Teamwork Makes the Dream Work for Olympian Adrienne Lyle and her Progeny Quinn Iverson

It was a whirlwind summer for Adrienne Lyle, who has spent the last few months jet-setting around Europe with her Olympic partner, Salvino, campaigning for a spot on the U.S. Dressage Team for the FEI World Dressage Championships. She ultimately qualified and represented the red, white and blue in Herning, Denmark earlier this month at the championship. 

However, with Salvino being her #1 focus, she relied on Quinn Iverson, her 23-year-old assistant trainer to hold down the fort back at home in Colorado. And by fort, we mean managing and training 22 horses in Adrienne’s absence and keeping her string fit for this week’s Markel/USEF Young Horse National Championships at Lamplight Equestrian Center.

 Adrienne Lyle and Fürst Dream

Flashback to seven years ago, when Quinn caught Debbie McDonald’s eye as a 16-year-old during a dressage clinic in Oregon.

“During my lesson, Debbie asked that I come join her program with Adrienne and I honestly didn’t believe it at the time and thought she was joking!” Quinn recalled. “But my trainer at the time, Cindy Sanders, went up to Debbie at the end of the day to confirm and Debbie said, “She can absolutely come, but my only stipulation is that Quinn has to finish high school.”

The decision to drop out of public school, enroll in an online program for her senior year of high school and pack her bags for River Grove Farm in Idaho turned into a life-changing experience.

Quinn Iverson and Beckham 19

“The working student position was great for me to be in the barn all day watching Adrienne and Debbie work with the horses and train,” Quinn said.

From Pony Club and an off-the-track Thoroughbred to winning the USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup Dressage National Championship at the 2022 U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions at Lamplight Equestrian Center, Quinn has developed into quite the powerhouse competitor with the help of her trainer Adrienne.

“Quinn always blows me away every time she goes in the ring. She is such a rock-solid competitor,” Adrienne said following Quinn’s 72.845% in Saturday’s U25 Grand Prix Freestyle on Beckham 19. “She has an amazing feel and makes things happen in the ring that most people her age cannot. I think that largely comes from the fact she rides every horse she can throw her leg over, which is the same thing I did. It’s a wonderful way to be educated.”

Quinn Iverson and Beckham 19

In 2019, Quinn had a glimpse of glory, earning the U.S. Young Rider Reserve Championship title aboard Black Diamond, or “Coal”, a gelding owned by her longtime sponsor, Billie Davidson.

“Coal was so special because I developed him up from Training Level to U25 and we actually qualified for the Brentina Cup last year, but he unfortunately sustained a small injury right before we left for the show. The original plan had been to retire him after Festival anyway, so he was retired a few weeks early. He’s loving life though, sound and spending his days grazing.”

Though she was heartbroken after retiring her mount, in December Quinn learned she may have another opportunity to compete in the Brentina Cup as her sponsor acquired Beckham 19 for Quinn to compete in the U25 Grand Prix division. With Beckham under her care, Quinn kept very busy as she had also earned Adrienne’s trust over the years and had grown from a working student to her assistant trainer.

Quinn Iverson and Beckham 19

Teamwork between Europe and Colorado

“This summer was crazy with 22 horses under my care while Adrienne was in Europe,” Quinn said. “I was in the saddle from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. riding a full string of horses, including all the horses Adrienne and Katie [Duerrhammer] are competing this week!”

Though Adrienne and Quinn would attempt to do virtual lessons, technology often made it challenging.

“We did the best we could over video lessons but it inevitably would freeze at the most inopportune moment, like a flying change. I’d go ‘Not sure if that was clean or not, but from what I can see, it looks pretty good!’” Adrienne laughed. “Quinn was a great sport about it despite the technology and different time zones. She was on her own and she obviously did an amazing job!”

Between her return from Denmark to packing up the trailers for Illinois, the duo only had a five day turnaround. 

“I think it’s incredible how Adrienne does what she does — that she can go straight from a European tour with so much pressure to hopping on these young horses I’ve been riding all summer – it’s amazing,” Quinn said. “It was really helpful that I’ve been in her training program long enough that I can keep in mind, without everyday help, what our goal is for each horse, and to able to keep them in shape and ready for her return.”

Adrienne Lyle and Valor

Quinn’s hard work and commitment this summer not only paid off with her own tricolor ribbon, but it certainly was a contributing factor for Adrienne as she racked up two championship titles on Saturday during the Markel/USEF Young Horse Dressage National Championships. On Betsy Juliano’s Fürst Dream she won the 4-Year-Old division with an overall score of 9.292, and on Kylee Lourie’s Valor she won the 5-Year-Old division with an overall score of 9.248.

“I was really thrilled with both of them today,” Adrienne said. “Dreamer was quite frisky today in the warm-up and going around the outside of the ring, but then he really focused when we went down the center line. He has such an incredible suppleness and he's got an amazing brain. For Valor, there seemed to be more electricity in the air compared to earlier in the week, but he put his head down, went right to work and was so rideable. He’s such a kind and giving horse, and I think that's what I enjoy the most about him.”

Adrienne Lyle and Valor