CN citizen makes U.S. Olympic dressage team
BY KENNETH BRADDICK
KETCHUM, Idaho – Cherokee Nation citizen Adrienne Lyle, 27, of Ketchum, has become one of the youngest Americans earning the right to compete in the Olympics at dressage, a sport that has been in the summer games for at least 100 years.
On June 16, Lyle and a horse named Wizard earned a place on the American team by placing in the top four at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Dressage Festival of Champions and USEF Dressage Olympic Selection Trials at Gladstone, N.J.
She will compete in the Olympics as an individual.
“It’s just starting to sink in,” Lyle told dressage-news.com a day after her come-from-behind move up the rankings in the last of four competitions. “I woke up to 400 congratulatory message on my computer. I didn’t think I knew 400 people. Then it hit me: ‘Holy crap. I’m going to the Olympics.’”
Dressage is competitive equestrian sport where horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements. Competitions are held at all levels from amateur to the World Equestrian Games. Its purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse.
“Now here I am going to these Olympics,” Lyle said. “It has always been a dream, like so many other kids, since I was little to go to the Olympics. I didn’t think it would happen until way down the line.”
She said being a young rider helps draw a new generation of people to the sport.
“I’m kind of used to being one of the youngest riders, and I think it’s great for drawing a whole new generation of people to the sport. Most of my friends are not horsey, which is fantastic because it helps you keep your perspective… and many of them come to watch me ride and think it’s cool.”
In London, team competition begins on Aug. 2 and ends with individual freestyle on Aug. 9.
Besides Lyle, the selected riders were Steffen Peters, 47, of San Diego; Tina Konyot, 50, of Palm City, Fla.; and Jan Ebeling, 53, of Moorpark, Calif.
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Cherokee Nation citizen Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, Idaho, and Wizard perform in June at the USEF Dressage Olympic Selection Trials in Gladstone, N.J. KEN BRADDICK/DRESSAGE-NEWS.COM