Whidbey native competes in Olympic dressage

Whidbey Island native Adrienne Lyle finished 35th in the dressage Grand Prix at the London Olympics Friday, Aug. 3.

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard have been competing together since 2006.

Whidbey Island native Adrienne Lyle finished 35th in the dressage Grand Prix at the London Olympics Friday, Aug. 3.

Lyle, 27, aboard Wizard, finished with a score of 69.468. Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin led the field of 50 with an 83.663.

Lyle, who was born in Coupeville, grew up on South Whidbey and graduated from Bellevue High School, now lives in Ketchum, Idaho, where she trains horses and riders.

Dressage is often called “horse ballet” or the equivalent of gymnastic’s floor exercise on horseback. The horse and rider execute a series of moves that make the horse look like it is dancing and are rated by a panel of judges on a scale of 0 to 10.

At the Olympics, the top 11 riders and seven teams advance to Grand Prix Special Tuesday, Aug. 7, to decide the team medals. The United States is fifth after the Grand Prix.

Team scores are the average of the top three riders from the country. Lyle was fourth out of four Americans. Teammate Steffen Peters (Ravel) was sixth at 77.705, Tina Konyot (Calecto V) 27th at 70.456 and Jan Ebeling (Rafalca) 30th at 70.243.

The United States is one of only five countries which qualified both a team of three and an individual for the Grand Prix.

Lyle, one of three USA Olympic rookies in the dressage, said before the games she “is living every little girl’s dream.”

She added, in an interview for Dressage-news.com, “I want to be able to just take it all in. This is so much more than just a horse show. No one can ever take away from you this experience that transcends everything else.”

At 27, Lyle is young for an Olympic equestrian where many of her competitors are twice her age. Her teammates are 53, 50 and 47. Peters is the only Olympic veteran, qualifying twice.

As a teenager, Lyle joined a local pony club and competed in eventing before changing to dressage. She earned berths on teams that medaled at the 2002 North American Junior Dressage Championships and the 2004 North American Young Rider’s Championships.

Lyle began her horse-training career seven years ago when her parents, Greg and Ann Lyle of Clinton, purchased a condominium in Ketchum. There she began training with Debbie McDonald, a former world champion and Olympic medal winner, and Wizard in 2006.

She and Wizard first came into prominence when they won the Brentina Cup and National Intermediate I championship in 2008, and then in 2009 they captured the freestyle at the Collecting Gaits/USEF Dressage Fes-tival of Champions.

The pair competed in Europe in 2010 and the Florida circuit in 2011 and at one point won three consecutive Grand Prix titles.

“My journey over the past seven years…when I first met Wizard has been incredible,” Lyle told Dressage-news. “The Thomases (owners of Wizard) and McDonalds have given me more than I ever could have hoped for.”

 

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