WELLINGTON, Fla.--Adrienne Lyle brought out her top horse, Salvino, for the first time this season in the the Grand Prix CDI4*, marking the start of their bid for a Tokyo Olympics place.
They led the class with a commanding 76.87 percent, their equal second highest-ever score in this test.
Another Olympic hopeful, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz finished second with 72.935 percent on Lonoir and Lindsay Kellock of Canada was third on Sebastien with 69.826 percent.
Lyle’s test on Betsy Juliano’s 13-year-old stallion by Sandro Hit was a masterclass in harmony, and it was rewarded with a number of nines, particularly for the light-footed passage and piaffe.
The pair — who have not competed since Aachen in July 2019 — garnered a high score of 79.239 percent from the judge at C, Germany’s Henning Lehrmann.
“I’M THRILLED with him; that’s one of the best feelings I’ve had in there,” said Lyle, who is ranked 20th in the world with Salvino. “He feels so happy and super excited to be here. Ever since he came on the grounds he’s been puffed up and ready to go and I was really happy with how focused he was despite all of his energy; it’s a great combination to be able to ride. It’s the balance that we’re always trying to find: to have that hotness and that fire and still have him be really rideable, with no mistakes, a clean test and focused was just wonderful.”
Of her decision not to compete in the previous week’s five-star CDI, she said: “In a year like this, you have to come out strong, especially when we did have a bit of a break. I really wanted to make sure everyone knows that he’s been fit and great and he really does feel good. We’re just trying to think of the big picture and always make the best decisions for him, so for fitness reasons we decided that the best plan would be to give him one more week of building up his fitness.”
After Aachen, Salvino travelled to Kylee Lourie’s farm in Denver, Colo., for some down time.
The pair arrived in Wellington on Nov. 1 and have been training with Debbie McDonald, preparing for this 2020 season debut.
Salvino’s schedule consists of lessons two or three times a week, as well as sessions on the Aquatread and conditioning work in the jumping field at Kylee Lourie’s TyL Farm, just down the road from AGDF.
“It’s all about keeping his body and his mind happy,” added Lyle. “Our big goal is to qualify to go with the US riders to Europe in the hopes of trying to qualify for Tokyo. There’s a lot of stars that have to align for that, but mapping out our big goal, that’s what we’d love to shoot for.”