A new place, a new ride, and two very timely reasons to celebrate this weekend for American rider Adrienne Lyle.

Just days after the announcement that she and owner Betsy Juliano would be retiring former top horse, Salvino, to the breeding shed, team silver Olympic medalist Adrienne Lyle showcased her new partnership with Helix at the CDI4* Myakka City Olympic observation event at TerraNova.

The results? You could say they speak for themselves.

On Friday, April 5, Lyle & Helix—a 12-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Zen Elite Equestrian and formerly campaigned by Sweden’s Marina Mattson—won the Grand Prix on a score of 72.021%. On Saturday, they doubled down, earning a 73.979% to win the Grand Prix Special.

Second place went to American Ashley Holzer on the 11-year-old KWPN gelding, Hansel, on a score of 70.766%. Close behind on 70.681% was Canada’s Jill Irving with Delacroix, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding.

Lyle’s dominant score is particularly telling in the lead-up to team selection for Paris 2024. In Olympic dressage competition, only 10 nations advance to compete in the Grand Prix Special—the class that ultimately decides team medals—making it a key component for the U.S. selection committee. As part of the process, a shortlist of eight or so U.S. horse/rider combinations will be chosen to travel to Europe to compete this spring ahead of final team selection for the Games.

In other words, Lyle’s weekend of clutch results couldn’t have come at a better time. The average of her TerraNova scores, combined with her second-place finish (on 71.065%) in the CDI3* Grand Prix in Wellington a week ago, move Lyle & Helix into third place on Team U.S.A.’s shortlist.

“I am thrilled with Helix today in the Grand Prix Special. That was our first Special together, and he is just super fun to ride in that test,” Lyle told TerraNova. “He has really powerful extensions and a great ability to come back and collect. He was very focused and tried really hard today.

“Just showing off that range of motion with him is pretty fun,” Lyle continued. “His piaffe felt really secure in there today, and it just felt like he was really enjoying himself.”

Lyle added that with back-to-back days of competition, there wasn’t much time for major adjustments to her program—not that any were needed. “This morning, he just went out for an easy stretch in the arena. We practiced just a few of the transitions from the Special, since we haven’t had a chance to run through [them] yet. We just relied on the fact that we can trust him, and he’s a good boy.”

A super-talent with the brain to match? According to Lyle’s longtime trainer, former U.S. Dressage Team Coach Debbie McDonald, you can’t ask for more. “I don’t think the horse has a hole,” a proud McDonald said after the class. “I think he’s 100 percent good in everything. It’s just, still, a very, very new partnership.”

A new partnership that all of us will be watching closely this spring.

Noted McDonald, “For what [Adrienne] has done, already, in just two months, it blows my mind.”