Saugerties, NY - Except for Gladstone, Adrienne Lyle had never shown at an East Coast CDI. Eager to check out the competition and action, she and Wizard made the long trip from Idaho to Gladstone, N.J. to their stop in the Hudson Valley worthwhile. Lyle and Wizard, the elegant, dark bay 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer-Pica, Classiker) owned by Peggy Thomas, glided fluidly though their Grand Prix Freestyle for a top score of 74.92. The bluesy-jazz mix included Play that Funky Music as an entrance, Lionel Ritchie’s Dancing on the Ceiling and the Blues Brothers, was designed by Terry Gallo for another Grand Prix horse, Felix, who’s no longer showing so Gallo tweaked the tempo to fit Wizard.
"He’s not an easy horse," Lyle says. "He’s tough, a strong-headed horse but a good match for me. I like them more fiery so when they do work for you, when you compress that energy, the feeling I get with Wizard is like nothing I have ever ridden before."
Wizard showed he was back to form from almost a year off after having part of a splint bone removed last winter, winning the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the August 2011 CDI in Estes Park, CO. Although Lyle has ridden before the same judges, she wanted to go head to head, get experience and the scores competing against different East Coast riders. They are headed to Dressage at Devon next.
"I loved the atmosphere," said Lyle, of the HITS Saugerties venue with the NEDA dressage show side-by-side with the hunter-jumper show. "There is a lot more energy on the grounds and it helps more people get exposed to dressage." Lyle was also quite impressed stabled in the CDI barns with the para dressage riders and sharing the warm up rings.
"I’ve never seen that many para riders. It was neat, how organized the team looked, how they all supported each other and the hours they put in. Just watching those riders get on with their disabilities was inspiring, then glancing up at a cute horse or a rider’s nice posture not realizing they were para was amazing."
Lyle started as Debbie McDonald’s working student in 2005 and is now McDonald’s assistant trainer at Peggy and Parry Thomas' River Grove Farm in Hailey, Idaho. The Thomas family imported Wizard from Holland as a 5-year-old. Lyle took over the ride shortly after McDonald started him.
In 2008, the pair captured the Brentina Cup and National Intermediaire I Championship. At the 2009 Collecting Gaits/USEF Dressage Festival of Champions, Lyle and Wizard hit the right notes winning their first Grand Prix Freestyle with a western-themed routine.