Lucky Socks and a Book of Zen: Inside Adrienne Lyle's Prep for WEG 2018

Lucky Socks and a Book of Zen: Inside Adrienne Lyle's Prep for WEG 2018

By Amber Heintzberger

After the retirement of her 2012 Olympic and 2014 World Equestrian Games partner, Wizard, some wondered what the future would hold for Adrienne Lyle. But with 8-year-old Salvino, a 2010 stallion she found in Europe as a youngster, Adrienne is anything but done. In a few weeks time, Adrienne will again ride for the United States, this time at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

“It’s an incredible honor to be selected for the team,” says Adrienne. “Dressage gets more competitive every year and it’s that much more challenging to make a team, and even more rewarding to be picked.

Adrienne with Salvino and owner Betsy Juliano.

Now based in Wellington, Fla. with coach and mentor, Debbie McDonald (who will be taking over the role of US Technical Advisor when Robert Dover retires after the WEG), Adrienne is busy prepping her stunning bay partner for his first team experience.

“The horses had an easy week after quarantine and now we’re starting to ramp it back up, spending the time working on the connection and fine-tuning the response to the aids. Over the next week, we’ll go through the test but we want them to peak at Tryon and not get cranky from overtraining first,” explains Adrienne.

Once a week I work him out in the jumper ring – he does cavaletti and there’s a little hill on the property we go up and down, and we do trot and canter sets out there to keep his mind and body fresh.”

Adrienne and Salvino schooling at home.

As if training for the World Equestrian Games wasn't enough, Adrienne has plenty to do to keep busy, but she does plan to stick close to home for the most part. “I have about 20 horses around here. I’m also going to Colorado to teach a clinic at the farm of the woman who owns the place we’re based in Wellington, but generally, I don’t want to go too far away from Salvino right now. We have a 25-stall barn here in Wellington – four of the horses are jumpers and my assistant/working student Gwen Iverson helps me, and Debbie helps with the teaching, too. It’s wonderful that I can always have her eye on the ground. She’s amazing.”

"I couldn’t choose a better group of teammates. Everyone is super supportive and they are always there to bounce ideas off of and really act as a team," Adrienne says of fellow US Dressage riders Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, and Steffen Peters.

Adrienne and Salvino competing at CHIO Aachen 2018.

The team is so close, in fact, that Adrienne and Kasey often work out together and are keeping their fitness a priority in the lead-up to the Games. “We do Orange Theory, Core Evolution, and Pilates,” she says. “I just discovered Orange Theory; it’s a high-intensity heart rate-based training program. You wear a heart-rate monitor and get your heart-rate up, and you do weights, too. It’s really good if you’re a competitive person, like most of us horse people are, because everyone [in the class] competes against each other.”

While she generally tries to follow a healthy diet, Adrienne says that Kasey also turned her on to balancing the macronutrients in her diet. “There are a lot of good apps on your phone for tracking your macros, and especially when you’re traveling with the team, there are a lot of group dinners and functions, so it’s helpful to have something to keep you on track!”

Adrienne and Salvino at CHIO Aachen 2018

In addition to watching what she eats, Adrienne does the same for her mount and never leaves home without Equiotics™ probiotics. “All of my horses are on it and I think it really helps with the stress of travel,” she says. Adrienne's packing list for Tryon also includes a pair of lucky stars and stripes socks, as well as a book of zen that she came across a few years ago and uses to help her refocus.

Focus is the name of the game, and that's why Adrienne can usually be found with her headphones in before she rides down centerline. “I never listen to the same playlist," she says. "My phone is always loaded to the max data full of music depending on what I feel like listening to at the moment.”

No matter the outcome, Adrienne and Salvino are just happy to be where they are. "I’ve never ridden in a World Championship in my home country, and I’m really excited about that and having the home crowd cheering for us.”

Salvino and Adrienne photographed at home by Katilyn Karssen. Competition photos by Shannon Brinkman.