At Trilogy Saddles, President Debbie Witty hand-selects each Ambassador. These riders represent the very best in equestrian sport, with an emphasis on the welfare of the horse and the epitome of horse/rider partnership that our equipment stands for. We hope you enjoy reading about our Trilogy Ambassadors!
Trilogy Saddles Ambassador
Saddle: Amadeo Elite
Adrienne Lyle always wanted to work with horses, but never dreamed it would look like this. Now assistant trainer to Olympian and World Cup Champion Debbie McDonald, Adrienne points out she faced plenty of adversity, and support, along the way. “We had a little cattle farm on Whidbey Island, near Seattle, Washington. My Dad was a lawyer, and Mom was a pediatrician. I grew up with animals, but not showing; no one in my family was into showing, and when I wanted to do it, they fought it tooth and nail at first,” she says.
Apparently her parents feared the ‘horse show child’ stereotype, and told Adrienne exactly what they would and wouldn’t support. At the time, it was hard; now, she’s glad they did it. “I’m very thankful they kept me so grounded. I got started with a $200 auction pony, worked that one for a while, then sold her and bought another. I worked my way up over the years. I once had a Thoroughbred mare that I later found out was used as a saddle bronc; she taught me a whole lot about riding,” she laughs.
As part of the Debbie McDonald team, Adrienne says she’s absorbing all she can, but is inspired by Debbie as well. “I love the harmony she has with Brentina. I think riders can be mechanically and technically correct, but then they don’t always have that connection. I strive to find harmony with the horses I ride.”
Trilogy President Debbie Witty reports that Adrienne also rides without the ‘emotional baggage’ some riders carry with them. “Adrienne rides with passion, but without any pent-up negative emotions like fear or anxiety,” she says. “She’s a cool customer; she has a way of setting aside her emotions, especially in the competition arena, yet she still savors every step the horse takes, and the flow of the movement.” Debbie points out what an advantage that can be, especially for a rider early in their career. “I think Adrienne has the ability right now to pilot a horse to the Olympics. She already can ride through the pressures of competition, such as the mistakes a horse may have in the arena, with a lot of poise and self-confidence and without coming off as cocky or overconfident. That’s a huge accomplishment for someone so young.”
Although she hasn’t had the experience of riding centerline at the Grand Prix level for very long, Adrienne already knows it takes more than talent and determination to achieve success; a good rider is also part of a team. “There are so many different people behind the scenes. Even if it’s the best horse and rider, you won’t get very far without everyone’s support.”
Part of that support includes regular visits from Debbie Witty, who travels to River Grove Farm several times each year, reflocking saddles for each horse to accommodate physical changes as they develop. Adrienne says it helps keep the horses on-track in training, as well as happy and healthy in their work. “What I like about Trilogy is that when the horse gives you the correct response, it’s always going to be a good experience for them, because they’re brilliant at fitting the saddle to the horse,” she says.
Adrienne knows first-hand about the challenges of having something that suits you; she’s a whisker under six feet tall herself. Riding the Amadeo Elite, she reports she clicked with the saddle immediately. “For me, it felt natural, secure, right away,” she says, pointing out that because Trilogy fits the rider and the horse, everyone’s as balanced and comfortable as possible. “Each horse has his own saddle, custom-fitted to the horse’s back. Trilogy has different models and sizes, then they adjust the flocking to the horse. But, because I’ve chosen the model that fits me, it fits both of us.”
As a trainer, Adrienne is living her dream of bringing talented young horses up through the levels. Debbie Witty says she’s someone to watch. “Adrienne has even more ability than I initially thought. Plus, she’s both talented and hard-working. She has the strength and self-carriage to look elegant, combined with a ton of feel for what the horse needs. She knows when to ask for more and when to back off. It’s a rare combination.”