Friday – Adrienne Lyle and Helix Victorious in CDI4* FEI Grand Prix

Two-time Olympian and Olympic silver medalist Adrienne Lyle made her first trip to TerraNova a memorable one. On day one of competition at TerraNova Dressage I, a CDI4* at TerraNova Equestrian Center in Myakka City, FL, Lyle competed with Helix (Apache × Jazz), owned by Zen Elite Equestrian Center and Heidi Humphries. The pair achieved their highest grand prix score to date with a 72.021% in Friday’s CDI4* FEI Grand Prix presented by Laughlin Tanner Group at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.

“I was really happy with Helix today in the Grand Prix. We are a very new partnership, so we had a few little missed transitions and communication errors- only because he’s a horse that tries so hard and maybe a little too hard in the moment- but it’s our highest score so far in the grand prix,” Lyle said.

Yesterday, Lyle announced the retirement of her beloved Tokyo 2020 mount, Salvino. “He’s far surpassed anything we ever hoped he’d achieve. I’m glad he gets to now enjoy an easy life, and he’s still the king, he’s still spoiled,” Lyle said. She is looking to the future as she grows her partnership with Helix, who she believes will be “unstoppable,” describing him as eager, talented, and happy.

As a new combination, Lyle and Helix are still getting to know one another, but they have a promising future ahead with a possible trip to Paris in the cards. Together, they are sitting in 6th on the ranking list for Team USA.

“I’m in the very fortunate position to have two grand prix horses owned by Zen Elite,” Lyle said, referring to both Helix and Lars van de Hoenderheide (Negro × Layout). “Our goals, as we are getting to know each other, would be to try to complete enough shows to be named to the Olympic selection short list. Just to have this opportunity, I feel extremely grateful.”

Canadians placing top-five in this class included Naïma Moreira Laliberté with Statesman in third place (69.326%); Jill Irving and Delacroix 11, 4th (68.913%; and Camille Carier Bergeron, 5th riding Finnländerin (67.848%)

A dressage rider with a woman and a baby.

Jill Irving with Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, who rode Knight to 3rd place in the 1* PSG. Future dressage generation waiting in the wings… (Susan Stickle Photography)

A field of 16 competitors went down centerline in Friday’s Leibold Irrigation Inc. CDI3* FEI Grand Prix in TerraNova’s Lakeside Arena. Jennifer Williams, fresh off her morning win in the Michael Saunders & Company CDI1* Prix St. Georges with her own Babylon Berlin (Bordeaux 28 x United), came back for another podium finish with Joppe K (Harmony’s Rousseau × Santano) owned by Joppe Partners on a score of 70.044%. Williams triumphed just .001% ahead of Marcus Orlob and Jane (Desperado x Metall), owned by Alice Tarjan, in a nail-biting finish.

Williams and Joppe K, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding from the Netherlands, have been partners for about five years. “He’s a smart horse with a huge heart and a lot of try,” she said. “He’s a horse that comes out very happy to do his work everyday and is just delightful to be around.”

In the CDI2* FEI Intermediate A Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and Jaccardo scored a personal best 69.647% to win the class. The Canadian also won the CDI1* FEI Intermediate I riding
Harmonium, with 68.912%.

Saturday – Lyle and Helix do it Again

Adrienne Lyle and Helix took their second victory lap at TerraNova Equestrian Center after securing the win in Saturday’s Galati Yacht Sales CDI4* FEI Grand Prix Special with a score of 73.979%.

“I am thrilled with Helix today in the Grand Prix Special. That was our first special together, and he is just super fun to ride in that test,” Lyle said. “He has really powerful extensions and a great ability to come back and collect. He was very focused and tried really hard today.”

Without a day between to make adjustments, Lyle reflected upon yesterday’s ride to prepare for this afternoon’s test. “Having the two days back-to-back, there wasn’t a lot of time to do anything in between; so this morning, he just went out for an easy stretch in the arena,” Lyle said. “We practiced a few of the transitions from the special since we haven’t had a chance to run through this yet. We just relied on the fact that we can trust him, and he’s a good boy.”

Lyle’s longtime coach, Debbie McDonald, stood by the arena and seemingly rode every stride with Lyle throughout the test. “[Helix] is super elastic,” McDonald said. “The range of motion he has- the ability to do the piaffe and passage in such a way that there’s never a mistake in the rhythm at all from one to the other. The extensions are big and powerful. I don’t think the horse has a hole. He’s 100% good in everything, it’s just a very new partnership. For what she’s done already in just two months blows my mind.”

With Lyle on the heels of a potential third appearance at the Olympic Games, McDonald feels emotional to see her student continue to succeed. “I cry a lot. At this point, she’s like a child to me- I know I can’t be her mother-” McDonald laughed, “but I take so much pleasure in watching her in every single aspect of her career, being a professional. It’s amazing to me what she’s been able to accomplish.”

A number of Canadians placed well in this class: Jill Irving and Delacroix 11 were 3rd with 70.681%; Naïma Moreira Laliberté and Statesman were 4th with 69.681%; and Camille Carier Bergeron rode Finnländerin to 5th place with 68.724%.

In their CDI3* debut, Karen Lipp and her own Infinity (Glock’s Dream Boy x Freestyle) danced to the top on a score of 72.890% in Saturday’s B&D Builders CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Freestyle. Lipp has developed the 11-year-old KWPN gelding through the young horse program, and chose TerraNova Dressage I for their first CDI3* appearance. The pair finished 4th among a field of 16 in yesterday’s Leibold Irrigation Inc. CDI3* FEI Grand Prix with a score of 66.478%.

Lipp’s freestyle, choreographed with her coach, Charlotte Bredahl, features music from the hit Netflix series Wednesday, including “Paint it Black,” a moody, instrumental remix of the classic by The Rolling Stones. “Karen Robinson is the one who put the music together. Charlotte was really great at getting me to pick contemporary music, but the Wednesday music I had to have,” she said. “When I saw the program, I said I have to have the ‘Paint it Black’ music. I kept it for two years.”

Sunday – Marcus Orlob and Jane Win CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Special

Marcus Orlob (USA) and Jane (Desperado x Metall), owned by Alice Tarjan, finished first in Sunday’s The Estates at TerraNova CDI3* FEI Grand Prix Special on a score of 71.894%. On Friday, the pair came in second in the Leibold Irrigation Inc. CDI3* FEI Grand Prix with a score of 70.043%, just .001% behind Jennifer Williams and Joppe K. The leaderboard was flipped today, with Williams finishing second to Orlob.

Jane’s owner, Alice Tarjan, competed the KWPN mare through intermediate, and only recently passed the reins to her coach, Marcus Orlob, to take on the grand prix. The new combination made their grand prix debut last weekend in Wellington, and made significant improvements to their scores whilst at TerraNova Dressage I.

“For today’s ride, I took the pressure out, and I was happy with her,” Orlob said. “She was more focused and relaxed in the ring than in the Grand Prix. Eight weeks ago, Alice decided to give the horse to me because she was a little bit too strong for her. She said ‘look, try your luck and see what you can do in the ring,’ and here we are.

“It’s all very new to me and her,” Orlob said, admitting he is still learning Jane’s “buttons,” since Tarjan developed the mare from the age of 3. Orlob describes Jane as light, sensitive, and honest.

“Our goal or dream is to maybe make it to the top eight and go to Europe,” Orlob said. Next week, the combination will head to Ocala as they chase that dream. With his first visit to TerraNova now in the books, Orlob hopes to return in the future.

“The showground is super nice,” he said, “the people are very friendly here. The weather was amazing and the town of Sarasota is amazing. I’d love to come back again.”

Entries are now open for TerraNova Dressage III, a CDI3* and USEF Level 5 competition, held May 2-5. The competition falls on the final weekend of the qualifying period for Paris.

Results here.

~ with files from TerraNova Equestrian Center