard recently won the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the CDI in Estes Park, Colo. The pair also performed a Grand Prix test ride at the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival Of Champions in Gladstone, N.J., a few weeks ago.
“He popped a splint after Gladstone last year,” she said. “We gave him the time off to heal naturally, and it just kept coming up a little bit sore. We decided to have the lower part of the splint bone taken out, and that was done in December. He’s been rehabbing since then. But he’s been 100 percent sound since then, so we definitely made the right decision there.”
Next, Lyle, Wizard and McDonald will head to Dressage At Devon (Pa.), and then fly back to Idaho for a few months before going to California in mid-November.
Sandokan Sets The Pace In Intermediaire I
Caroline Cheret admits that Sandokan isn’t always the easiest horse—but that’s part of what makes him brilliant. “He was kind of hot going around the ring today, but I think we’re starting to understand each other, and he’s starting to listen to me when he’s inside. He’s very hot, but when he puts that to work he’s just great,” she said.
Cheret, Ringoes, N.J., and Sandokan, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Ferro—Hiscoline) owned by Ruth and Elliot Sigal, earned a 68.72 percent to win the Intermediaire I over yesterday’s Prix St. Georges winners Sharon McCusker and Wrigley. Based in Ringoes, N.J., Cheret trains with her husband Stephan.
“I had a great ride,” Caroline said. “I was so happy with him. The canter is really his best gait, and that was the highlight today. He was good in the Prix St. Georges, but we had a couple of mistakes, and we ended up fourth. Again, when he starts being too hot, he loses the attention. He can just lose me, and he makes little mistakes. The more we’re doing it, he really starts to understand that once he’s in there he has to stay focused.”
Jonathan Wentz, a Grade 1b rider, is currently leading the USEF Para-Equestrian Dressage National Championships aboard Kai Handt's NTEC Richter Scale after scoring a 71.51 percent in the Team test (worth 40 percent) and a 71.00 percent in the freestyle (worth 20 percent). Dale Dedrick, riding Bonifatus in the Grade II division, is sitting second. The riders will all complete their Individual tests tomorrow, which are also worth 40 percent of the overall championship score.
Results available at Fox Village.