Wellington, FL - Adrienne Lyle, 27, and Wizard took the top award at the Global Dressage Festival (GDF) in the FEI Grand Prix at the $120,000 5* West Palm Beach, presented by Diamante Farms. Their score of 73.021% placed them well above Anja Plonzke of Germany on Le Mont d'Or, who received 71.851% to come in second, and Ashley Holzer of Canada on Breaking Dawn with 70.957% for third place. Lyle works as an assistant trainer for Debbie McDonald at Peggy and Parry Thomas' River Grove Farm. She and McDonald brought six horses for the Florida winter, among them Wizard (Weltmeyer - Pica, Classiker). Lyle was given the ride on Wizard because her height was a better fit with the gelding. "Debbie is tiny and Wizard is huge so she said, 'Why don't you try him?' And we just clicked," Lyle said of the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding. Lyle and Wizard proved that they belong among the twenty elite competitors in the Grand Prix. A month ago they were having some struggles in the piaffe - passage movements at the GDF show grounds, but have made a strong comeback in the 5*.
"He feels like he is back to his old self, even a bit better," said Lyle. "He had a sore back so we gave him a month off. I just wanted to get him back in the ring and develop his confidence again. I was happy with him."
Lyle commented on how satisfied she has been competing at the new show grounds in Florida, "It definitely has more of an electric atmosphere. It's really well thought-out for the riders, grooms, and horses. The stabling is impeccable. There are so many small, well thought-out things. It's an amazing atmosphere."
Wizard also won the Champion Equine Insurance Dressage Style Award given to the horse that received the highest collective marks (scores) in Gaits, Impulsion, Submission, Rider Position and Seat.
Adrienne Lyle and Wizard
The 5* West Palm Beach continues on Friday with the FEI Olympic Grand Prix Special starting at 9:00 AM. The FEI Grand Prix Freestyle class will be held on Friday evening. A spectator favorite, the Freestyle showcases horses "dancing" to the music while performing intricate dressage movements. Festivities begin at 7:30 with a spectacular opening ceremony by Ukiproduction that will feature a DJ, a laser show and "silk dancers!"
Admission, stadium seating, and general parking are all free. Valet parking is available for a fee. For a VIP experience, spectators can reserve a seat in the Global Pavilion for $150 on Friday night. Pavilion guests will be treated to a dinner buffet with an open bar while watching the Freestyle. To make reservations, please call Annette Goyette at 561-784-1120. Pavilion tickets may also be purchased at the door.
The Global Dressage Festival also includes a National Horse Show that takes place Friday, March 30 through Sunday, April 1. Classes range from the USDF Training Level up through the national Grand Prix level.
For more information and ride times for the $120,000 5* West Palm Beach, presented by Diamante Farms, and National Show please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com