The Board of Directors of The Dressage Foundation announced that, for the first time, two recipients have been chosen to receive a $25,000 Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize in the same year. Adrienne Lyle (ID) and her horse, Wizard, along with Sharon McCusker (MA) and her horse, Wrigley, were selected because they display the characteristics and qualities of being talented, committed, qualified riders whose plans are to reach and excel at the elite, international standards of high performance dressage. The $25,000 Prizes will be awarded during a special feature presentation at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby on Sunday, March 3rd, prior to the afternoon freestyle competition. Carol Lavell, founder of the Prize Fund, and members of The Dressage Foundation's Board of Directors will make the presentation.
Adrienne Lyle is based in Hailey, Idaho, where she is assistant trainer to Debbie McDonald at River Grove Farm. She started riding as a child, turned solely to dressage as a teen, and was selected to participate in The Dressage Foundation's 2005 Young Rider Olympic Dream Program trip. Adrienne has been riding Parry and Peggy Thomas' Wizard since 2007, becoming the Brentina Cup Champions in 2008. The team continued to climb the High Performance ranks, culminating in securing the individual rider spot for the U.S. at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Lyle plans to use the Prize funds to train with Klaus Balkenhol this summer in Germany, and to compete at several European CDIs, in order to continue her international dreams.
“I am so excited to have received this amazing Prize! I believe it is important to keep a presence at European competitions, to continue to challenge yourself and put yourself up against the best. I am so thankful to have this opportunity, thanks to the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize, and I know I will make the most of every minute over there,” said Adrienne.
Sharon McCusker is the owner of Souhegan Farm in Ashby, Massachusetts, and has been a dressage trainer and competitor for over 20 years. She has been on the USEF High Performance list with three self-trained FEI horses, as well as being long-listed for the World Equestrian Games with previous mount, Juli Sherif. Sharon and Wrigley have been a part of USEF's Developing Horse Program for two years and have garnered many championships and top placings in Developing Horse classes and Young Horse Grand Prix Qualifiers. With the help of the Prize money, Sharon plans to take Wrigley to Germany to train with Hubertus Schmidt, with the goal of qualifying for the 2014 World Equestrian Games and the 2016 Olympic Games.
Sharon said, “I am thrilled to have received the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize! The timing of this could not have been better for the development of Wrigley. Having the opportunity to train and compete in Europe with him in his first year at Grand Prix is fabulous. It will allow me to really get the best start possible for Wrigley with consistent top coaching and exposure to top class riding. He is my ‘once in a life time horse’ and this Prize will help me to bring him to his full potential. Thank you Carol Lavell and The Dressage Foundation for offering such a generous grant. I look forward to the training and to bringing back and sharing all that I garner during my time in Europe.”
Further details about The Dressage Foundation’s Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize can be found here. The application deadline is December 13th of each year. For more information about The Dressage Foundation, please contact Jenny Johnson at (402) 434-8585 or visit our website.