The U.S. Dressage Mandatory Observation Event at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla., kicked off Wednesday evening, June 9. The FEI Grand Prix test was held under the lights to simulate what the competitors will likely experience at the Tokyo games. The evening was warm and humid, but breezy, which should also be like the weather in Tokyo.
Numerous riders scored personal bests, showing that they all came with the intention to raise their levels of performance. At the end of the night, it was little surprise that Adrienne Lyle and Salvino secured the top spot with an 82.413% in the FEI Grand Prix Test. “I was absolutely thrilled with him. He makes me tear up, and I have no words for him. Every time he is more amazing than the time before,” Lyle said of Salvino, a 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Betsy Juliano LLC.
Last to go (and right after Lyle and Salvino) were Sabine Schut-Kery and Sanceo, a 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion owned by Alice Womble. She scored a personal best of 78.978% to finish second. Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Four Winds Farm, placed third with a 77.696%.
Rounding out the top five were Nick Wagman and Don John, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, owned by Beverly Gepfer, also with a personal best score of 75.652%, and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz riding Rassing’s Lonoir, a 17-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, owned by LaGoy-Weltz and Mary McPhail, with a 75.131%.
“I think we have a team,” said coach Debbie McDonald at the conclusion of the evening. Competition at the U.S. Dressage Mandatory Observation Event will conclude Friday, June 11, with the FEI Grand Prix Special Test to music.