It’s been more than a year since Adrienne Lyle cantered down centerline on her top mount Salvino. But this experienced partnership doesn’t need show ring miles to up their game, and when Lyle did enter Betsy Juliano’s 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion for the final CDI of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, they produced a no-foolin’ performance on April 1 to earn a personal best Grand Prix score of 80.06%.
“It felt amazing,” said Lyle. “He just never ceases to amaze me with his heart; that horse has a bigger heart than any animal on this planet I think. He’s just proven time and time again that he’ll be there when I need him to be there, if we listen to him and don’t overdo it. We waited to come out last year until later in the season, and it worked, so we decided to wait again this year, and so far it’s off to a good start. Hopefully, we can put in a few more performances like that leading up to the summer.”
Watch their winning ride, courtesy of Richard’s Equine Video.
“I actually started crying after the ride, which I hardly ever do,” said Lyle. “He didn’t put a foot out of place, and he’s so amazing. I could tell he was excited and fresh. We haven’t been in there in over a year, and when he went down centerline, he focused and knew it was time to put everything aside. He really knows how to be there for you, and not many horses are like that. You don’t get to sit on many of those in a lifetime.”
Lyle, 36, Wellington, has also experienced success with her other grand prix mount, Harmony’s Duval, this year, and now she’s focused on campaigning Salvino for a spot on the U.S. dressage team for the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer.
“I am really lucky because I have two grand prix horses,” she said, “so I myself don’t feel rusty even with his time away… [U.S. Dressage Technical Advisor] Debbie [McDonald] and Betsy and I are all on the same page in the sense that he’s proven that less is more, and you have to stick to your gut. It’s hard sometimes when you’re sitting at home, you’re still six months away from the show, and you want to be working on things, but you have to tell yourself no, just keep him fit and happy, and he’ll be there when you go to the ring. So far it’s proven true.”