Mendoza Rebounds for Freestyle Win, Lyle Takes GP for Special at 2024 CDI Ocala

Sat, 04/13/2024 - 08:11
2024 CDI Ocala
Julio Mendoza and Jewel's Goldstrike at the 2024 CDI Ocala :: Photos © Lily Forado

On the second day of competition at the 2024 CDI Ocala on 12 April 2024, Ecuadorean Julio Mendoza Loor (ECU) and Jewel’s Goldstrike rebounded for a freestyle win, while Adrienne Lyle and Helix won the Grand Prix for Special over 25 other competitors. 

This Ocala show has been able to attract some of America's best East coast based riders with a big tour that is well filled. Twenty-five competed in the Special tour and 13 in the Kur tour. The small tour had nine combinations entered and the other CDI classes, unfortunately, had the bare minimum of entries with only one rider.


Mendoza Loor is no stranger to the winner’s circle at WEC – Ocala, having won all six classes in three shows leading up to this week. With an uncharacteristic fourth-place finish in Thursday’s Grand Prix as his horse was tense and spooky in the windy conditions, Mendoza and Jewel’s Goldstrike rebounded in the Grand Prix Freestyle 3* to take top honours once again with a score of 77.055%.

“Today, my strong points were my canter pirouettes,” he described. “It was the highlight of the test. The piaffe was really good too, especially the piaffe from the canter pirouette; that transition was really excellent tonight. I wanted him to stay with me and be with me during the entire test – he did it, and I am very pleased with that.”

Mendoza Loor and the 10 other competitors were judged by a panel including Stephen Clarke (GBR), Alice Schwab (AUT), Alban Tissot (FRA), Natacha Waddell (BRA) and Raphaël Saleh (FRA). Second place in the freestyle went to the Grand Prix winners, Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Lars van de Hoenderheide owned by Zen Elite Equestrian Center. She and the 12-year-old BWP gelding by Negro x Layout scored 76.145% in their first freestyle together. Third place went to Pablo Gomez Molina (ESP) on Ulises de Ymas, owned by Yeguada de Ymas S.L., Javier Bacariza and Cristina Danguillecourt. Gomez Molina and the 14-year-old PRE gelding (Seni Indio x Superior II) received a score of 74.315%.

Pablo Gomez Molina on Ulises de Ymas
Following last year’s Pan American Games in October where they won individual gold and qualified for this summer’s Paris Olympic Games, Mendoza Loor brought out his 13-year-old KWPN gelding by Bretton Woods x Scandic he owns with Jessica and Justin Mendoza, just once in February at WEC – Ocala prior to this show.

“He knows what he has to do,” commented Mendoza Loor. “He doesn’t have to learn anymore; the focus is keeping him happy. It’s about keeping his head and his heart in the right place. We did two shows here in the Unites States, and we are going to Europe in May. We will do two or three shows in Europe before the Olympics.”

When Mendoza Loor steps into the Olympic arena at Versailles, France, he will be the first rider from Ecuador to compete in dressage at the Olympic Games.

“It's been a long-time dream,” he expressed. “I am 45 years old, and I’ve been thinking about this since I was 11. It’s taken many years of hard work and consistency, patience, self-discipline and self-confidence. My wife Jessica is the rock star behind this. She is the one pushing me to be better. I am very excited.”

Lyle and Helix Top GP for Special

Adrienne Lyle and Helix
In a huge field of grand prix athletes, it was Adrienne Lyle who topped the leaderboard once again, this time in the Grand Prix for Special CDI3*. She and Helix scored 73.065% to win, despite being only their fourth class together. Helix joined barnmate Lars van de Hoenderheide in the trip over from Europe in January 2024 to compete with Lyle.

The judging panel included Kristi Wysocki (USA), Alice Schwab (AUT), Alban Tissot (FRA), Stephen Clarke (GBR) and Natacha Waddell (BRA), and they scored all new combinations as the top three in the class. Following Lyle and Helix in the victory gallop was U.S. Olympian Kasey Perry-Glass with Heartbeat W.P., a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Charmeur x Ferro owned by Diane Perry. In their fifth CDI class together, the pair scored 71.065%. Endel Ots (USA) and Bohemian, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding (by Bordeaux x Samarant) owned by Zen Elite Equestrian Center, finished third on 70.782% in only their third CDI class as a pair.

Despite being together for less than three months, Lyle was thrilled with how Helix performed and is flourishing in her program.

“He is a horse that has incredible try,” she said of the 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Apache x Jazz. “It’s new riding, new style, a different program, and from the second he got here he’s so open to letting you mold him however you want to. I’m incredibly impressed with his character.”

Kasey Perry-Glass on Heartbeat WP
Lyle noted that while Helix is well versed in the grand prix, her main goal is working on “self-carriage and lengthening the frame.” She explained, “Everyone likes their horses to go in a different balance with different aids. He’s got a super talent for all of the work. I’m excited for what the future holds when he does get more time and strength.”

For Friday’s test, Lyle was “really happy with his overall rideability.” She added, “His piaffe/passage is always great. I was happy in the canter work, and in the changes, I was able to cover more ground, ride them more forward and maintain that self-carriage. It’s starting to get a bit more solid through all parts of the test.”

Lyle has a one-two punch of grand prix horses at the moment, and the two have become good buddies as they work and play together. Helix likes being entertained and perhaps gets too friendly with “Lars.”

“I think Helix annoys Lars sometimes,” laughed Lyle. “In the trailer, Lars stands and never moves, and Helix is always trying to get his attention!”

Endel Ots and Bohemian
Helix will return to the ring for the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, and Lyle will work again to have “another confidence-building ride” on Saturday.

“Having all these shows back to back, we’re trying to maintain and keep him happy and comfortable where he is,” she said. “There is a lot more in his tank, but now is not the time to push. He doesn’t have to peak yet.”

Sadis Wins Again

Katrina Sadis and Valerius Ymas, owned by Yeguada de Ymas S.L. and Cristina Danguillecourt, notched their second win in a row this week, this time leading the Intermediate 1 CDI1* with a score of 69.804%. Natalia Bacariza Danguillecourt (ESP) and Dhannie Ymas, a 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Don Crusador x Weltmeyer) she owns with Yeguada de Ymas S.L., moved up to second place after placing third on Thursday. They scored 68.971%. Shelly Francis (USA) and Dante, her own 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Danone II x Andiamo 28, scored 66.618% for third place.

-- WEC press release, edited by Eurodressage - Photos © Lily Forado

Related Link
Scores: 2024 CDI Ocala
Lyle and Sadis Top Opening Classes at 2024 CDI Ocala