Adrienne Lyle and Salvino improved on their Grand Prix performance from Thursday, Feb. 8 to ride an error-free test and win the Grand Prix Special CDI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
Lyle and 11-year-old Salvino cruised to victory with 75.319 percent, representing a new personal best high score for the pair. The top three in the class represented a clean podium sweep for the U.S.A. in the fifth week of the AGDF in Wellington.
“I was thrilled with him today,” said Lyle, who trains with Debbie McDonald and rides the Sandro Hit stallion for owner Betsy Juliano. “It means a ton to win the five-star special; this is huge, especially on a horse we haven’t even been competing a full year at this level. In the Grand Prix, he was running a little bit through my aids, so today we took the time to make him stay back and wait. He felt like he was right with me throughout the whole test. If he understands what you want, he always does it for you. He has tremendous potential that we’re only just beginning to tap into.”
Australian judge Susan Hoevenaars agreed. “There was so much harmony, and it was a joy to judge,” she said.
The winner of the Grand Prix, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, had to settle for second place on her own Lonoir, a 14-year-old gelding, logging 72.851 percent.
“The goal is clean rides, but I left the ones [the one-time changes] in the warm-up,” she said. “We did a super line right before we went in, but I think we were both a bit overheated. I was super proud of him. The quality level is coming up, and everyone has full confidence that the consistency is going to fall into place. When it does, it’s going to be pretty cool.”
Third-place finisher Tuny Page was pleased to be able to put two sub-70 percent scores on Woodstock at the AGDF in January behind her, and her ever-improving performances elevated her from seventh in the Grand Prix.
“I was happy with how my horse presented himself and with the quality of his gaits,” she said of the 15-year-old gelding. “This is only our fourth test back this season, and it has taken four rides to get him back and for him to wait for me. Now it’s a question of developing more inner calmness in the next two months as he settles into the routine again.”
The 12-week AGDF circuit continues through March 31. For additional information, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.