Adrienne Lyle Biography
Adrienne Lyle “Homegrown in the west, hard work and dedication rises to the top”
I was born and raised on Whidbey Island, Washington, on a small cattle farm. My love from horses goes back as far as I can remember. They were always a part of my life- they were always my only passion in life. From the time I was young, we always had several ponies and farm horses around, so I spent my days riding around the trails and on the beaches. I remember heading out early every morning, with a sack lunch packed and a group of friends, and riding our horses all day long and well into the night. Often times, even that wasn’t enough, and we would routinely sneak out of the house in the middle of the night and go for bareback “moonlight rides” up into the big hay field or down to the beach.
I originally started out riding western. I enjoyed trail riding and western gaming. Then I switched to English when I joined our local chapter of the United States Pony Club at age 7. I remember showing up for my first dressage lesson with a western saddle on my fat little pony. J I competed in Eventing for several years, as well as Pony Club Mounted Games, but I soon became fascinated with dressage. I would often get “problem horses” given to me to train and I found that, no matter what discipline the horses competed in, they all improved dramatically through dressage work. I began competing at lower level dressage shows around age 13.
Growing up, my only instruction was occasional group lessons through our Pony Club chapter. Then I took lessons from Trenna Atkins and Carol McArdle, in Washington.
My first real “dressage horse” was a thoroughbred mare who was slightly psychotic and very high strung. I bought her sight-unseen from a lady in California, and it was only after I had owned her for a while that I discovered she used to be owned by a rodeo outfit called “Wild Rides Inc.” who used her as a rodeo bucking horse.But, despite her history, she taught me a lot about riding with tactful feel, and taking everything in stride- whether it was wining, losing, or bolting out of the dressage ring mid-test. When I was 16, I got the chance to compete that mare in the North American Junior Dressage
Championships at Paxton Farms, as a member of the United States Pony Club dressage team. I then was able to sell my Thorougbred mare, and I bought a Swedish Warmblood gelding named “Miguel”. With Miguel, we were members of the silver medal team at the 2002 “Cosequin” Junior Dressage Championships, and a member of the bronze medal Region 6 team at the 2004 North American Young Rider’s Championships.
As a small child, Adrienne Lyle visited River Grove Farm in Hailey, Idaho, to watch a horse show. Adrienne Lyle’s memories of the trip to the home base of future Olympic dressage rider Debbie McDonald are a little hazy, but one experience there made a permanent impression. Lyle’s experiences with dressage rider Debbie McDonald have changed her life forever.
“I remember being led into the ring on the back of a big, beautiful warmblood, and it was all over after that,” says Adrienne Lyle, recalling that she’d been put on the horse for an awards presentation because “everyone knew what a horse-crazy little girl I was. Lyle was excited to be working with Olympic dressage rider Debbie McDonald. In the summer of 2005, I came to River Grove Farm and Debbie McDonald. At the time I was attending Washington State University, studying Animal Science and Business. After being a working student for the summer, I was offered a full time job at Parry and Peggy Thomas’s River Grove Farm, as part of the River Grove Farm team.
Adrienne Lyle and Peggy Thomas’ Wizard will compete as individuals in the 2012 London Olympics dressage competition.
I truly believe I have the best job in the world, and I am eternally grateful for the support of Bob and Debbie McDonald, and Parry and Peggy Thomas. All I have ever wanted in life was to be able to make a living doing what I love- training horses. I feel very fortunate to have had the success I’ve had at a fairly young age. But, although the success is a fantastic result of the daily hard work, at the end of the day it is the training process that really fascinates me. I will always be happy as long as I continue to do what I love- work with these magnificent animals.
Q&A With Adrienne
Q: How did you get the ride on Wizard and how long have you been riding him? What do you like best about him?
A: I came to Debbie in the summer of 2005, as a summertime working student. I then went back to one more semester of college before returning as a full time of Peggy and Parry Thomas’s River Grove Farm in Idaho in 2006. The Thomas’s had bought Wizard as a 5 year old, from Eggbert Cracken in Holland. Debbie gave me the opportunity to start riding him in 2006, and we showed the PSG/Int.1 together. In 2008 we became the National Brentina Cup champions. In 2009 we did our first real Grand Prix test. Neither Wizard or myself had had any experience at the Grand Prix level, and learning together has been an amazing journey. Over these past 6 years we have traveled all over the country, and the world, together and we are incredibly bonded now. I have spent hours sitting next to him in trailers and on airplanes, making sure he is comfortable and not worried. What I like best about Wizard, beyond his powerful athletic ability, is that he is a very emotionally complex horse. He can come across as so aloof or even a bit mean when he first meets people, and you really have to earn his trust and affection. I have spent so much time with him now that I know his every little nuance and can read his every subtle emotion in his eye. He is not a horse that will to cozy up to any stranger but if you can earn his approval, he will always fight for you. I feel humbled by him daily and honored to have earned his love and trust.
Q: What is Wizard’s age, breed, sex and the name of his owners?
A: Wizard is a 1999 Oldenburg gelding. (Weltmeyer- Pica, Classiker). He is owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas.
Q: What are your riding goals now? What do you want to see happen with you and Wizard?
A: Our focus this year is on the Olympic trials, which will be held the first two weekends of June in Gadstone, NJ. With this goal in mind, we made the decision to come to Florida in the spring of 2012 because it has a larger number of CDI competitions to choose from. Our goal now is to keep Wizard happy and confident in the ring and continue to improve his training so he will peak at the right time this summer.
Q: I know you started as a working student for Debbie McDonald – are you still her working student? Does she still train you? Tell me about that?
A: I have been with Debbie McDonald for 7 years now. She has been amazing, with her undying support and incredibly good teaching eye. Debbie is at the barn every day, helping me on the Thomas’s horses. I love working with her because she is such a perfectionist and has an incredible innate understanding of horses, both physically and mentally. My goal as a rider has always been to emulate the partnership and harmony she displays on every horse she rides.
1st Place CDI-W West Palm Beach FL
1st Place Grand Prix Special CDI4*,
Team and Individual Gold Medal at the CDI-O Nations Cup in Wellington FL
1st place Grand Prix Freestyle, CDI-W Wellington FL
1st place in Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at CDI 5* in Wellington FL
Top 10 finish in Grand Prix Freestyle at CDI-O in Aachen Germany
Champion Grand Prix Oldenburg Horse, North American Division
*Member of team USA and Contributed to a fourth place team finish at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy France.
2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions
Olympic Team: Olympic Grand Prix Special, Saturday 6/16 (74.889%) Gladstone, NJ. With “Wizard”
Olympic Team: FEI Grand Prix, Friday 6/15 (73.298%) Gladstone, NJ. With “Wizard”
1st Place Grand Prix Special (72.6%) Del Mar National, Del Mar, CA. with “Wizard”
1st place in Grand Prix (73.0%) at CDI 5* West Palm Beach, with “Wizard”
1st place in Grand Prix Freestyle (77.73%) at CDI 5* West Palm Beach, with “Wizard”
4th place in Grand Prix (72.5) at CDI World Dressage Masters, wit “Wizard”
1st place in Grand Prix Special (73.2%) at CDI World Dressage Masters, with “Wizard”
1st place in Grand Prix (73.7%) at CDN Gold Coast Opener, with “Wizard”
1st place (72.2%) in Grand Prix at CDI Estes Park, with “Wizard”
1st place (72.1%) in Grand Prix Special at CDI Estes Park, with “Wizard”
1st place (74.9%) in Grand Prix Freestyle at CDI Saugerties, with “Wizard”
1st place (70.7%) in Grand Prix at CDI Devon, with “Wizard”
Champion Grand Prix Oldenburg Horse, North American Division”Wizard”
Champion Grand Prix Oldenburg Horse, North American Division
Reserve Champion Grand Prix Dressage Horse of the Year Award (USA)
1st place Grand Prix at CDI Thermal, with “Felix”
1st place Grand Prix Special at CDI Thermal, with “Felix”
1st place Grand Prix Freestyle at CDI Thermal, with “Wizard”
2nd place Grand Prix at CDI Dressage Affaire, with “Wizard”
2nd place Grand Prix Special at CDI Dressage Affaire, with “Wizard”.
Competed in Germany, in CDI’s Hagen and Munich, with “Wizard”.
Trained with Klaus Balkenhol while in Germany.
American Hanoverian Society Grand Prix Horse of the Year, with “Felix”
USEF 2nd level Horse of the Year, with “Argentinia”
Selected as test rider for FEI World Cup in Las Vegas with “Wizard”
1st place in Freestyle at USEF National Grand Prix Championships, with “Wizard”.
3rd place overall at 2009 USEF National Grand Prix Championships on “Wizard”
5th place overall at 2009 USEF National Grand Prix Championships on “Felix”
2008: “Brentina Cup” Champions at USEF National Championships, with “Wizard”.
2005: Began working for Debbie McDonald, at the Thomas’s River Grove Farm.Selected for the Dressage Foundation’s “Young Rider Olympic Dream Program”, and toured some of Europe’s top dressage facilities.
2004: Member of the bronze medal Region 6 team at the 2004 North American Young Rider’s Championships.
2002:Member of the silver medal team at the 2002 “Cosequin” Junior Dressage Team Championships.
2001: Member of USPC team at FEI North American Junior Dressage Championships, at Paxton Farms, Ohio.
- Adrienne’s BackgroundI was born and raised on Whidbey Island, Washington, on a small cattle farm….
- Chance of a LifetimeThrough hard work and natural talent, Adrienne Lyle moved from a working student position to full-time staff…
West Palm BeachAdrienne Lyle, 27, and Wizard took the top award at the Global Dressage Festival (GDF) in the FEI Grand Prix…
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