Coming into the World Equestrian Games, Italy's Lorenzo de Luca and 10-year-old mare, Irenice Horta, had done exactly four shows together - the WEG rounding things out as lucky number five. And lucky it has been, with the pair rocking and rolling right into the top five seated riders going into Sunday's individual finals.
Lorenzo, ever cool and collected, is all smiles this week. From the expertly designed - and extremely challenging - courses, to navigating a brand new partnership with a mare who pushes athletic to the next level, he's feeling good about his chances to take home a medal. A gold one, to be exact.
Adrienne Sternlicht is living in a dream, at least for this week. The 25-year-old rider is a newcomer to the United States show jumping team, and aboard 10-year-old Bavarian Warmblood mare, Cristalline, proved to herself this week that she truly belongs at this level in the sport - laying down solid rounds on the impressive courses, and helping her team to the top spot on Friday's podium.
Does it get much better than winning team gold at your World Equestrian Games debut? Not according to Adrienne, especially when you factor in not only her incredible career trajectory, but the fact that the U.S. team hasn't won the world championships on home soil in 32 years.
We caught up with Adrienne in Tryon today between autograph signings and down-day workouts to chat about what it means to make it this far, and what her journey has been like to get here.