Feb. 23—Wellington, Fla.
It’s been six months since Adrienne Lyle and Betsy Juliano’s Salvino cantered down centerline at the Tokyo Olympic Games, but you wouldn’t know it from their performance Wednesday night at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix for the Special.
While their score of 76.50% wasn’t their best, Lyle was happy to be back in the ring and under the lights in front of hundreds of spectators—this time at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
“I’m incredibly happy with him,” she said. “It’s so wonderful to be here at this venue. Honestly that was one of his better tests we’ve ever done. I’m really happy with it. It may not have been our best score posted, but I thought the feeling—I’m thrilled with him.”
Lyle, 37, and the 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Sandro Hit—Dynastie, Donnerhall) topped the five-horse class ahead of Ashley Holzer and Valentine (70.69%).
Watch their winning test here.
After the Olympics, all the team horses had a fall vacation, Lyle said. She and “Vinny” headed back to their home base in Colorado.
“He did a lot of trail riding and turnout and a couple months of being down and then starting to build the fitness back,” she said. “I’ve had him for enough years now that we kind of know how far out from the first show we want to start upping the work, so we followed that plan knowing we were going to target the five-star.”
During their downtime, Lyle and the stallion worked with Debbie McDonald on fine-tuning some details.
“With him, he’s got so much power and movement that I’m always trying to just perfect that balance so it looks seamless through the transitions, and we can contain all that power,” she said. “[Debbie] was very happy with tonight’s ride. If the boss is happy, I’m happy. She’s not easy to please! I thought his passage-piaffe is always quite strong. I watched the video back, and I thought it looked very rhythmic and smooth in and out of the transitions. He didn’t really put a foot wrong or have mistakes, so I can’t complain.”
Lyle and Vinny will do their CDI5* Grand Prix Special on Friday night under the lights.
With Vinny feeling solid and fit, Lyle will target one to two more CDIs at AGDF to qualify for the ECCO FEI World Dressage Championships (Denmark), and may head to the World Equestrian Center—Ocala or Tryon International Equestrian Center (North Carolina) for a final show if needed.
Germany’s Frederic Wandres and Bluetooth OLD earned their fourth CDI Grand Prix win this season when they topped the evening’s CDI5* Grand Prix for the freestyle (74.63%) class.
The 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Bordeaux 28—Lorena, Riccione) is owned by Sergey Knyaginichev and Elena Knyaginicheva.
“I’m very happy. I had no mistakes at all,” said Wandres, 34. “He gave me a super feeling, and it was our personal best. And then in a five-star that’s already something I’ve been building up to this season, so delivering that score is something we’re working for daily and makes our whole team happy.”
Watch their winning test here.
He’s been partnered with the gelding since early 2021 and says the horse enjoys the atmosphere under the lights.
“We are good friends, and it’s a super partnership,” he said. “When you know your horse you can feel that they like [the atmosphere at the show,] and you can push a little bit and feel themselves wanting to shine, like that is our moment. For sure the horses can then bring it to the arena and shine better and be more impressive.”
After he finishes this weekend, Bluetooth OLD will have some downtime and then start preparing for the German World Championships trials at the end of April.