Adrienne Lyle was the first down the centerline for the Developing Prix St. Georges division on Betsy Juliano's 9-year-old Oldenburg mare Horizon (Hotline - Revue, Don Schufro) setting the stage and the standard for the class maintaining their lead with a 74.649 a field of 14. All top 6 placed horses were in the 70's showing the depth of a program in the USA which culminated in a Bronze Medal for the US Dressage Team in Rio.
"I don't really think I could ask for more from her," Lyle explained. The duo had been out of the ring since qualifying in March. "You try to be really picky at home and then you just hope you're not rusty when you go in there. She was just spot on for me and I couldn't have asked for more from her."
With her long time coach an mentor Debbie McDonald gone most of the summer with her students Laura Graves and Katy Perry Glass assisting with the US Team throughout the European Tour and at the Olympics, Lyle was on her own. They did their virtual training with videos Lyle would upload hoping she "wasn't messing up."
Though Horizon has experience in the young horse program from her previous rider George Williams where they won the 4-year-old Reserve Championship, this is Lyle's first year competing at the Markel/USEF Young & Developing Horse National Championships.
"I didn't want to throw her right out into the open CDI's first because it's been all about developing her confidence in the ring," Lyle said. "I think it is paying off because she's gone from being a little bit nervous and hot feeling to feeling like she really loves it in there now. This championship gives us a good goal and it was a good stepping stone for going into the open CDI's this coming season."
Lisa Wilcox and Gallant Reflection HU (Galant Du Serein - Rohmanie, Rohdiamant), a 7-year-old Zweibrucker stallion owned by Horses Unlimited Inc. earned a score of 71.140 percent to place second. "I was very impressed that he was as focused as he was because he got a little spooked coming in. I'm going to try for basically the same thing on Saturday as today, and I won't be changing much."
Cesar Parra earned a 70.658 percent on his 8-year-old Oldenberg gelding Fashion Designer OLD (Faustinus - Forst-Design, De Niro) to place third. The pair are no strangers to the championships at Lamplight as Fashion Designer won the national championship as a 5-year-old.
"I love the young horse program," Parra explained. "It's an incentive to keep doing things in the right way, in the right line, because there are no shortcuts. If you try to rush these young horses and try to show them in these classes without having the basics you won't be successful. They start growing up and learning their job and loving it so I think it's a beautiful program."