Tag Archives: Laura Graves

Team USA Brings Triple Threat to FEI Grand Prix CDI-W at AGDF

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

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.”

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde

“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.”

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Laura Graves and Verdades Achieve First FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* Victory at AGDF

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

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%.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Paridon Magi

“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.”

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Laura Graves and Verdades Score 80% in FEI Grand Prix CDI 5* at AGDF

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

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.”

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde

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.”

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Laura Graves and Verdades Record Another Win at AGDF’s “Friday Night Stars”

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 27, 2017 – Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades, 2016 Rio Olympic Games bronze medalists, took their second victory gallop of the 2017 season in the “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W, presented by U.S. PRE Association, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) on Friday.

Laura Graves (USA) and her 2016 Rio Olympic Games mount, Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda) owned by Graves, topped the leader board once again, with a show stopping performance and a score of 80.728%.

Graves’ and Verdades’ performance marks the sixth time that a score of 80% or above has been recorded at AGDF, and the pair holds three of those scores.

“This horse has a heart of gold, and he loves to come out here. There is nothing that I can really take credit for. I’d like to say that he was born this way and maybe I’ve nurtured it or not taken it out of him, but he’s just a magical character,” said Graves, who also won the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Yeguada de Ymas, as well as Friday night’s Owner and Groom Awards.

Of her ride and her time back at AGDF, she commented, “It certainly feels good to start the season on an 80%. That’s been our goal by the end of a lot of our previous seasons, so that’s great. It just feels so good to be back here at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. I’ve ridden in a lot of stadiums now, and there is nothing compared to this.”

The second place finish of the night was awarded to Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén (SWE) and her mount Paridon Magi, a 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Don Primero x Napoli x Napoleon 625) owned by Lövsta Stuteri, with a 77.517%.

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén and Paridon Magi

“I was very pleased with Magi today. I just wanted to make sure the judges were awake, so I drifted a little from my floor plan in the beginning to scare them a bit,” she joked. “Because of that I couldn’t get the highest grade myself, but the horse was super tonight. It’s a great atmosphere to ride in here, so it was nice.”

Arlene “Tuny” Page (USA) and Woodstock, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Havel x Mirania) owned by Page, rounded out the top three with a score of 74.020%.

Page echoed Graves’ appreciation for the current state of competition. “Without this organization (at AGDF), American dressage would not be where it is today. Being here (at AGDF) has elevated us internationally, like we’ve never been before,” she said.

Judge Lee Tubman said of the new Degree of Difficulty scoring used in the freestyle, “The new system that has been established, (and) overall I think this will work very well. I’m happy to have been a part of it tonight and to have a better understanding, and I look forward to working with it again in the future.”

Allyn Mann, Director of Adequan®, said, “After all of these years, it just continues to be one of the most enjoyable experiences ever. There are great people, great horses.”

The night also featured a special retirement ceremony for two-time Olympic PRE stallion Grandioso (Adelante x Sevillano IX), owned by Kim Boyer. The stallion competed for the Spanish team with rider Daniel Martin Dockx (ESP) at the London Olympics in 2012, and then again at Rio in 2016.

Other classes of the day included the FEI Young Rider Team (CDIY), sponsored by Yeguada de Ymas, and won by Codi Harrison (USA) and Katholts Bossco, a 2007 Danish Warmblood gelding (Blue Hors don Schufro x Katholts Farceur x Michellino) owned by Harrison, with a score of 69.763%. Victory in the FEI Intermediate II 16-25, sponsored by Diamante Farms, went to Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) and Dhannie Ymas, a 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Don Crusador x Welina) owned by Yeguada de Ymas S.L., with a score of 68.000%.

The FEI Junior Rider Team class, sponsored by The Axel Johnson Group, awarded the win to Natalia Bacariza Danguillecourt (ESP) and Rihanna Ymas, a 2008 Brandenburger mare (Relius x Akira x Akzento) owned by Yeguada de Ymas S.L., with a score of 67.730%. The winning score for the Intermediate I CDI1*, presented by Chesapeake Dressage Institute, was captured by Lindsay Kellock and Royal Prinz, a 2001 Oldenburg stallion (Royal Diamond x Mystica x Dream of Glory) owned by Teresa Simmons, with a score of 70.132%.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Laura Graves and Verdades Victorious as Week 3 Kicks Off at AGDF

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photo Credit: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – January 26, 2017 – 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Laura Graves (USA) and her horse Verdades won the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Yeguada de Ymas, on the opening day of the third week of the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). The competition, which runs from January 26-29 and is presented by the US PRE Association, is held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.

Coming in on the top of the leaderboard in the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W, presented by Yeguada de Ymas, was Laura Graves and her 2016 Rio Olympic mount Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda), earning an impressive score of 76.660% and a standing ovation from spectators.

Graves commented, “This is now his (Verdades) fourth year doing the big tour, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that you have a plan and you also have ten other plans. He’s a super honest horse. His pirouettes can always be very good. I thought he was very rideable in those today. His half passes were nice.”

This was the pair’s first time in the show ring since their Team Bronze Medal win for the USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“He’s notorious for being super sensitive. I was really thrilled about how he came out and he schooled super, and then went through the test really trying his best,” said Graves.

Regarding the future and her goals, Graves said, “I really hope to qualify for the FEI World Cup Finals. Hopefully because it is so close, we can make it happen this year!”

Placing second 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 75.080%. Third place was awarded to Charlotte Jorst (USA) and mount, Kastel’s Nintendo, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Negro x Rodieni R x Monaco) owned by Kastel Denmark, with a 73.080%.

Fourth place finishers Kathrine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Alcazar, a 2005 KWPN gelding (Cantango x Polina) owned by Jane Forbes Clark, were awarded the only 10 of the day, on their final halt from Judge Christoph Hess (GER) at E.

Earlier in the day, Jaimey Irwin (CAN) and mount Donegal V, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Johnston x Remy x Gribaldi) owned by Team Irwin Supporters Group, captured a win in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1*, presented by the Chesapeake Dressage Institute, with a score of 70.746%.

For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

Laura Graves Leads US in Dressage Individual Final at 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Excitement filled the air as the final day of dressage got underway at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center on Monday. The top 18 competitors from eight nations competed in the Grand Prix Freestyle, the deciding competition for the Individual medals. Only three athletes from each nation were eligible to compete. After winning the Bronze medal with teammate Kasey Perry-Glass on Friday, Steffen Peters, Alison Brock, and Laura Graves entered the sun-filled stadium to perform the Freestyle set to personally-chosen music. All three had fantastic performances, with Graves coming in again as the highest-placed U.S. rider and finishing just outside the medals in fourth place.

The pressure was on for Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding. The combination was competing in its first Olympic Games, and turned in personal bests in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special, leading the U.S. to the Team Bronze medal. The pair was the penultimate combination to go in the Freestyle and produced a breath-taking performance to earn 85.196%, which put them in third place with Germany’s Isabell Werth left to go. Although Werth’s ride on Weihegold Old dropped Graves to fourth, it was a fabulous finish.

The pair executed many high-risk movements throughout the test, including two-tempi canter flying changes on a half-circle leading into one-tempi changes, which earned multiple 9s from the jury, as did their double canter pirouettes, harmony, degree of difficulty, and music.

“I’m thrilled with the score,” said a beaming Graves, who earned three personal-best scores while competing in Rio. “Because Verdades is really honest, the degree of difficulty is something that I can play with and so you have to highlight those moments. We did them twice, showing that it’s not just luck, and the judges obviously rewarded us for it today.”

In regards to how Verdades felt in the arena, Graves commented, “I don’t feel like I had quite as much horse as I’ve had over the past couple days. It’s very hot and we’ve been here just over two weeks, so it’s been a long time for us to keep our horses going like this, but he was ready. He stayed really honest, and I couldn’t have asked for more.”

“I’m just so happy,” continued Graves. “I believe in a system, following a routine, and finding a trainer you trust and staying with them. I’m so blessed that both Robert [Dover] and my personal trainer, Debbie McDonald, have sacrificed so much of their time this summer to be over in Europe with the Team and it really has made a difference.”

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Peters (San Diego, Calif.), competing in his fourth Olympic Games, and Legolas 92, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Four Winds Farm, were the first combination into the arena Monday morning. The pair set the bar high from the start. Opening with the well-known song “Under Pressure”, the pair’s well-executed and harmonious test captured the audience and seven judges’ attention. The jury gave the pair several 9s for their music, choreography, and degree of difficulty, and Peters earned a final score a 79.393% for a 12th-place finish.

“I’m super happy, and it’s super exciting!” said Peters with a grin from ear-to-ear. “I added a few extra degrees of difficulty to the test today. The double pirouette before the canter-piaffe transition is a new one, and I hadn’t done the piaffe-pirouette on center line in a while. I knew if I’d be slightly ahead of the music I would do a double pirouette after the extended canter. Since he did all the other piaffes very well, I thought we’d take a risk and see if he turns with the music and especially in the piaffe-pirouette to the left. He was dead-on with the music, and even there I already had a big smile on my face, and today was 99% less pressure than the previous days, so honestly I had a blast in there – I just loved it.”

“I hadn’t been first into the ring for years, so it was my time!” added Peters with a laugh. “I was hoping for a score of around 80% and the judges agreed with me, so I’m super happy! Legolas just had a fantastic three days at the Olympic Games. I wish I could put into words how much winning the [Team] Bronze medal means to me and also how much it means to me how well Legolas did here.”

Third into the arena was Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and the 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion Rosevelt, owned by Claudine and Fritz Kundrun. They performed a lovely Freestyle to score 76.160% for 15th place in their first Olympic Games.

“I’m really happy with my test and Rosevelt was very good, bless his heart,” said Brock. “I just love that music – I think it really suits him very well. It’s a really beautiful compilation of music from a group called Tanghetto. The canter music is from ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’. It’s the type of music that doesn’t overwhelm the audience and it draws you into the horse. I’m really happy.”

Graves summed up all the U.S. riders’ feelings at the end, saying, “This has been an incredible experience to be here with this Team, and we have such a huge family of supporters who came this far just to be with us all. We sometimes forget that it’s more than just us and the horse. We have so many people around us who make this happen and to watch what they sacrifice for our dreams is something that is very emotional for everyone.”

Defending Olympic Champions Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain and her mount Valegro, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, who are also World and European Champions, claimed their second consecutive Olympic Individual Gold medal, topping the field with an impressive score of 93.857%. Germany’s Isabell Werth and the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare Weihegold Old, claimed the Individual Silver with a score of 89.071%, making Werth the most decorated Olympic equestrian of all time with a record 10 Olympic medals (six Gold and four Silver). Teammate Kristina Broring-Sprehe and the 15-year-old Hanoverian stallion Desperados FRH took the Individual Bronze medal with a score of 87.142%.

Show jumping returns to action on Tuesday with the first half of the two-round team competition, beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET. Watch live on NBCOlympics.com.

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

US Dressage Team Wins Bronze Medal at Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The U.S. Dressage Team won the Bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Friday following the conclusion of the second half of team competition, the Grand Prix Special. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, the team, comprised of Allison Brock and Rosevelt, Laura Graves and Verdades, Kasey Perry-Glass and Dublet, and Steffen Peters and Legolas 92, won the Bronze medal on a final score of 76.667%. Germany won the Team Gold on 81.936%, while Great Britain claimed the Team Silver with a score of 78.595%.

The third day of dressage team competition featured the top six teams and eight individual combinations from the first two days’ Grand Prix at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center. Each team’s top three scores from both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special were averaged together to determine the team medals.

It took a personal best score of 80.644% from anchor rider Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, to claim the Team Bronze medal as The Netherlands moved slightly ahead of the U.S. before her ride. The pair held fifth place individually going into the Grand Prix Special and their performance was truly spectacular. The duo scored mostly 8s or above throughout the test and earned six 9s for their left canter pirouette down centerline and for their flying changes in canter.

“We’ve captured the elusive 80% – it does exist!” said a thrilled Graves, who was one of only five riders to score above 80%. “I knew the test was going well, but you just always hope that your reflections match up with the judges. I had no idea going into the ring what I needed for a score and to see my teammates so happy and then to achieve my personal best score – and a score I’ve been reaching for – was just icing on our cake today.”

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Peters (San Diego, Calif.), competing in his fourth Olympic Games, rode Legolas 92, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Four Winds Farm. The pair held sixth place individually going into the Grand Prix Special and produced a superb test with one mistake coming at the beginning of the test in the left trot half-pass. The duo quickly recovered to produce a score of 74.622%.

“I’m super happy with Legolas. We delivered for the team; that was my goal and that’s what we did,” said a delighted Peters. “We had a couple of little fumbles – he lost his balance in the left half-pass which is uncharacteristic of him and we had a little delayed reaction into the first piaffe, but then he did it beautifully.

“The rest of the test was very clean,” he continued. “He did his changes very nicely, but I knew that after the half-pass ‘fumble’ that if we had one more mistake in the flying changes then we’d be below the required average score to stay ahead of The Netherlands. I knew going into the ring exactly what score I had to get and I’m super happy that it worked out – but it was close!”

Olympic first-timers Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Rosevelt, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Claudine and Fritz Kundrun, were the trailblazers as the first U.S. pair to perform its test. The duo executed a solid and confident test, earning a score of 73.824% from the seven judges with many good highlights throughout, earning high marks their first extended trot, flying changes, and extended canter.

“I was really happy with him,” remarked Brock. “He was really good. He was better than in the Grand Prix and did a clean test. That’s what we needed to do to set the stage for my teammates and we did it, so I’m really happy with him. I laughed a little at the end of my test because I said thank you [to Rosevelt] for doing this for me because it got hot in the ring and I just had to give him a lot of credit. He tried really hard. Bless him.”

Second up for the U.S. was Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) and Diane Perry’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Dublet. The pair produced a fluid test in the Grand Prix Special with especially beautiful passage work. Unfortunately, the pair had a mistake from the passage into the extended trot, but quickly regrouped and completed with a respectable 73.235% in their first Olympic Games.

“It wasn’t our best, but you know I have to give it to Dublet as he’s really trying to stay with me,” said Perry-Glass. “We have a couple kinks to work out, but it’s our first year and we moved up very fast, so I have to give him credit on that for staying patient and really trusting me in the ring. My plan was just to give him a good experience and also I was thinking about the team. I really wanted to do this for the team, but sometimes it’s just not your day.”

Reflecting on the Bronze medal win, Peters said, “First of all, a big thank you to Robert Dover [U.S. Dressage Chef d’Equipe], who was also on the team in 2004 [the last time the U.S. Dressage Team won a Team Olympic medal]. Today we knew it had to be above 75 percent and all four riders and horses are capable of delivering 76-77 percent, so we knew we had a chance, but when it actually happened it was amazing! If you wanted to see a 52-year-old guy acting like a 10-year-old boy, you should’ve seen me in the stands when Laura was coming down centerline – I was crying my eyes out and it was just one of those absolutely amazing experiences. There’s a lot of people who are certainly a big part of this medal.”

The top 18 competitors from the Grand Prix Special will now go on to compete in the Individual final, the Grand Prix Freestyle, on Monday. Only three athletes from each nation are eligible compete in the Freestyle, which ultimately decides the Olympic Champion. Graves, Peters, and Brock all qualified.

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

US Dressage Team Moves Up Leaderboard after Second Day of Grand Prix Competition

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The second day of dressage competition at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games had sunshine beaming down on the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center as the remaining 30 athlete-and-horse combinations took to the main arena to perform the Grand Prix test, the first of two tests in team competition. The U.S. team, which held fourth place after the first day of competition on Wednesday, has moved into third in the team standings on an average of 76.971% after anchor riders Steffen Peters and Laura Graves performed excellent tests aboard their experienced mounts. Of the 11 nations competing in the team competition, Germany is in the lead on an average of 81.295%, while Great Britain is in second on 79.252% going into Friday’s final phase of the team competition, the Grand Prix Special.

Peters (San Diego, Calif.) made his fourth Olympic Games appearance aboard Legolas 92, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Four Winds Farm. The pair competed during the first half of the competition Thursday morning and performed a spectacular Grand Prix test, earning high marks from the seven-judge jury for their piaffe-passage tours, achieving a well-deserved score of 77.614%. This strong showing put them into sixth place individually going into Friday’s Grand Prix Special.

“Legolas delivered everything that I dreamed of,” said a delighted and emotional Peters. “I’m just so excited that he did one of the best tests of his life – probably one of the best tests of my life – and it’s always been my dream to deliver for my team! It’s the Olympic Games and we are 90% about the Team medal and the other 10% – or maybe even less – about the Individual medal. It’s been a difficult road with him – sometimes I don’t know exactly which horse is going into the show arena, but he did not change one single bit from the warm-up arena to the show arena today, and there was not one single point that we gave away.

“Legolas’s half-passes in the trot felt amazing and the trot extensions got better, which has always been a weak point,” remarked Peters on his favorite parts of their test. “His piaffe-passage were very high today; I was able to keep the 15 steps of piaffe in place. This was the test that I dreamed of for my team. It was just one of those awesome days!”

Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Laura Graves and Verdades (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, impressed in their Olympic debut, performing an outstanding test to become the highest-placed U.S. rider with a score of 78.071%, good for fifth place individually. The pair’s fluid and powerful test earned a plethora of 8s throughout the performance, as well as several 9s for her right half-pass, left canter pirouette, and passage down the last centerline.

“My horse was really super!” said a delighted Graves. “I’m very happy with the feeling he gave me today and the way the training is reflecting in the arena.”

In regards to her favorite parts of her test, Graves remarked, “I’m really happy with the pirouettes and the passage-piaffe, which is a talent for this horse, but not so much in the arena when he’s not sure where to be with his big legs. I feel that’s really improved in the last two months.”

U.S. teammates Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) aboard Dublet and Allison Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Rosevelt put in impressive performances Wednesday, which put the U.S. into fourth place overnight. After Thursday’s competition Perry-Glass holds 17th place individually with her score of 75.229%, while Brock is in 25th place with 72.686%.

“I can’t say enough good things about our team,” said Graves. “The word team has a lot of different meanings, and for us as equestrians, I think the Olympics is very special, as we have a large team of people including our trainers, friends, family, as well as each other, and I couldn’t ask to be here with a better group of people. Here we also get to be Team USA, which is also really special, and it’s definitely a memory that we’ll all have for a lifetime.”

“It’s going to be a tight, tight horse race, so to speak,” commented Peters about the team standings. “Tomorrow is another day, but today I just couldn’t be happier. There’s so much comradery on our team. We’ve been training together for three months, and every day we all watch each other. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6:30 in the morning, every single team member is there, and it’s the same here in Rio. Every day we come to the barn and there is a big group hug. I’m just so honored to be with these talented girls as part of the team.”

The dressage team competition continues Friday with the Grand Prix Special. The top six teams from the Grand Prix will move forward to the Grand Prix Special, after which each team’s top three scores from both tests are added together to decide the Team medals. The top 18 competitors from the Grand Prix Special will go on to compete in the Individual final, the Grand Prix Freestyle, on Monday, August 15. Only three athletes from each nation are eligible compete in the Freestyle, which will ultimately decide the Olympic Champion.

NBCOlympics.com Morning Live Stream
NBCOlympics.com Afternoon Live Stream

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

US Dressage Team Prepared for Competition at Rio Olympic Games

Kasey Perry-Glass and Dublet (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Dressage competition at the Rio Olympic Games got underway at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center Monday with the horse inspection. A total of 59 athlete-and-horse combinations representing 18 countries are set to compete in Wednesday’s Grand Prix, the first test in team competition. The U.S. has drawn eighth in the order of 11 teams and will be represented by Allison Brock, Laura Graves, Kasey Perry-Glass, and Steffen Peters. The U.S. team is led by U.S. Dressage Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, a six-time Olympian and winner of four Team Bronze medals.

“I have been thrilled with all of the riders,” said Dover. “Individually, Allison Brock and Rosevelt have been ramping up day-by-day to show more and more brilliance. Kasey Perry-Glass has been thrilling to watch and truly, for a young person at her first Olympic Games, the learning curve, even here during the last week, has been awesome to watch. Verdades [ridden by Laura Graves], has scope beyond scope and Laura is paying the greatest attention to the minutia, the details that tend to set apart the very, very best from everybody else with nice horses. And then of course Steffen Peters, here at his fourth Olympic Games with Legolas, has actually found new strengths, new scope, and abilities and so I’m just very, very hopeful and really proud to be a part of their team.”

U.S. team will compete in the following order.

Day one, Wednesday, August 10: Leading the way for the U.S. will be Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.), a first-time Olympian, who will ride Claudine and Fritz Kundrun’s Rosevelt, a 2002 Hanoverian stallion. This longtime partnership has been developing at the Grand Prix level over the past three years with consistent successes in the U.S. and Europe. This spring at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, the pair capped off the season by winning the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special in the CDI3* presented by Stillpoint Farm.

Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.), a first-time Olympian, will be next in the order with Diane Perry’s Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding. Following a solid career at the Small Tour level, the pair moved up to the Grand Prix this winter and has had remarkable success in just a few short months. The pair placed in the top three in all of its 2016 CDI outings during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, including as members of the Gold medal-winning The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at CDIO3* Wellington presented by Stillpoint Farm, where they also won Individual Silver. This summer in Europe, Perry-Glass and Dublet won the Grand Prix at CDIO5* Compiègne as part of the Gold-medal winning The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team.

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Day two, Thursday, August 11: First in the ring for the U.S. on day two of the Grand Prix will be Peters (San Diego, Calif.), a four-time Olympic veteran with a Team Bronze medal (1996). He will ride Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92, a 2002 Westphalian gelding. Last summer, Peters and Legolas 92 represented the U.S. at the Pan American Games, winning Team and Individual Gold medals. This winter, the pair won in all of its West Coast CDI outings. Competing in Europe this summer, the pair won the Grand Prix at CDI4* Roosendaal.

Anchoring the U.S. team will be first-time Olympian, Graves (Geneva, Fla.), riding her own Verdades, a 2002 KWPN gelding. 2015 was an immensely successful year for the pair as it finished fourth in its first Reem Acra FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final appearance, earned Team Gold and Individual Silver medals at the Pan American Games, and was crowned The Dutta Corp./USEF Dressage Grand Prix National Champions. Competing at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival earlier this year, the duo won both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the CDI5* presented by Diamante Farms, the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle at the CDI4* presented by Havensafe Farm, and were members of the Gold medal-winning The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at the CDIO3* Wellington presented by Stillpoint Farm, where they also won Individual Gold. This summer, the pair was a part of the Gold-medal winning The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team at CDIO5* Compiègne, and the Silver-medal winning U.S. team at CDIO5* Rotterdam where they also topped the Grand Prix Special.

The first test in team competition, the Grand Prix, runs August 10-11. The second and final test of team competition, the Grand Prix Special, will follow on August 12. Dressage competition concludes on August 15, with the Grand Prix Freestyle.

Keep up-to-date on equestrian competition at the Rio Olympic Games on the USEFNetwork.com. Coverage includes links to live streams and TV coverage, athlete bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and more.

Classic Communications/USEF Communications Department

USEF Names US Olympic Dressage Team for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Clockwise from top left: Laura Graves, Steffen Peters, Allison Brock, and Kasey Perry-Glass.

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has named four athlete-and-horse combinations to the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team and one traveling reserve athlete-and-horse combination for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. One direct reserve horse has also been named. A direct reserve horse would be an automatic replacement should the original horse on which the athlete was named need to be substituted. Dressage competition at the Olympic Games will take place August 8-15, 2016 at the Deodoro Olympic Equestrian Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations will compose the Team (in alphabetical order):

Allison Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Claudine and Fritz Kundrun’s Rosevelt, a 2002 Hanoverian stallion

Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, a 2002 KWPN gelding

Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) with Diane Perry’s Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding

Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.) with Four Winds Farm’s Legolas 92, a 2002 Westphalian gelding

Direct Reserve
Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde, a 2007 Rheinlander mare

The following combination has been named as the traveling reserve:

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) with Patricia Stempel’s Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding

Further information regarding the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team selection process can be found on USEF.org. All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

From the USEF Communications Department