A Day in the Life of a Dressage Olympian

Adrienne Lyle shares a key to her international-level dressage success: an organized routine.
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6:30 a.m.: I wake up and have oatmeal for breakfast with a little coffee.

7 a.m.: After I arrive at the barn and feed the horses, the team's long-time groom, Ruben, starts cleaning the stalls while I clean the water buckets. Almost all the horses wear standing wraps every night, so I unwrap and reroll them.

9 a.m.: We start to work the horses. At home in Idaho, we usually start earlier than this because we have more staff. I ride the first horse while Ruben gets the next one ready. I usually ride Wizard first, but I like to mix it up so I can get used to riding them at different times of day in prep for a show.
The 45-minute session includes a hack for 10 minutes followed by 30 minutes of working with Debbie, going through movements or whatever we are focusing on that day. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we work on training. One or two days I just do long-and-low work in the ring or go on a trail ride. The last day of the week we just handwalk and get to relax. The horses keep the same schedule, so (for example) Sundays and Mondays we all (horses and I) get a light day or day off completely.
When I finish, Ruben cleans and hoses the horse. Depending on time, I will help him out before getting on my next horse. Once he is done with cooling the horse down, Ruben will put on a magnetic blanket and ice the legs. I work down the list until I get through riding the four horses we have in Florida.

1 p.m.: I finish riding and eat yogurt and granola with a little chicken salad from the store or something similar that you can have on the go.

1:20 p.m.: We start handwalking and grazing the horses for 30 minutes each, starting with the horse that worked first. Throughout the day we will clean tack, roll wraps and complete all the other chores that need to be done at the barn. Also, in the afternoon I go over their legs with a fine-toothed comb, especially in Florida (with all of the bacteria that live there). I then go through their bodies with a fine-toothed comb, and if I feel soreness, we use laser therapy on it to stay on top of things. The magnetic blanket is better for overall therapy, but the laser treatment helps target things more specifically.

3:30/4 p.m.: We wrap all the horses in standing wraps for the night. Then we make up and feed dinner with their supplements. They are all on Nutrena feed and Gl?nzen 3 as well as Strongid CE wormer electrolytes. They also might get Adequan? and Legend? if they are due for it. Because of the expense of having a massage therapist come in and work on the horses, I work with them and other caregivers to see what I can learn to do myself and maintain that.

5 p.m.: We pick stalls, clean and refill water buckets and do afternoon cleanup (that includes washing down the trunks and moving them so we can sweep underneath everything).

6 p.m.: I will work on paperwork, show entries and returning phone calls. After that, I go to the gym for at least an hour or an hour and a half to workout (see Rider Fitness, p. 50).

8 p.m.: We finish the barn work and eat dinner. I usually have a salad, frozen dinner or make something like stir fry. We have snacks like apples and bananas and granola bars throughout the day. A lot of times, I will cook and eat with Debbie because we share a house.
At home, I also teach and will share/trade off the horses with Debbie. I will do a lot of teaching and clinics, and on my day off I will do a lot of outside teaching. I am a really sociable person and want to have a balance, so when I have days off, where I am not teaching, I try to go out with people my age. But you are definitely giving things up, and it is easier for me to do this when I am at home in Idaho. Besides being in Florida now, I have to travel a lot, and I miss out on things with boyfriends and family. I have friends who are supportive, and with them I can just go out and dance or hike.

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