Nations Cup Gold Medalists Adrienne Lyle and Wizard Look Forward to World Cup Qualifiers
Written by: Sue Weakley
Client: Adrienne Lyle http://www.adriennelyle.com
Release Date: 2014-02-26
Wellington, FL- February 26, 2014 – Adrienne Lyle and Wizard, who swept the gold medals last weekend at the Stillpoint Farm CDIO3* Nations Cup, are back at work training for their next competition.
By notching the highest scores in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special of 71.600 percent and 71.059 percent respectively, they helped Team USA 1 secure the Nations Cup gold medal. Their high marks earned Lyle and Wizard the right to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle, and they scored a 75.800 percent to lead the way among all large and small tour freestyle riders and win the individual gold medal.
Instead of resting on her laurels, Lyle is back at work. She hopes to earn qualifying scores for the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final and will compete Feb. 28-March 2 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) 8 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W and March 13-16 at the AGDF 10 CDI-W.
Wizard had a few days off to relax and then Lyle set him back to work with some light trail riding. Although she has goals, she is careful to monitor Wizard, who suffered a bone bruise in his foot a year ago after the 2013 World Dressage Masters CDI5* Palm Beach.
“I have declared for the World Cup, so if Wizard seems fresh and ready to go, I will compete in the upcoming CDI-Ws,” she said. “But the main priority is Wizard’s health and happiness - mentally and physically. He is getting to a point in his career now where he really knows his job and I don't have to school him long or very much. I can play with some stuff in the ring, then give him a day or two of hacks and trail rides. He lets me know what he feels like, and it's my job to listen to him.”
Lyles’ coach, Debbie McDonald, said the road to Wizard’s recovery was long, but they took their time and made sure he was fully recovered before putting him back into training.
“We’ve taken our time and done everything we can to make sure we are completely in the right place at the right time,” McDonald said.
Lyle explained her low-key training philosophy with Wizard. “I try to keep the training playful and never drill or over-tax him,” she said. “I keep it short and to the point. I should never have to work him longer than about 20 minutes in the arena. Then we can go do trot sets in the field for cardio fitness, or go for a leisurely trail ride for him to relax and unwind.”
She said she also spent a lot of time suppling the gelding in the warm-up before the Nationals Cup competition.
“Wizard was being a little ‘spicy’ in the warm up, as the music and riding under the lights can get him pretty wound up,” she said. “Then when it came time to go in the ring, Debbie said, ‘OK, now ride him up to contact and keep him with you.’ I believe her last words were, ‘Hang on, girl!’ as Wizard went trotting through the in-gate.”
“I just need to keep Wizard relaxed and confident in the ring,” she continued. “I need to keep him mentally fresh and happy. His wellbeing is my priority, and with the competitions as close together as they are, I'm not going to have much time to train in between. He needs his rest and I need to trust in our training we have done up to this point.”
Besides competing for top scores in World Cup qualifiers, Lyle also hopes to qualify for the selection trials for the World Equestrian Games in Gladstone, NJ, this summer. She and McDonald are confident in Wizard and Lyle added that they are also working on bringing up some promising young horses.
“More than likely, it will be several years before I may be back out in the international ring with any of them,” she said. “My dream would be to have another horse as talented as Wizard. I hope one day to be trying out for the World Equestrian Games, Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals and Olympic Games on another talented horse.”