Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 7
Following the FEI World Equestrian Games (North Carolina), Adrienne Lyle made Salvino a promise: he wouldn’t see a saddle for a month. She made good on her promise, and after the month was up, he was treated to lots of hacking before starting to ramp up for the winter season.
The 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Sandro Hit—Dynastie, Donnerhall) proved he hasn’t missed a beat by scoring a 74.56 percent (just off his personal best of 74.86 scored at the WEG) to win the CDI5* Grand Prix for the Special at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
“I’m really pleased with Salvino,” said Lyle. “For going in for the second time he doesn’t seem to have lost any of his spark so far this season. If anything he was a little overly enthusiastic going in, but I would much rather have too much horse to deal with than feel like he is getting flat in there . There’s a lot of things I need to polish up, but this is just the start of this season, and I’m very proud of his performance.”
Lyle went back and forth over whether she’d compete in the Grand Prix Special or the freestyle (or skip this week in favor of qualifying for the World Cup), but ultimately decided to get another Special under her belt, since it decides team medals at the Olympics next year.
“I feel like his attitude is really the best it has been in the time I have had him,” she said. “He is really enjoying going in there. To me, that is the No. 1 priority because then everything else will come along with that.”
Shelley Francis slotted into second with Danillo on a 69.47 percent.
“I was a little disappointed with my test today,” she said. “I tried doing something different in the warm-up. I tried having him a little smoother in the warm-up instead of just a little hot, and I think I should have tried to make him smoother in the test and left him hot in the warm-up. He was a good boy in some of the test. Some things improved, but we had some unfortunate incidents.”
For third-placed finisher Michael Klimke, the test wasn’t the hardest part of his day. It was surviving the awards presentation with his spicy mount Royal Dancer 33.
“I was happy with my horse today,” he said. “In the ring, he was quite well behaved, although he is a challenge. I bought this horse quite late from the breeder, and he has always been nervous, but this is a challenge I really love: how much relationship I can build with him. One day, I hope we can say ‘Let’s go in and let’s go out.’ ”
We’ll be on site all week for the five-star at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. Stay tuned for beautiful photos and stories on all the big winners.