Tyron, NC – April 22, 2018 – The FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Test Events for Dressage commenced on Friday, April 20, with a victory for Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) aboard Diane Perry’s 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x Ferro), Goerklintgaards Dublet, who bested the CDI3* Grand Prix. Perry-Glass and “Dublet” earned a score of 73.935 percent from the judging panel. Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Betsy Juliano’s 2003 Oldenburg mare Horizon (Hot Line x Don Schufro), captured second place with a score of 71.957 percent, while third place honors were awarded to Belinda Trussell (CAN) and her own 2003 Westfalen gelding, Tattoo 15 (Tuareg x Ramiro’s Son), receiving a 70.043 percent.
Perry-Glass is a first-time competitor at the venue, which will host FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 competition from September 11-23, 2018, and said she was thrilled when she first drove on the property. “It’s amazing. I think this place is world-class and will be especially when it’s all done for the FEI World Equestrian Games™. I love it here. They’ve done a great job with all the stabling, the arena, and the atmosphere, so I’m excited for them to have the WEG here.”
In their second outing after an eight-month break from competition, Perry-Glass was pleased with her 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal mount. She elaborated, “He already feels better than he has ever felt. It’s just really fine-tuning the small things and getting his nerves out of the arena and focusing on me a little bit more, and the connection. Other than that he’s just a spectacular horse, so I feel very lucky to be on him. We’re hopefully shooting for a spot on the European selection squad, and then we’ll go from there and see what shows we can do in Europe.”
When reflecting on her test, Perry-Glass joked that “everything’s positive because he’s amazing,” but that some elements of their ride in particular pleased her. She commented, “His pirouettes have gotten really solid. I love those and they’re fun to ride. His changes are always really nice to ride. His piaffe-passage is also great, and it’s really correct and good.”
“What I would like to nitpick on myself is just being able to ride each corner and focus on each corner. It’s so meticulous, but it’s so important, and that’s where his points are going to start coming up because he can do every movement. He’s trained and knows what he’s doing. It’s just preparing him for it and I think that’s where I have to get on myself for that.”
With experience representing the United States internationally, Perry-Glass emphasized the importance of hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games™ on home turf.
“It’s always a benefit to be on your home turf. I did the FEI World Cup™ Final in Omaha, NE, and just having that support from your own country and the majority of the crowd being American is important, especially for our really amazing squad that we have coming up. I think it’s going to be pretty spectacular.”
On Sunday, the podium remained unchanged, as the FEI CDI 3* Grand Prix Special, saw Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) dance with partner Goerklintgaards Dublet to an impressive score of 75.830 percent, taking the victory ahead of Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Horizon who finished in second on a score of 71.660 percent. Belinda Trussell (CAN) rode her own Tattoo 15 to third place honors with a score of 69.319 percent.
Perry-Glass and Dublet put in a more relaxed effort without losing the energy of Friday’s winning ride. “My test, I felt, was a lot more thought out. After the Grand Prix, I was just really challenging myself to go in there and focus on what we do in the warm-up and get it in the show ring. That was my highlight. He’s so talented as it is, that he does everything really well, but I think the passage tour was really good, as well as his changes.”
Regarding Dublet’s reaction to the arena after a weekend of acclimation, she continued, “He’s still a spring chicken in there – he didn’t lose any motivation or any kind of spark. He was actually more relaxed, but with energy. That’s what all of his pre-show training was for, getting his mind really good, the aqua-tread, and all the work we do outside the arena. I feel like it’s really translated to his stamina and how he holds his energy.”
“With any athlete, I think you kind of need time to wind down to re-adjust and get your head right,” she continued. “I think for the last three years we’ve just been going and it was a well-needed break for us, for me too, and it just helps him come back stronger. Yeah, we’re starting our shows a little bit later than everyone else, but I think that he’s showing that he can be right up there with the others and I’m happy we did it. At some points we were questioning whether it was the right thing to do, to wait so long, but for us it really worked.”
For Lyle, Horizon’s consistency is especially encouraging to see after placing second. She elaborated, “I was thrilled with her and how reliable she’s getting. To have a clean test in the third Special she’s ever done in her life – one of them being a national show and with her first CDI not even two months ago, for her to come into a new venue and prove that she can put in clean and consistent performances in this environment is a big deal for her. I’m very proud of her.”
Lyle also had Harmony’s Duval, another young horse, break into Grand Prix competition this weekend, and noted that she’s thrilled to see a long-term relationship with Duval truly succeed. “I’m really happy with him. I’ve had him since before he was saddle broke and we’ve done everything from Training Level on up with him, so it was a really fun weekend all around to have such great rides on Horizon and then be able to finally get Duval into the Grand Prix ring after years and years of work,” she said.
Trussell and her own Tattoo remained consistent to place third on a score of 69.319 percent despite a bobble in one of the gelding’s usual highlight movements, she explained.
“I think the biggest change I see for him [since Florida] is that he’s getting a lot stronger in his passage-work; he’s such an exuberant mover and to be able to access that and put it in the right direction [is improving]. I think that this show I had the best passage-work that I’ve had yet in the ring itself. His highlight is his changes and today we had a mistake in the twos, which is not good, because I need those points, but those are also becoming more reliable and consistent, so that feels great.”
As an experienced competitor at FEI World Equestrian Games™, including appearances in Jerez, Spain, Lexington, KY, and most recently in Normandy, France, Trussell described her excitement for the Games to return to North America. “This venue was just fabulous to come here for the Test Event and to experience it and be a part of this. It was such a great stepping stone for us in preparation for WEG,” she said. “It’s so nice, as a North American athlete, to have this event in North America because we almost always have to go to Europe. It’s not so far, the horses don’t have to get on an airplane, for family, it’s easier to come, and to have this quality of venue in North America is huge. I am so grateful for this facility, grateful for the United States to put this together and it’s wonderful,” she concluded.
The atmosphere was exuberant at the in-gate, especially for the large support wearing red, white and blue – the American entourage was in full force and both Lyle and Perry-Glass expressed gratitude for the strength of the USA contingent.
“We have an incredible support staff from all of USEF,” said Lyle. “They’re absolutely amazing and take care of any question you may have. You can call them in the middle of the night and they’re here to help you! It really helps to have such great backing, then beyond that, we have an incredible camaraderie between us as teammates,” she continued. “Laura [Graves] is here watching and cheering on, and we’re all really good friends. We say that all the time, but it’s not just for show – we all are really good friends. It’s really exciting to see everyone be so successful. It only elevates your own riding and your own training when you can be around people like that, and I feel very blessed that we are that way.”
Perry-Glass agreed, “You look down the ranking list, and even people that are not on the ranking list or that are on the B squad, it’s amazing to see that you’re so close to them.” She also noted the importance of this strong team unit as a team sport.
“There’s only one class that’s individual. Growing up in team sports, you have to have that camaraderie and be to be a team player. I think it elevates everyone’s sportsmanship and I think it makes you perform better. Plus, you can lean on them when you have questions or concerns or ideas, and especially in stressful situations.”