Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 29
Adrienne Lyle didn’t want to say the words out loud, so she silently held knowledge of her desire for an 80 percent before entering the ring for Saturday’s CDI4* Grand Prix Special at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington.
As the penultimate rider in a class of nine, Lyle entered the ring with Salvino—as she had two days ago to win the CDI4* Grand Prix—and exited with victory, scoring her personal best of 80.17 percent to win the class.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him; he was just amazing,” said Lyle. “It was everything we’d hoped, in the back of your mind, that we’d be able to achieve today.
“He gave me another really great feel in there today,” she added. “And for the second day and a long test, I was really thrilled that he went out and tried just as hard as he did the first day, and that’s huge.”
Lyle partnered with the 13-year-old Hanoverian stallion five years ago. Betsy Juliano, Salvino’s owner, credits Lyle with knowing every inch of the horse.
“It was this show three years ago that we did our first Grand Prix,” said Lyle. “We developed him very slowly, and I’m super lucky to have the support of Betsy as an owner and Debbie [McDonald] as a trainer, who believe in developing them slowly.
“We always thought he had talent but we took our time,” she added. “We did not show him at all the first year I had him and then we started slowly working it up, knowing what was in there but waiting until he was ready to put it all together for us. He really feels like a place in his mind and body now where he’s able to just be consistent and not be stressed about doing any of it. Being confident in his own work.”
On a day of personal bests, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and the 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Lonoir scored 75.61 percent to finish second. Jennifer Schrader-Williams scored her personal best of 71.06 aboard the 17-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Millione. They took third.
A Bittersweet Win For Lockman
Sarah Lockman couldn’t hold back tears at the close of her CDI3* Grand Prix Special test with the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion First Apple. All she could think about was the horse’s owner Gerry Ibanez, who passed away in November 2019.
“I’m one of those criers, I feel so blessed just to be here,” said Lockman. “[First Apple’s] owner passed away recently, so I really wish that he could’ve been here because he would’ve been really proud. His wife and family are here supporting me, which is amazing, and I know he’s watching us. This is everything he dreamed of and helped us create, so it’s really exciting to see it all happen.”
Ibanez would be proud to know that Lockman and First Apple—in only their second CDI3* Grand Prix Special—managed to deliver a 71.12 percent, which secured them the win over 10 other combinations.
“It was really amazing,” said Lockman. “That’s only my second ever Grand Prix Special in my entire career, and that’s also that horse’s only second Grand Prix Special in his entire career, so we’re still trying to figure things out and make it even better. But he gave me 100 percent and he’s such a special horse.
“There’s a lot more in there and we’re just scratching the surface right now,” she added. “Every week there’s another notch and there’s more, so keep watching us.”
Lockman and First Apple were part of the gold medal-winning team at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Now, they’ve set their sights on team selection for the approaching Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“We found First Apple just by chance in the Netherlands,” said Lockman. “I was actually horse shopping; I do a lot of sales, so I was looking for a consignment horse, a project horse. We found him with the Dutch Olympic rider Patrick van der Meer, who’s done a lovely job with him, and is such a super rider and trainer. The horse—from the moment I sat on him—was just mine, and we had a great relationship right from the beginning, so it’s been amazing. We were beaten yesterday, but other than that the horse has a perfect record with me, which is very exciting.”
Canada’s Diane Creech and Chrevis Christo earned 70.46 percent to finish second. With a score of 69.29, Japan’s Masanao Takahashi and Eaton Unitechno took third.