Laura Graves and Verdades (SusanJStickle.com)
Wellington, Fla. – The Stillpoint Farm CDIO3* at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival came to a close on Saturday afternoon with Laura Graves and Verdades claiming top honors in the Freestyle on a score of 80.175%. Originally scheduled for Friday evening but postponed due to weather, the Freestyle hosted 11 Small Tour combinations and a further four Big Tour competitors. Led by Graves, the U.S. secured six of the top 12 placings.
In their final competition before the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final, to be held in Las Vegas, Nev., April 15-19, Graves (Plymouth, Fla.) and her 13-year-old KWPN gelding produced the second highest Freestyle score of their career. With their victory on Saturday afternoon, the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games veterans added Individual Gold to the Team Gold medal they won with their USA I teammates on Thursday night.
“To hear it called double Gold medal winning is an amazing feeling,” said Graves recapping on her weekend. Additionally, she was extremely pleased with Verdades’ performance on Saturday. “He felt great in the test; I had one hiccup in the right half-pass when my rein got stuck on my boot but he’s matured so much and couldn’t have cared less. I couldn’t be happier with my horse.”
Allison Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Claudine and Fritz Kundrun’s 13-year-old Hanoverian stallion, Rosevelt, produced their personal best Freestyle score of 73.950% in a test that featured a high degree of difficulty in the one-time changes and piaffe. They finished the Freestyle in fifth place.
Kim Herslow (Stockton, N.J.) led the way for the four U.S. Small Tour combinations, earning a score of 73.800% for a solid effort from Kiroli Enterprises LLC’s 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Rosmarin. The 2013 Intermediaire I National Champions finished in overall sixth place.
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (Reston, Va.) and her own Rassing’s Lonoir, who were making their U.S. Team debut competing on the Small Tour, produced their third impressive performance of the week to finish in seventh place with a mark of 73.675%.
Small Tour combination, Kasey Perry (Orangevale, Calif.) and Diane Perry’s 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding Goerklingtgaards Dublet, were the third American competitors to go on Saturday, producing an energized test to score 73.225%, resulting in an ninth-place finish.
Chris Hickey (Wellington, Fla.) and Cecelia Stewart’s nine-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, Ronaldo, were the first U.S. combination to head down centerline on Saturday and performed a technically difficult Freestyle, which included three-time changes on a half circle both directions. They finished overall in 12th place on a score of 70.975%.
By Helen Murray