Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Wizard capped off the first day of competition for the final week of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) with a win in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 5* presented by Diamante Farms. The pair earned a personal best score for the grand prix with a 74.160%. Ashley Holzer (CAN) and Tiva Nana scored a blue ribbon finish earlier in the day, winning the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* presented by Diamante Farms on a score of 70.000%. AGDF 12 is sponsored by Diamante Farms and Wellington Equestrian Realty. Friday, March 28, will see the return of "Friday Night Stars" to The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The featured class, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening. Young rider Bebe Davis will perform her own freestyle exhibition as part of the night's festivities, and a vocal quartet accompanied by piano from the Frost School of Music at University of Miami will perform throughout the night.
Adrienne Lyle was also presented with the Champion Equine Insurance Dressage Style Award and a crystal horse from Swarovski for her win in the FEI Grand Prix 5*. The American rider topped the class with Wizard, a 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Peggy Thomas. Second place went to fellow American Tina Konyot and Calecto V for their score of 72.720%, while Danish rider Mikala Gundersen rounded out the top three with My Lady and a score of 72.520%. Lyle was thrilled to post her all-time grand prix high score with Wizard in the on Thursday evening. A triumphant return to the ring was the best she could have asked for after having to withdraw Wizard from the AGDF 10 CDI W. "I was thrilled with him. He felt fresh and happy and really amazing for being the end of a long season," Lyle grinned.
"That's my best grand prix score I've had on him in our career, and I think the most rideable; the best combination of him having energy, and he was listening to me." She continued, "It was a little nerve-wracking. We were entered for the [CDI] W [during AGDF 10] but he got himself cast in his stall. He came out with banged up legs the day before the jog. We made the decision to scratch and not try to get him through it since he wasn't a hundred percent. It was hard to go home and sit out a couple of weeks. Everyone is wondering what's wrong, and of course they always think it's the worst and you're never going to come back. So it was nice to come back and do really well."
Lyle admitted to having a good feeling about their test, but insisted a rider can never really know when they're going to have the "test of tests" before it's over. Her main focus, and possibly the difference in their score, was the extended trot. "I think he's got a great, amazing, trot extension, but I think we lose a little balance. He gets a little tight, and we've done some skip steps a couple times. So we came in around the outside of the arena, and I really made him gallop around a couple times and got going. I felt like I was able to ride it, not to not have a mistake, but to have more power and really go for it and not feel like I was being conservative," Lyle described.
Lyle will forgo the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 5* on Friday, opting instead to contest the FEI Grand Prix Special 5* in preparation for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) selection trials. "I love doing the freestyle with him, but he just had a couple weeks off and he hasn't been working that much before the show, I thought it would be smarter to put him in the special. He doesn't need to get himself all hyped up again. I've done the freestyle the last two shows. I think I need to get back to focusing on the special a little for the trials," Lyle explained.
Second place finisher Konyot is known for her jubilant expressions after a test with Calecto, but explained that her serious look on Thursday evening was not a reflection of the overall test. "I was happy, actually. I've been trying to get a little bit cleaner grand prix. I've had several shows with so many mistakes in my grand prix, so I was much, much, happier with my grand prix," Konyot said.
"Until the end. He really cheated me at the end, he stopped very early and thought it was over. He did his final halt-salute and there was no budging. He just caught me a little bit by surprise because he can do a little bit further than that."
Konyot pointed out her canter tour as the highlight of the test for her, along with a trot tour she thought was well done. With the FEI World Cup Dressage Finals next on her calendar, she was pleased to have achieved her main goal for the class.
"I felt great because I had a better grand prix. I often have quite a good freestyle, and since I am leading North America and going to the World Cup, I was happy that I could have a better grand prix. That was something that I was looking towards," Konyot said.
Mikala Munter Gundersen and My Lady Photo: Betsy LaBelle
Gundersen and My Lady have a different championship competition looming; their sights are set on the Danish Championships, an event Gundersen described as one with the most pressure of the season. The show plays a large role in choosing the Danish team for the WEG this fall.
Gundersen has been more than satisfied with how My Lady has progressed throughout the season in Wellington, describing her test on Friday evening as very rideable and supple.
"I could have had a little more energy from behind, but I had a lot of really good movements. There were some things that I worked very hard on, to get better, and they were. I look at my scores and see that they got better, and then I lost a bit on other things," Gundersen shared.
"That's how it is," she continued. "You go to shows and you feel like 'Oh I need to improve this,' and then you go home and work on that. Maybe you lose something else a little bit on the way. I think in the end, we'll get it all together. For me, it's most important when I get to the Danish championships in the summer that it should all be there."
On behalf of all the riders, Gundersen expressed her gratitude for the AGDF hosting a 5* event and thanked the sponsors of the show for their generosity.
"It's amazing. I think this season, we've always had something to ride towards. Either World Cup points or the five star," Gundersen pointed out. "It's amazing to have all of this. For one, all the money that's being sponsored in this class. And then, for us, we're always thinking about world ranking points, and [a five star] counts a little extra there. So it's a big deal."
ESP's Cora Causemann with Lars Petersen Photo: SusanJStickle
In a special award of the night, Lars Petersen (DEN) was presented with the FEI Grand Prix Circuit Championship for his scores with Mariett. They had the highest cumulative of average scores competing at a minimum of four CDI competitions at the AGDF.
Competition for the AGDF 12 CDI 3*/5*, presented by Diamante Farms and Wellington Equestrian Realty, will continue on Friday at 8:00 a.m. with the FEI Prix St. Georges. The FEI Grand Prix Special 5* will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m. and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 3* will follow at approximately 4:45 p.m. The featured class of the week, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, will begin at 7:00 p.m. For more information and complete results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com
Full Results for the FEI Grand Prix 5*, presented by Diamante Farms
Rider, Country, Horse, Breeding, Age: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total %
1 Adrienne Lyle, USA, Wizard, 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Peggy Thomas, Pica x Weltmeyer: 72.300%, 76.200%, 74.200%, 71.900%, 76.200%, 74.160%
2 Tina Konyot, USA, Calecto V, 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion owned by rider, Bahera x Come Back II: 72.200%, 72.900%, 73.800%, 70.400%, 74.300%, 73.720%
3 Mikala Gundersen, DEN, My Lady, 14-year-old Danish Warmblood mare owned by Janne Rumbough, Marion x Michellino: 72.400%, 71.900%, 72.700%, 71.600%, 74.000%, 72.520%
4 Shelley Francis, USA, Doktor, 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Patricia Stempel, Gurena x Diamond Hit: 72.700%, 72.800%, 74.800%, 71.800%, 70.500%, 72.520%
5 Belinda Trussell, CAN, Anton, 14-year-old Sachsen gelding owned by Robyn Eames, Shirley x Anteaus: 71.000%, 74.700%, 73.100%, 71.500%, 70.000%, 72.060%
6 Cesar Parra, USA, Van the Man, 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Michael Davis, Lady x Obelisk: 70.700%, 69.000%, 72.300%, 70.100%, 72.500%, 70.920%
7 Lars Petersen, USA, Mariett, 16-year-old Danish Warmblood mare owned by Marcia M. Pepper, Zendi x Comeback II: 70.800%, 68.500%, 71.300%, 68.000%, 71.500%, 70.020%
8 David Marcus, CAN, Chrevi's Capital, 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Deborah Kinzinger-Miculinic, Indira Gandhi x Obelisk: 69.300%, 70.500%, 71.700%, 69.000%, 69.000%, 69.900%