West Palm Beach, Fla., Jan. 28—Adrienne Lyle was wearing an ear-to-ear grin as she finished up her Grand Prix Special test at the World Dressage Masters with Wizard, and it’s a safe bet she won’t stop smiling anytime soon.
Just 27 years old, Lyle has never ridden in a World Dressage Masters before. “I’m so thrilled with the outcome. My horse handled everything beautifully in there. It was one of the quietest, most sophisticated tests. He felt happy and relaxed in there,” she said.
Lyle earned the top spot on 73.24 percent over Heather Blitz and Paragon (72.04%) and Todd Flettrich on Otto (69.93%).
She had the choice of riding in the freestyle after her fourth-placed finish in the Grand Prix test, but she opted for the Special to get her final qualifying score for the Olympic selection trials.
“By doing this now, I should I have all my qualifications out of the way. Then we can do what we want with the rest of the season, focus on training, pick and choose our competitions, and not have to worry about getting that last score,” said Lyle. “We all know with horses that something could come up. If we ended up being one score shot, we would have really kicked ourselves for missing that opportunity.”
Blitz was also pleased to start knocking out qualification requirements.
“Not to mention, my freestyle is still just a rough draft,” she said. “I’ve watched it on video about 1000 times because I love it so much. But I have not gone through it yet, so it might be a little unfair to my very young superstar Grand Prix horse.”
But Blitz couldn’t have been more pleased with Paragon’s performance in three Grand Prix tests over three days. “It was a huge honor to ride in this competition. Who would have thought that when I was just in the small tour in October that I’d not only be in the Grand Prix scoring in the 70s, but also in the Masters. It’s pretty amazing,” she said.
Blitz also enjoyed watching her former Grand Prix ride, Otto, competing with Flettrich.
“It’s great to see them, she said. “I haven’t seen them for a while now. It was a little hard concentrating on my warm-up because I was so enthralled with Otto. I love that horse. I always have. If Todd ever wants to go on vacation, I’ll be there to ride his horse for him. It was great to have not only two riders from Louisiana, but also two horses bred in Louisiana.”
Flettrich hadn’t competed Otto since the Aachen CHIO (Germany) last July.
“He’s been a Grand Prix horse for quite a few years now, and I wanted him to be refreshed and get his youth back,” said Flettrich. “So we gave him some time off, and this is our first competition since July. I thought he went very well. I had a great time. It always could be better, but I had a great time, and he was super.”
Find complete results on the World Dressage Masters website.
The freestyle starts at 7:30. Liz Austin and Lauren Sprieser will be live blogging on chronofhorse.com.
Watch the freestyle live on USEFNetwork.com.