Wellington, FL - March 6, 2014 - Adrienne Lyle and Wizard brought enthusiastic energy to their Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday night to claim the Palm Beach Dressage Derby trophy. It was the 31st anniversary of the Derby and the first time it was held at the Stadium at PBIEC as part of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF).
Not only did they win the trophy with a 76.525 percent, their second highest score to date, but they also earned a qualifying score for the 2014 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Final. Lyle must earn one more qualifying score to be in the running to represent North America in Lyon, France, next month. The North American representation for the 2013 Reem Acra World Cup Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, included two Canadian riders, Jacqueline Brooks and Jamie Irwin, with no athletes from the USA.
"It would be wonderful to get the chance to go to the World Cup, but it is something I will have to thoroughly discuss with my coach, Debbie McDonald," Lyle said, adding that if she earns the two qualifying scores then a decision will be made about competing in Lyon. "Everyone involved with Wizard's care must make sure the timing and logistics are all doable while keeping Wizard's best interests at the forefront."
She and Wizard, a 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer-Pika, Classiker) owned by Peggy Thomas, will go on to compete in the AGDF 10 CDI-W March 13-16 in hopes of earning the second score.
Lyle said in the short time until the next competition, she will give Wizard a little down time to relax and then practice her freestyle a bit more. She said she had a chance to ride through her new choreography only once before performing it at the CDIO3* Nations Cup where she and Wizard scored a 75.800 percent to win the individual gold medal. They then took to centerline again Saturday night with no run-throughs of the updated version of the kür since the Nations Cup.
"I think it's a bit more interesting, breaking up the trot and canter tour like it is now," she said of the changes in her choreography. "It starts and ends with his strong piaffe/passage, which is exciting for the crowd and highlights his power."
She said she was especially proud of Wizard for his strong performances two weekends in a row.
"I gave him several days off after the Nations Cup, and a day of trail riding, and only schooled before the jog on Thursday for the CDI-W," she explained. "I was really happy that he stepped right up to the plate after the days off and performed an obedient and willing test. To me that says that he is starting to get more consistent and more understanding of his job."
Lyle thinks the routine of showing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival series has contributed to her success this season.
"I think maybe Wizard is just starting to come into his own," she said. "Debbie [McDonald] and I have been working with him for nine years, and it has been a long road. But I am eternally grateful to the Thomas family for giving me the chance with him and to Debbie McDonald for sticking by us and never losing faith in the partnership."
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