When there were 16 clear for the jump-off in the $132,000 Adequan Grand Prix CSI3*, coach McLain Ward knew his student Adrienne Sternlicht was going to have to get creative in her ride for the ribbons. The master himself drew up a plan for Adrienne to guide her mount, Cristalline, over an additional obstacle in the ring to shave some crucial seconds off their time. Their ride may not have been the first place round, but it definitely stole the show and drove the crowd wild. Just listen to the commentators cheering her on!
Adrienne said after the class that they “had to get a bit creative” with so much talent in the field, and with Cristalline being a naturally slower horse than some of the others in the field.
“It was exciting for me too,” recalled Adrienne. “We actually didn’t plan that when we walked. McLain told me that at two Olympics, he should have jumped the hedge and didn’t, so surely I could risk it in a three star grand prix. So I did! It was a unique experience for me and for my horse. She’s super brave. She actually responded better than I anticipated. We have to keep learning together.”
With a time of 39.36 seconds, Adrienne and Cristalline held the first place spot until Darragh Kenny shaved another second off of her winning time and Jessica Springsteen came in just 2/100s of a second faster later in the evening.
One cannot be disappointed with a third place finish against top notch competition in a CSI3* event, however, and we give mad props to Adrienne and McLain for their daredevilish attempt to get the job done. Just another reminder that your course is what you make it and a little bit of creativity can go a long way!