Adrienne Lyle and Salvino (SusanJSticklePhoto.com)
Aachen, Germany – All four horses on The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team, as well as two additional U.S. athlete-and-horse combinations competing in the Aachen CDI4*, have passed the horse inspection and are ready to compete at the 2017 World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen, in Aachen, Germany, July 19-23.
The U.S. team, led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, includes the 2016 Olympic combinations of Laura Graves and Verdades and Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet, in addition to the exciting combinations of Olympic veteran Adrienne Lyle with Salvino and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz with Lonoir. Featuring a combination of new talent and international experience, the U.S. team will vie for top honors in Aachen while gaining experience and building momentum towards the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C.
The competition begins with the CDIO5* Grand Prix on Thursday followed by the CDIO5* Grand Prix Special, the second half of the team competition, on Saturday morning. The U.S. has drawn the eighth and final position in the starting order among the eight countries competing and will compete in the following order:
Adrienne Lyle and Salvino: Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho), a 2012 London Olympian, rides Salvino Partners, LLC’s Salvino, a 2007 Hanoverian stallion. She and Salvino continue to progress in their partnership. The exciting, developing combination recently placed third in the Grand Prix CDI3* in Rotterdam last month.
Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet: Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) will compete with Diane Perry’s Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Warmblood gelding. Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet earned a team bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games and placed seventh in the 2017 FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha. In May, they won the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship and was part of the gold medal winning team at CDIO5* Rotterdam in June.
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir: LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) will compete her own and Mary Anne McPhail’s Lonoir, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding. LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir continue to grow their partnership after exhibiting strong performances including a team gold in CDIO5* Rotterdam and first-place finishes in both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special in CDIO3* Wellington, Fla. earlier this year.
Laura Graves and Verdades: Graves (Geneva, Fla.) will ride her own and Curt Maes’ Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding. Graves and her 2016 Olympic team bronze medal mount, Verdades placed second at the FEI World Cup ™ Dressage Final in Omaha. Most recently, they were part of the gold medal winning team at FEI Nations Cup ™ CDIO5* Rotterdam.
The following athlete-horse combinations will compete as individuals in the CDI4*:
Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Patricia Stempel’s Danilo, a 2004 Hanoverian gelding.
Kathleen Raine (Murrieta, Calif.) with her own, Jennifer Mason, and David Wightman’s Breanna, a 2000 Hanoverian mare.
Further information on the 2017 World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen, including a schedule of events and results, is available at chioaachen.de.
From Classic Communications/ U.S. Equestrian Communications Department
Watch Laura Graves, a member of the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team that won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, talk you through step-by-step instructions to teach your horse a flying change. Graves demonstrates the exercises, from simple transitions to flying changes to the more advanced tempi changes, aboard Fizau, owned by Susan Shattuck-Fryett, and on her 2016 Olympic mount Verdades. This week, cheer Graves on as she competes on The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at FEI Nations Cup CDIO5* Aachen aboard Verdades.
Dawn White-O’Connor and Legolas 92. Photo: SusanJStickle.com.
Rotterdam, Netherlands – Continuing their European Nations Cup tour, The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team will compete at FEI Nations Cup CDIO5* Rotterdam, June 22-25. The U.S. team, led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, includes Dawn White O’Connor, Kasey Perry-Glass, Laura Graves, and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz. Additionally, U.S. combinations Charlotte Jorst with Kastel’s Nintendo, Adrienne Lyle with Salvino, and Shelly Francis with Doktor will compete individually in the CDI3* competition. The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team will ride in the following order.
Dawn White-O’Connor with Legolas 92: White-O’Connor (Cardiff, Calif.) and Legolas 92 make their first Nations Cup appearance together. White-O’Connor and Four Winds Farm’s 2002 Westphalian gelding posted back-to-back victories in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the Dressage Affaire CDI3* in San Juan Capistrano in March. The combination then went on to win the $2,000 FEI Grand Prix Special at the Del Mar National Horse Show.
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz with Lonoir: In 2016 and 2017, LaGoy-Weltz (Haymarket, Va.) and her own 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding placed inside the top ten at every major competition. Already in 2017, LaGoy-Weltz and Lonoir accomplished eight top-ten finishes, including first place titles in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special during the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, Fla.
Kasey Perry-Glass with Goerklintgaards Dublet: Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) and Goerklintgaards Dublet, Diane Perry’s 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding contributed to the team bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. They then went on to achieve a top-ten finish at the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Omaha, Neb. and recently won the USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship at The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions.
Laura Graves with Verdades: Graves (Geneva, Fla.) is a well-known face on the U.S. dressage landscape. She and Verdades, her own and Curt Maes’s 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding, placed second at the 2017 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Omaha, Neb., in April. The duo also contributed to a team bronze medal in Rio and were part of the team silver medal efforts at 2016 CDIO5* Rotterdam.
Omaha, Neb. – Laura Graves and Verdades scored a personal best Grand Prix Freestyle of 85.307% to place second in the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final on Saturday. Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet and Steffen Peters and Rosamunde closed out the competition in the top 10. Isabell Werth (GER) and Weihegold OLD were the 2017 champions with a score of 90.704%, while Carl Hester (GBR) and Nip Tuck finished third with a score of 93.757%.
Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 2002 KWPN gelding, wowed the crowd with a fantastic freestyle full of artistic beauty and technically difficult elements. Two tempi changes on a curve followed by one tempi changes and lovely canter pirouettes mesmerized the home crowd.
“I was really looking forward to putting in a solid test today in the Final, knowing that we didn’t have the best of draws with all the big guns still to come in the class,” Graves said. “I’m super happy with my horse. He was awesome in that environment. He is known to be spooky, and he was just as steady as could be. It is a personal best score, and to do it here in Omaha, it feels great to have the crowd on their feet.”
Despite Verdades’ spooky nature, Graves felt that he was in his element in front of the home crowd. “They were cheering in parts of our test, and my horse was really enjoying it. Two years ago in Las Vegas, the crowd would cheer and he would spooky and get a little fast, and this year he was like, ‘Yeah, thanks guys!’ So it is awesome to be back with the same horse.”
Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) had a strong performance in her debut at the Final with Diane Perry’s Goerklintgaards Dublet. She and the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding finished on a high note despite bobbles in an extended trot movement and in the one-tempi changes. The pair received a score of 77.068% to finish in seventh place.
“I am very happy [with our score]. This is his first time in the indoor; there is a huge crowd. I couldn’t ask for a better ride from him,” Perry-Glass said.
Peters (San Diego, Calif.) had a solid performance with Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde in the one of the biggest tests of the mare’s career. The 2007 Rheinlander mare handled the electric atmosphere well thanks to Peters’ guidance. They executed wonderful pirouettes and half-passes. Peters and Rosamunde collected a score of 75.879% to finish ninth.
“She did great,” Peters said of “Rosie”. “It was a very difficult freestyle not just for an experienced Grand Prix horse but for a young one, so that she did as well as she did, I am super pleased with her.”
Omaha, Neb. – Three strong dressage combinations will represent the U.S. in the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, Neb. Running from March 30 – April 1, 2017, Laura Graves & Verdades, Kasey Perry-Glass & Goerklintgaards Dublet, and Steffen Peters & Rosamunde are in excellent form heading into the Final.
Graves (Geneva, Fla.) has found much success since her last Final appearance in 2015, where she finished fourth with her own Verdades. She and the 2002 KWPN gelding won team gold and individual silver at the 2015 Pan American Games, following that up with team bronze and individual fourth-place finishes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in their Olympic debut last summer. This year, Graves and “Diddy” have won at every turn at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) and earned numerous scores above 80%.
Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) will make her Final debut with Diane Perry’s Goerklintgaards Dublet, and the pair is a serious combination. She and the 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding impressed in their Olympic debut last year, helping to bring home a team bronze medal. They have continued to shine since their time in Rio, most recently winning the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W and earning a score of 80.805% in the Freestyle during week eight of the AGDF.
Peters (San Diego, Calif.) will make his fifth Final appearance in Omaha with Four Winds Farm’s talented 2007 Rheinlander mare, Rosamunde. He and “Rosie” have continued to develop their partnership since they began competing together in 2014. They garnered top placings throughout 2016, including wins in the Grand Prix CDI3* and Grand Prix Special CDI3* at CHIO Rotterdam. The pair began 2017 by winning the Grand Prix Special CDI3* and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*at the Las Vegas High Roller CDI & Open Show, and head into the Final having finished second in the Grand Prix CDI-W and third in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week seven of the AGDF.
Competition for the Final begins Thursday with the FEI Grand Prix beginning at 2 p.m. CT. Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle begins at 2 p.m. CT, with its results determining the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Champion. Watch the live stream on FEI TV.
Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian has announced the three athlete/horse combinations that will represent the United States at the 2017 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final, March 30 – April 1, 2017 at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, Neb.
The following combinations qualified during World Cup Qualifying Events in the North American League held throughout the 2016-2017 season:
Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) with her own Verdades, a 2002 KWPN gelding
Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) with Diane Perry’s Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding
Additionally, the FEI confirmed an extra starting place for:
Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) with Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde, a 2007 Rheinlander mare
Wellington, FL – February 24, 2017 – Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades were victorious in their third “Friday Night Stars” of the season in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by The Axel Johnson Group on Friday, February 24, during the seventh week of competition at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.
Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda) owned by Graves, took charge in the Global Arena this week, coming out on the top of the leaderboard yet again, with a winning score of 81.903%.
“Tonight he was hot, maybe hotter than he’s been the past two shows, so that was a bit challenging, and we have yet to ride a completely clean freestyle this year,” said Graves. “That’s definitely a focus going into March, but this horse does a fantastic job even when he’s hot and maybe a little spooky. He never lets me down, and he gets really excited when he’s about to go in. He knows when it’s his turn, and I love that about him.”
This is Graves’ and Verdades’ fifth score in a row of 80% or higher in FEI Large Tour competition.
Placing second and third to Graves in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W were her fellow 2016 Olympic teammates and bronze medalists, Kasey Perry-Glass and Steffen Peters.
Graves commented on her relationship with her teammates. “It’s so fun to have everyone back together and [to see] friendly faces. We are all so competitive; we’re all out there riding for two spots for the FEI World Cup (Finals). It doesn’t affect our relationships outside of that. It’s amazing to have friends that can compete against each other and want the best for each other. I just wish Steffen didn’t live in California.”
Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x La Costa x Olympic Ferro) owned by Diane Perry, placed second with a 79.541%.
Perry-Glass commented on her ride with Dublet. “I was expecting a little bit of a nervous horse today. Debbie McDonald and I have been working tirelessly on his relaxation, and he proved it tonight. All of our hard work and dedication [is] to that, to his happiness in the ring. He showed me tonight that he has more in him and that he loves his job. I really liked our piaffe passage tour. Everything about the test was fun for me.”
Peters rode Rosamunde, a 2007 Rhinelander mare (Rock Forever x First Lady) owned by Four Winds Farm, to third place, scoring 78.732%.
“Of course she still had more energy than I was hoping for, but it was controllable,” said Peters. “The flying changes were better this time. (There was) a bit of an exuberant transition to the canter in the beginning, but what a good girl. She tried extremely hard.”
Commenting on the possibility of a competition spot for the 2017 FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha, NE, Peters continued, “We will see what happens from here. The bottom line is, those are two extremely exciting World Cup candidates. If we happen to get a wild card, in that case, ‘Rosie’ and I will be ready.”
Judge at C, Isabel Wessels (GBR), spoke in regard to the rides she witnessed throughout the night.
“It was a really exciting competition to judge,” said Wessels. “I have to say, it was the first time I’ve done this new system, so it was nerve-wracking. I was blown away by the energy and scope of these three riders. They’re obviously good riders, but they have amazing horses. It’s just so lovely to sit there and think, ‘Oh should I give it a 9 or maybe a 10.’ It’s that type of judging where you can really find the high marks.”
Earlier in the day, Steffen Peters (USA) and Bailarino, a 2008 Oldenburg gelding (Breitling x Schila x De Niro) owned by Four Winds Farm, earned a victory in the FEI Intermediate I CDI 1*, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, with a score of 74.649%. Second place was awarded to Jaimey Irwin (CAN) and Donegal V, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Johnston x Remy x Gribaldi) owned by Team Irwin Supporters Group, with a 74.123%. Third place went to Tina Irwin (CAN) and Laurencio, a 2007 Oldenburg gelding (Laurentio x Pasadena x Donerhall) owned by Irwin, with a score of 73.860%.
Wellington, FL – February 23, 2017 – Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades claimed another victory in Thursday’s FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by The Axel Johnson Group, during the seventh week of competition at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.
2016 Olympic bronze medalists Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda) owned by Graves, ended the day with another win in the Global Arena and a score of 80.240%.
“It feels much more secure. It’s nice to know that what happened at the 5* wasn’t a one-hit-wonder,” Graves said of her second 80% score in the FEI Grand Prix. “It’s still pretty awesome. It’s a really, really exciting way for us to go in to the big things we have planned.”
Of her ride, Graves continued, “His ride-ability was really super. I was happy with my zig-zags. I feel like we covered a lot of ground in both directions. The pirouettes were really on; I was really happy with my final centerline. I think we ran out of a little steam. It was warm, and they were running a couple of minutes behind. He just doesn’t ever say ‘no,’ so he tried his best.”
Placing second and third to Graves in in the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W were 2016 Olympic teammates and bronze medalists, Steffen Peters (USA) and Kasey Perry-Glass (USA).
Peters and Rosamunde, a 2007 Rhinelander mare (Rock Forever x First Lady) owned by Four Winds Farm, took second place with a score of 74.820%.
“I still had a little more energy than I wanted,” said Peters about his ride with Rosamunde, “but it was so much better than two weeks ago. I’m super happy with her. She did awesome trot half-passes, beautiful extensions, the piaffe and passage transitions were better. She is just so much fun to ride. She’s so beautiful in the bridle (and) always goes. Most of the time we have to say, ‘Hey wait, not that much!’ So it was a beautiful step ahead, and I thought that showing here in this arena a bunch of times would help her. Certainly, that worked out as planned.”
“Apparently, our tattoos have been working!” joked Peters of the Olympic Rings tattoos that the USA Olympic Dressage Team members recently got together. “It’s nice to be here with the two teammates.”
Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x La Costa x Olympic Ferro) owned by Diane Perry, came in third with a 73.200%.
“I feel like it’s all still changing, and it’s going to change a lot because this is only his second year,” said Perry-Glass, of her progress with Dublet. “Two weeks ago, I felt like I was coming out and he was a little bit more amped to be in there. This week we finally found that relaxation in the ring, to where we can eventually add more power and consistency to it.”
Wellington, FL – February 10, 2017 – Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades captured another stunning victory in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, on Friday, February 10, during the fifth week of competition at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.
2016 Olympic Bronze Medalists Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda) owned by Graves, dominated in the Global Arena once again this week, coming out on top of the competition with a winning score of 82.000%.
“We are preparing for FEI World Cup Finals and even though we don’t have an indoor environment to do that,” Graves said, “we have this awesome Adequan® Global Dressage Festival to pack on Friday nights and still get a huge atmosphere for our horses and to practice in, and that is a very lucky thing to have here.”
This was Graves and Verdades’ first win in an FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* competition.
On her ride, Graves said, “The adrenaline is so high when you come out of the arena. You’re so in the moment that when it’s over, you kind of think, ‘What just happened?’ But he was great. He really feeds off of the atmosphere. He’s a highly sensitive horse, and he never lets me down.”
Placing second to Graves in in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* was Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE) and Paridon Magi, a 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Don Primero x Napoli x Napoleon 625) owned by Lövsta Stuteri, with a score of 77.450%.
“I was pleased today with the feeling of Magi,” said Vilhelmson Silfven. “He had a super warm-up and I think that when you get into this arena with this atmosphere, it’s just fun to ride. I had some small mistakes, but a very nice feeling, so overall I’m very pleased.”
2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde, a 2007 Rhinelander mare (Rock Forever x First Lady) owned by Four Winds Farm, took third place with a 77.325%.
“I had a different strategy today,” Peters said of his changed routine from Thursday. “This morning I worked her (Rosamunde) for about 45 minutes, and I walked her around all day. I had my doubts after yesterday’s Grand Prix if she could handle an atmosphere like she would have to at the FEI World Cup [Finals], and tonight she proved that she might have the potential to qualify. I’m super happy. There was one 80 already in there. She had a clean test that was much more relaxed then the Grand Prix, and in this atmosphere, I’m stoked.”
Devon Kane spoke on behalf of Diamante Farms, one of the founding sponsors of AGDF.
“We are very, very grateful for the riders who show up and for the owners who send the riders and everything in between that make this show so special,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for us. We feel very blessed and privileged to be able to sponsor here. It’s pretty phenomenal.”
Judge Gary Rockwell spoke about the CDI 5* competition in Florida.
“I think it’s a huge thing for this spot and for all of Florida, and it’s attracting the best horses we have,” he said. “It’s fun to see these horses and riders progressing and getting better and better. We enjoy judging it. When the horses are good and the quality is good, the judging is easy.”
A ceremony was also held Friday night to celebrate the official retirement of Lars Petersen’s (DEN) Grand Prix mount, 1998 Danish Warmblood mare, Mariett, owned by Marcia Pepper.
Ken Braddick of dressage-news.com awarded Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades a special brow band to signify their induction into the “80% Club,” after her win in Thursday’s FEI CDI 5* Grand Prix. The victory puts her alongside U.S. Olympic teammate Steffen Peters as a member of the “Club,” which counts only 15 riders in the world as members.
Earlier in the day, 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalists Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x La Costa x Olympic Ferro) owned by Diane Perry, won the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, with a 73.569%.
“I had a little bit of a rough start with my Grand Prix, so to come back and to ride an almost clean test was good. I’m holding onto this winning cooler very tightly, because I’ve wanted one so badly!” Perry-Glass joked.
“We definitely improved the extended trot,” said Perry-Glass of her freestyle test. “We did not break this time, and I felt like I was able to call up a little more power from him today. We had a few connection issues in the half-pass, but that’s just something that we are always working on with him. He has really good piaffe and passage, and I felt like he was pretty honest with that today.”
Second place was awarded to 2016 Olympic reserves, Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (Diamond Hit x Gurena x Renoir I) owned by Patricia Stempel, with a score of 73.255%.
Francis commented, “I made a point with the cooler weather to ask for a little bit more and for him to be a little perkier because yesterday he was a little blah. He felt a lot better today. We had a few little moments like with the one [tempis] where we could have covered a little more ground, but it was nice and steady so I just left it alone.”
Lisa Wilcox (USA) and mount, Galant, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Escuro x Bellisima) owned by Jacqueline Shear, rounded out the top three with a 72.196%.
“What I’m going for right now are just mistake free tests,” said Wilcox. “There are so many more years on that horse that I don’t want to push too much right now and end up with mistakes that intimidate him. I want him to go in, really enjoy that arena, feel confident, feel successful, and then I think toward the end of the season I can start to power him up in there. I think just that gear alone is pretty nice to ride. I see a lot of fun in the future.”
The FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, was won by Charlotte Jorst (USA) and Kastel’s Nintendo, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Negro x Rodieni R x Monaco) owned by Kastel Denmark, with a score of 73.075%.
Commenting on her freestyle, Jorst said, “I was very excited to be back out there. I haven’t ridden that freestyle since the FEI World Cup [Finals]. It felt really great to get back out and get Nintendo back out there. He loves his freestyle and loves this music, and so do I, so it’s always a highlight for us to get to do it.”
Continuing the USA sweep were second place finishers Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and Lonoir, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (De Noir x Lorani x Loran) owned by LaGoy-Weltz, with a 72.950%.
Explaining her choice in music for her freestyle “Ain’t Misbehavin”, LaGoy-Weltz said, “I liked the genre, and it kind of swings to him. We used similar music in the small tour – it was based off of that – so we just upgraded that to start out with for him, since it’s familiar and he goes well to it.”
Third place was awarded to Dawn White-O’Connor and her new dancing partner, Steffen Peters’ Olympic mount Legolas 92, a 2002 Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Furstin x Florenstan II) owned by Four Winds Farm. They received a score of 72.850%.
“He (Legolas 92) was really good in there today,” said White-O’Connor. “He was really relaxed, so I was happy with that. Sometimes that’s not always the case, but he was really good about it. There were a couple miscommunications because he knows that freestyle really well. There were a few places where he would start a little before or after me, but that’s just some stuff that we have to work out in getting to know each other.”
Wellington, FL – February 9, 2017 – Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades climbed to the top of the leaderboard in Thursday’s FEI Grand Prix CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, during the fifth week of competition at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.
2016 Olympic Bronze Medalists Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda) owned by Graves, ended their day with a winning score of 80.080%.
“This is pretty monumental for us,” said Graves. “We’ve been working at 80% in every test for a while now, probably since our first year at Grand Prix. Knowing what was possible with this horse and to be rewarded today while still feeling like I may have some improvements left, it’s encouraging to have the judging panel be generous and my horse be so generous, and for us to have such a great show to come out and compete at.”
The score was Graves’ first one above 80% in a FEI CDI 5* Grand Prix, putting her alongside U.S. Olympic teammate Steffen Peters as a member of the “80% Club,” which counts only 14 riders in the world as members.
Placing second to Graves in in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 5* was fellow 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde, a 2007 Rhinelander mare (Rock Forever x First Lady) owned by Four Winds Farm. They scored 73.820%.
“I had a very electric horse under me today, so the first halt was certainly a reflection of that,” said Peters. “Overall I have to say that there were lots of things that felt absolutely wonderful. Sometimes she can be a bit unsteady in the bridle, and she was just perfect in the connection today.”
He continued, “It’s taking time with ‘Rosie’. She is ten and is still a firecracker – nothing different than with Legolas when he was ten. Horses at that age, they need to have the spark to be brilliant later. She is super honest and is a bit of an overachiever. It’s now about the exposure for her.”
Third place was awarded to Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE) and Paridon Magi, a 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Don Primero x Napoli x Napoleon 625) owned by Lövsta Stuteri, with a score of 73.700%.
Vilhelmson Silfven commented on her ride, “I was very happy with Magi today. He ran a little out of gas. Maybe I warmed him up a little too long, but overall he’s so ambitious and tries to do his best every time.
“I must also say, when Laura got her 80%, I got goose bumps,” Vilhelmson Silfven added. “It’s a cool thing to have. I was really happy [for her]. It was my best memory from today.”
Earlier in the day, Steffen Peters (USA) and Bailarino, a 2008 Oldenburg gelding (Breitling x Schila x De Niro) owned by Four Winds Farm, captured a win in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1*, presented by Engel & Völkers, with a score of 72.719%.
Coming in second place was Jane Cleveland (USA) and Monique, a 2009 Danish Warmblood Mare (Temptation x Kaprice x Matador) owned by Cleveland, with a score of 71.886%. Third place was awarded to Adrienne Lyle (USA) and Horizon, a 2007 Hanoverian mare (Hotline x Don Schufro) owned by Elizabeth Juliano, with a 70.482%.
The FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, was won by Chase Hickok (USA) and Sagacious HF, a 1999 KWPN gelding (Welt Hit II x Judith x Cocktail) owned by Hyperion Farm Inc., with a score of 71.667%.
Second place was awarded to Megan Lane (CAN) and San D’Or, a 2002 Hanoverian gelding (De Niro x Rosana M x Regazonni) owned by Jill Irving, with a 70.647%. Placing third was Susan Pape (GBR) and Harmony’s Don Noblesse, a 2007 Hanoverian stallion (Dancier x Descana x Don Davidoff) owned by Harmony Sporthorses, with 70.608%.
“This is our first year jumping up into the Open Grand Prix,” said Hickok. “We were trying to make sure that he stayed really calm and relaxed, and then today we kind of added a little more jazz and a little more excitement, and I think the score really reflected that.”
After competing at Devon last fall, the pair took some time off to work on preparation for the bigger classes.
Hickok commented, “Every time he comes out, he gets better and better, and I’m stepping up to the plate a little bit. It’s wonderful to have a horse like that, one that can show you the ropes through the U25 and now the Open Grand Prix. He’s just the best competitor you could hope for.”