Wellington, FL - At the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach, Adrienne Lyle of the United States bested the international field to win the Grand Prix Special at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center on Saturday afternoon. The 26 year old Idaho-based rider scored 73.244% riding Wizard, a 13 year old Oldenburg gelding owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas. "My horse handled everything beautifully. I'm really excited and happy," said Lyle, who placed fourth in Friday's WDM Nürnberger Grand Prix, and was eligible to compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle, though she opted to ride in the Grand Prix Special instead. "As much as I would have liked to ride in the freestyle, I need a Grand Prix Special qualifying score for the Olympic Selection Trials," she explained.
Also choosing to compete in the Grand Prix Special with impressive results was Heather Blitz of the United States, who placed second with her nine year old Danish Warmblood gelding Paragon. Fewer than three months ago, Blitz and Paragon had won team gold and individual silver at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, which are at Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I level, not Grand Prix.
"Who would have thought that just a few months ago I was in the small tour?" she said. "Now I am not only in the Grand Prix, but scoring over 70 in the Masters." Blitz and Paragon received 72.044% for their Grand Prix Special test, which was their first in a CDI. Third place went to fellow American Todd Flettrich and Cherry Knoll Farm's Otto, who received a score of 69.933%. The five member FEI Ground Jury consisted of Jayne Ayers (USA), Stephen Clarke (GBR), Wim Ernes (NED), Liselotte Fore (USA), and Isabelle Judet (FRA).
The audience for the Grand Prix Special was similarly impressive to the previous day's Grand Prix, which may have set records for attendance in North American Dressage. "We had probably 1,500 people today," said WDM co-founder and CEO Anthony Kies. "I think the turn-out is fantastic, and tonight we will see a sold out house."
The grand finale of 2012 WDM Palm Beach is the Exquis Grand Prix Freestyle on Saturday evening, where eight of the world's top ranked horses and riders will compete for a share of the €70,000 Euros in prize money for that class. A total of €100,000 ($130,000) at each WDM competition makes the WDM presented by Axel Johnson Group the richest dressage series in the world.
Live streaming video will continue to bring WDM Palm Beach action to fans around the world on Saturday evening. In addition to their broadcast at www.internationalpoloclub.com, IPC Palm Beach has created a smartphone application that will be available at the Jim Brandon Center. The application will provide live stream video of the competition, as well as up-to-the-minute information about the competitors and results. USEF Network's live streaming coverage can be found at www.usefnetwork.com. Eurosport will also broadcast a feature about the WDM Palm Beach on the February 22nd episode of Wednesday Selection.
World Dressage Masters Goes to Frankfurt
During a press conference following the Grand Prix Special at the 2012 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach on Saturday, January 28th, WDM CEO Anthony Kies announced that the Frankfurt CDI5* will be part of the WDM circuit, beginning December 12th to 16th, 2012.
The Frankfurt CDI5* is the only indoor equestrian competition in the world that is held for the benefit of UNICEF. It will also become the only indoor competition in the 2012 WDM Calender which has three outdoor events: Palm Beach (USA), Munich (GER) and Falsterbo (SWE). Hickstead has been postponed to 2013 due to its date conflict with the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
We feel very honoured to have this collaboration with the Linsenhoff family and UNICEF," said WDM Managing Director John van de Laar. "This is an important milestone, for WDM and equestrian sport worldwide." More detail about this exciting collaboration will follow in the coming weeks.