Lyle Leads U.S. Sweep of Grand Prix Special at 2012 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach
West Palm Beach, FL - It was Adrienne Lyle's time to shine at the 2012 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach. She rode a fluid and expressive test on Parry and Peggy Thomas' 12-year-old Oldenberg gelding Wizard, and scored the biggest victory of her career - winning the Grand Prix Special at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by the International Polo Club Palm Beach. She beat two U.S. Team veterans in the process, local rider Heather Blitz on Paragon was second on a score of 72.044% and veteran Todd Flettrich was third with Cherry Knoll Farm's Otto on a score of 69.933%
Lyle (Ketchum, ID) trains with American dressage legend Debbie McDonald and she and Wizard have risen through the ranks together under McDonald's tutelage. She rode with great poise in the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center's covered arena which was transformed into a dressage extravaganza
"I want to thank the Thomases and Debbie," said Lyle following her win. "It is an amazing experience to get invited here and ride against the best riders in the world. I'm so excited."
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard
(Marie Cobb/SusanJStickle.com Photo)
With the River Grove Farm team behind her, she has made the trip from Idaho to Florida to try to qualify for the 2012 USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Championships in Gladstone, NJ in June. That competition also serves as the USEF Selection Trials for the U.S. Dressage Team. It was for that reason and the qualifying requirements that she chose to ride the Grand Prix Special even though she was qualified for the evening's featured event, the Grand Prix Freestyle after her fourth place finish in the Grand Prix on Friday.
"As much as I wanted to ride the freestyle... I needed one more Grand Prix Special," said Lyle.
This combination have been together for six years, they did their first Grand Prix together in 2009 and have learned the ropes of the sport's highest level together. They won the 2008 Brentina Cup National Young Adult Championships, but this victory is the pinnacle of their career together so far.
"I'm so thrilled with the outcome. He handled everything beautifully," said Lyle. "He's an incredible horse with huge potential. We are learning a lot from each other."
Blitz was pleased with Paragon's performance in his first ever CDI Grand Prix Special and the 9-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding really rose to the occasion. The Team Gold and Individual Silver medalist from the 2011 Pan American Games has made a smooth transition from the small tour to the Grand Prix.
"It is a huge honor to ride in this competition," said Blitz
Blitz qualified for the Masters portion of the Wellington Classic Dressage CDI (running concurrently) by finishing second in the Grand Prix CDI3* on Thursday. The extravagant moving Paragon matures each time he competes.
"To score over 70% in the Grand Prix and then ride in the Masters, who would have thought it?" said Blitz.
Flettrich (Royal Palm Beach, FL) was on the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Team with Otto, a horse produced by Blitz.
"I'm so happy for Todd and Otto, it was great to see them," said Blitz.
Flettrich and Otto jumped right in the deep end considering they haven't competed together since July. The 16-year-old Danish Warmblood got a well-deserved rest after a busy few years at the sport's highest level.
"I thought I had a great ride," said Flettrich. "We haven't competed since Aachen. Otto had some time off to get refreshed and get his youth back. I thought he went very well. I had a really great time and he was super."
Please visit: http://usefnetwork.com/featured/WDM2012/ for photos and video on demand which will be posted Sunday. The Grand Prix Freestyle, with 70,000 EURO in prize money will begin on Saturday night at 7:30PM and will be live streamed on the USEF Network presented by SmartPak.
Results are available here: http://www.worlddressagemasters.com/results/palm-beach-2012-grand-prix-special
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