Tag Archives: Laura Graves

Graves and Matute Jr. Lead Individual Standings at Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3*

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Lars Petersen and Svalegards De Luxe Claim FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1*

Wellington, FL – March 30, 2016 – The Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3* began today at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), showcasing the FEI Prix St. Georges CDIO 3* and FEI Grand Prix CDIO 3* in the Van Kampen Covered Arena at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

Juan Matute Jr. (ESP) and Dhannie Ymas move into the next phase of competition leading the Small Tour division, while Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades earned big marks from the judges to secure the top place moving towards the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3*. Team competition at AGDF concludes with the FEI Intermediaire I and FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3*, while individual awards will be recognized on Friday, April 1, following the final “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by Stillpoint Farm, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Teams competing in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup include the United States, Canada, Spain, Denmark, Costa Rica, and Australia.

Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet finished the FEI Grand Prix CDIO 3* in second place with a 73.000%, while Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady captured third place with a 72.240%. For computing team scores, the Large Tour combinations are given an extra 1.5 point bonus.

Graves and Verdades received a season high 76.860% and with the added 1.5 point bonus in Large Tour CDIO competition, sit on a 78.360% moving into the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* class. Graves is looking forward to the Special as she will expect another strong performance from Verdades.

“The last time that the show was forced inside, we had one of our lowest scores. Coming back in, especially in a team situation when everyone is counting on you as the anchor, I kept hoping that what happened last time wasn’t a normal thing and an anomaly,” said Graves. “We really wanted to conquer that today, and we did. He was just great. He gave me that same feeling that we had in the indoor before, but I was just able to ride it better this time.”

“I thought the zig-zag was great. The canter tour and the pirouettes felt super nice as well,” she continued. “We had an unusual mistake in the walk for us, but it was totally my fault. Now when things are perfect, I start to test and see how honest he is. It was a mistake; he was a little bit too sensitive for that.”

Graves quickly commented on the importance of riding in Nations’ Cup competition, especially when representing that United States in team competition is not something one can easily take for granted. With a few small steps of jigging in the walk tour, Graves felt that she and “Diddy” left a few costly marks on the table.

“The mistake today in the walk was disappointing for me because you know you’re riding for a team. If it was just for me, I probably would have laughed it off more, but he was so good everywhere else. It just proved that we need to study there more,” explained Graves. “It an unusual thing because the walk is so delicate in the show arena, and it’s always so expensive. You don’t want to have to train it in there, but it’s really the only place you can.”

Watch Laura Graves and Verdades in the FEI Grand Prix CDIO 3* here!

“It’s a real honor to compete on a team and it’s different because no matter what, you have to show up for everybody else. As much as we can sometimes want to be down on ourselves or pick on our flaws, having a team around you makes you have to stick together and stay positive,” continued Graves, who is representing Team USA for the second consecutive year in Wellington, FL.

“You have to be there for one another. It’s amazing. This Team USA we have right now goes far beyond the Nations’ Cup team that we have here. There’s all of these American riders who show up and we watch each other ride and watch each other school. It’s nice having that camaraderie before we have to take it into a little bit bigger pond.”

Juan Matute Jr. and Dhannie Ymas impressed in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDIO 3* class with a score of 71.868%. The class was also held in Van Kampen Covered Arena due to inclement weather. Raul Corchuelo (COL) and Beckham earned second place with a 69.395%, while Katharina Stumpf (AUT) and For My Love stand in third place with 67.500%.

Matute Jr. has campaigned Dhannie Ymas through the circuit this season, recording top results aboard the 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Don Crusador x Welina) in their first season contesting the upper levels.

“I’m feeling very happy and proud. We made some mistakes that we need to improve before tomorrow’s test, but overall I think I had a great feeling in the test,” explained Matute Jr. describing his test. “Dhannie felt comfortable, but he doesn’t really like the covered arena as much as outside. It’s interesting how some horses perform better in different atmospheres, but overall I was really happy.

“With this test over the season I tried to get more towards the softer aids and the lightness in the contact, just making everything a bit easier. We’re riding horses and (try to) make everything as simple as possible and look easy. Little by little I think we’ve improved that this season,” he smiled

The pair had a slight moment of miscommunication in their first pirouette, but Matute Jr. continued on through the test with poise and accuracy, leading to their impressive score of 71.868%.

“We had a big mistake in the first pirouette. He can do them perfectly, but we just had a bit of a miscommunication,” explained Matute. “He’s a young horse, just nine years old, and it’s fine. We’ve been doing Young Riders for most of the season, and I think we’ve progressed a lot.”

In his third Nation’s Cup appearance for Team Spain at AGDF, Matute has solidified himself as an incredibly talented and motivated phenom of the sport, as the international experience he continues to gain only benefits his riding and training. In 2014, Matute earned the individual silver medal in Nations’ Cup competition aboard his Don Diego Ymas, which he still considers one of the greatest highlights of his young but budding career.

“In 2013, the team was made up of me, my sister, and my father, and my mother was the chef d’equipe, so it was pretty neat that it was our whole family. We came in fifth that year, and 2014 was a huge highlight for us because I placed second individually on Don Diego [Ymas] who is now my Grand Prix horse,” he noted.

The Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations’ Cup CDIO 3* team competition concludes Thursday featuring the FEI Intermediaire I CDIO 3* and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* at AGDF. Individual competition will conclude on Friday, April 1, with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDIO 3* and the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO 3*, each presented by Stillpoint Farm.

Lars Petersen and Svalegards De Luxe Claim FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1* presented by YellowBird Farm

Lars Petersen (DEN) and Svalegards De Luxe performed impressively in their first FEI CDI competition together this season, earning the win in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1* presented by YellowBird Farm at AGDF with a 71.763%. Jane Cleveland (USA) and Monique finished in second with a 68.868%, while Jennifer Baumert (USA) and Ramiro finished in third place, just behind Cleveland with a 68.816%.

Lars Petersen and Svalegards De Luxe
Lars Petersen and Svalegards De Luxe

Petersen is very familiar with Svalegards De Luxe, a 2008 Danish Warmblood gelding (De Noir x Stjerne Askelund), since owner Jane Wareham purchased him as a six-year-old to bring up the levels under Petersen’s guidance.

“The horse is turning nine this year, and I got him for Jane as her horse. I’ve been riding him with her since she bought him. She’s going away for her job, and asked if I would show him for her a little bit so that’s what we’re doing,” said Petersen.

“He has good gaits, and he’s a good temperament. That was really was important for us but also nice to look at when we went to try him. Those were some of the reasons, but he was just turning six when she bought him so he was pretty young,” he explained. “He’s very talented, and I’m excited to have the ride on him for myself for a little bit.”

It was the first international competition for the pair and also Svalegards De Luxe’s first appearance back at AGDF in a substantial period of time, as he has mostly been in training with Petersen and Wareham. With correct gaits and a tremendous presence, Petersen is looking forward to watching the gelding progress through the levels over the course of the season.

“We’ll see how far he can go, but he definitely has the potential for Large Tour, for sure. I was mostly impressed that he went around,” laughed Petersen. “He hasn’t been off the grounds for nearly two years other than a national show I did with him, but that’s different.

“He was a little bit tense here and there, but that was expected and I think he handled it great. He tried very hard and I think we had some dumb little mistakes, but all of the difficult stuff he did really well,” explained Petersen, who was thoroughly impressed with his new mounts acclimation to an intense competition atmosphere. “We will start to work on the piaffe and passage a bit more and getting his topline stronger over the next few weeks and stuff like that. I really think that is the most important.”

Competition at AGDF continues Thursday with the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3* presented by Harmony Sporthorses, along with the FEI Intermediaire I CDIO 3* and FEI Grand Prix Special CDIO 3* presented by Stillpoint Farm. For more information and to see a full weekly schedule, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $700,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Verdades Hit Season High Mark in AGDF 10 FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar Take Top Honors in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*

Wellington, FL – March 18, 2016 – Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades performed one of their best FEI Grand Prix Freestyle tests so far this season at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), earning a 79.475% to take a commanding win in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm. Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm.

Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet followed Graves to the winner’s circle, finishing in second place in their first FEI Grand Prix Freestyle test together with a score of 75.750%. Juan Matute, Jr. (ESP) and Don Diego Ymas captured a well-deserved third place finish, receiving a 73.225%.

Graves and Verdades entered the Global International Arena at The Stadium with new freestyle choreography and music, but the same consistency and fluidity for which they’re now known. Graves has worked hard to find the right gear for “Diddy” this season, and it seems the pair is right on the mark moving into an important part of this year’s season.

“You know, with as much experience as this horse has now globally, he’s recently become very sensitive to the atmosphere. We do for him what we can in relaxation, but like I was saying after the Grand Prix on Wednesday, his confidence has to come from me,” explained Graves. “I have to give him the cues, and he needs to be certain of what I’m asking him. For tonight, I thought it was a big accomplishment personally, riding through that tension and having him step up to the plate.”

Watch Laura Graves and Verdades win the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle here!

The pair now has a mutual understanding of what the expectations are in the ring, and their partnership has continued to flourish. Graves and her own 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda) have become one of the most consistent Grand Prix pairs for Team USA over the past two years since their debut at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Caen, France, in 2014.

Both Graves and Perry-Glass have been in consistent training with U.S. dressage legend Debbie McDonald, with both riders referencing their strong relationship with her as a major factor in their performances so far this season.

“Debbie’s gift is that as a trainer, she can feel what you’re feeling as a rider. It takes a weight off of you that you don’t realize exists. She just gives you that feeling that you’re never alone and what you’re feeling is normal. You’re going to train through it and you’re going to, like she said to me tonight, come out on the other side. She just gives you this confidence to ride well,” explained Graves, regarding her time with McDonald.

Perry-Glass exited the ring in tears after completing her first FEI Grand Prix Freestyle aboard Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x La Costa), that she has campaigned to the top of the Large Tour leaderboards all season long.

“I came out crying,” she acknowledged. “He’s just so awesome, and I’m so lucky to have him. We’re growing up together and respecting each other more and more. We’re learning from each other, and I couldn’t ask for any more.”

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect with him. Last year in the Intermediaire I Freestyle, he would get really hot and I pretty much had no control. I knew that once the music started, that was the horse I was going to have,” she said. “The consistent training with Debbie [McDonald] and the support from her has really helped his confidence and my confidence. He stayed with me the whole time and there are small places that we can clean up, but this is our first time out there and I’m so proud of him.”

As for their first freestyle beneath the lights, Perry-Glass felt their ride went just as planned and she’s motivated to continue their progress.

“Adrienne Lyle did the choreography. She’s been such a great friend and a great supporter of us. I worked with Tom Hunt, who does Charlotte Dujardin’s music. I’ve been working with him for a while, and we have a good relationship. I wasn’t sure what type of music I wanted for Dublet and I was like ‘Yes, this works!’ There are obviously some things that we will have to tweak and enhance, but I’ll start with a 75%,” she laughed.

The young Juan Matute, Jr. performed a brilliant and nearly mistake-free test about Don Diego Ymas, a 2003 Hanoverian gelding owned by Matute’s father, Juan Matute. In their best freestyle test to date this season, Matute was very pleased with their ride and felt the progress they have made this season has been defining in their career together.

“Little by little we’ve been building the confidence in the Grand Prix together and this is our second season at this level. It was a very exciting start to the season, but I think tonight is really the highlight so far,” commented Matute. “I’m very happy, and I’m very excited.”

“I enjoyed the test a lot. It was pretty much mistake-free, which is a big deal for us right now in our second year at Grand Prix,” continued Matute. “Being dynamic and being able to adapt to every situation is very important. What can I say, I’m sitting here next to these two beautiful riders, and it was just a great night.”

Betsy Juliano of Havensafe Farm, title sponsor for AGDF 10, is a successful businesswoman and horse enthusiast and has played an integral role in the growth of AGDF through the years. Drawing a strong parallel between the expansion of AGDF and the affirmation of a successful business, Juliano spoke to the successes the competition has seen this season and the promising future for the sport.

“I think that growing a business is really about evolution and that is what I see here at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, but also very importantly with all three riders here. I’ve had the privilege of watching them evolve and get better each year,” said Juliano. “That, to me, is my favorite part of being here in the winters, and I think that what Mark Bellissimo and his team have done to provide this opportunity for the riders and people like me to participate has been fantastic, and we appreciate it.”

Judge at C, Hans-Christian Matthiesen (DEN), was impressed with the top three rides and spoke candidly about the importance of AGDF to the global scale of dressage and its success in reaching young riders around the world.

“What we see tonight sitting at the press conference with these three very good young riders – this is what it is all about. This is dressage when it is at its best, in a super atmosphere that you’ve managed to create here at the Global show grounds. It’s so important to the sport,” he explained. “We can’t have enough of that. I’m so proud of you (three riders). You all did so well and have super nice horses. It’s good for the future of the sport when you have young ones coming up and just great combinations. It’s great fun and just a privilege to be here and judge.”

Adequan®, title sponsor of the entire circuit at AGDF, has maintained its position as a crucial partner and supporter of the venue since its inception. Allyn Mann of Adequan® senses a remarkable change in the sport and hopes new owners and riders will be motivated by the incredible performances seen so far this season at AGDF.

Keeping with tradition this season, Adequan® sponsored several owner awards during the evening, recognizing and appreciating the individuals who continue to help grow the sport through their support. Makenzie Rath, owner of Sholitaire ridden by Melissa Fladland, was presented with the AGDF 8 National Show High Score Award, for Sholitaire and Fladland’s score of 79.773%. Kylee Laurie was awarded with the AGDF 9 National High Score Award, for the performance of Harmony’s Duvall and Adrienne Lyle, who scored a 82.500%. Michael Collins, owner of Don Tignanello, ridden by Leida Collins-Strijk, was presented with the Prix St. Georges Owner Award for Collins-Strijk’s score of 72.289%. Laura Graves earned the Owner Award for the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, recognizing her performance aboard Verdades. Graves, who also serves as her own groom, was presented with the Groom’s Initiative Award on behalf of Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC.

“The owners are the foundation of the sport, and we honor them for everything that they do. The investments they make, the patience and love they have, so that three beautiful riders and horses like the ones we have here tonight can show up and do some amazing things,” said Mann. “We’re so blessed to be a part of this whole environment and to see how this how festival has evolved.”

“On a night like tonight where Laura, Kasey, and Juan get to be on the podium, this is the future. But without the owners, none of this can happen. Let us not forget that they are the backbone of everything that happens here and when I think of our business, they’re the ones that keep us funded so that we can do what we do. Again, thank you to Betsy, and all of the owners, for everything you do,” he continued.

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar Take Top Honors in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3* presented by The Dutta Corporation

Katherine Bateson-Chandler (USA) and Alcazar, a 2005 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jane Forbes Clark, found themselves atop the leaderboard in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, with a score of 72.425%. Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar have been hard at work this season, also training with Debbie McDonald, to improve their presence in the arena before heading back to England to compete in Europe this summer.

P. J. Rizvi (USA) and Breaking Dawn followed in second place with a 70.600%, while Anna Marek (USA) and Unico G collected third place honors with a 67.275%.

Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar
Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar

“In my last couple of freestyles I’ve had mistakes in my flying changes. I was bound and determined today, even if I had to turn myself inside out, to not have mistakes in my changes, which I managed to pull off,” laughed Bateson-Chandler. “I was really happy with that.”

“He’s going to have a couple of nice easy days before the next CDI. To be honest, when I’m not here at the show I don’t really ride him in the ring that much. I’m lucky to have a farm with a big track and a grand prix field,” explained Bateson-Chandler, on how she keeps Alcazar fresh and ready to compete. “We’ll have a little break after the next show here and then we’ll head back to England.”

P. J. Rizvi and Breaking Dawn earned their highest FEI CDI score this afternoon with their 70.600%, which Rizvi noted is a huge accomplishment for the pair, as this is their first competitive CDI season together.

“This is so far our biggest accomplishment together. For me, the heat is brutal, but for Edward, my horse, it’s the most amazing thing because my usual struggle with him is that he’s extremely forward and we have mistakes in the changes because he gets a little bit ahead of me,” she said. “Today I felt like he was a bit more backed off, and he was really attentive to me. I was super thrilled today.”

Rizvi rides to the same music that her trainer, Ashley Holzer, used with Breaking Dawn at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. It is very sentimental for Rizvi. She said, “What we did, because Edward had a long rest period after the Olympics, is we changed the choreography to be more difficult, but used the same music. I love really funky music, but I tend to dance too much during the test, so I need very stable music. I think it suits him, and the bagpipes really accent his piaffe and passage.”

Traveling down from Ocala, FL to compete at AGDF, Marek and Unico G are finding a rhythm, which has left Marek feeling very positive about their progress and direction for the rest of the season.

“We come down about four hours to show here for the weekend and then go home. We definitely struggled with the heat a bit this week, but today I was really proud of him because I felt like I had more horse than yesterday,” she commented. “I swear though, the music always pumps him up and he’s ready to go. We had fun riding today’s freestyle, and we just made it a little bit more difficult so there were a few little bobbles.”

“I rode my first freestyle on Unico. Over the last year, we got comfortable with that choreography while I learned to ride the freestyle. We just started to change it a bit more difficult. I wanted something a bit dramatic for him. We’ve had a long road and to me it tells a great story,” she continued.

Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation, and the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 4*, presented by Havensafe Farm. For more information on AGDF, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Verdades Rise to Top AGDF 10 FEI Grand Prix CDI 4*

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – March 16, 2016 – Victory in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 4* presented by Havensafe Farm at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) went to Laura Graves (USA) and her own Verdades with a score of 76.28%, adding another excellent performance to their growing collection of top finishes so far this season. In a top three sweep for riders representing the United States, Allison Brock (USA) and her longtime partner Rosevelt earned second place with a 74.080%, while Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet finished in third place receiving a 72.660%. Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Mike and Roz Collins, as well as the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation.

Temperatures today in South Florida worked their way well past the 80-degree mark, but Graves and Verdades performed a smooth and relaxed test, which Graves was pleased with, noting, “He is not known to be a hot weather horse. He is such a big guy, but he really carried me through. We had a couple of mistakes in our changes, which is not typical for us, but I’m not really concerned. I was most excited with the fact that we’ve been training very regularly.”

“Every time we ride, we have eyes on us thanks to the Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize Grant that I was able to receive this year. I’m now feeling that more often than not, I’m riding my new training, not my old training. Feeling that in the ring and having the reflection in the test mirror your warm-up, or at least starting to, is really exciting for us,” she continued.

Allison Brock and “Rosie” also had a terrific day back in the CDI arena after taking a short training-focused hiatus from competition. Brock discussed her decision to take some time away from competition arena with the 2002 Hanoverian stallion (Rotspon x Lore) owned by Fritz and Claudine Kundrun. The pair focused on their communication together in hopes of bringing their performances to the next level, producing accurate and powerful tests.

Allison Brock and Rosevelt
Allison Brock and Rosevelt

“He was really good and I was a bit worried about the heat today, as I’m sure everyone was. I have not been out in about a month, and I really felt like after the last show, I thought he went better than ever, but I was taking a lot more risks which were turning into mistakes,” explained Brock. “I really decided to stay home and work on our communication and firm that up. A little bit, I’ve been in the same situation as Laura, in that we’re riding constantly with eyes on the ground and tightening things up. It’s hard to not be in the ring and then just come out, but I really felt like in this case, with this particular horse, it was in his best interest to do it like this.

“I took the risk of holding out, and it clearly paid off today. He was happy to go, he was happy to be here, and it was the first time that my warm-up carried through to my test. I’m really proud of him,” she noted.

Riding first down the centerline in today’s FEI Grand Prix CDI 4*, Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet set the tone for the large class, which had 18 entries, and led for majority of the afternoon with their score of 72.660%. While riding a bit more conservative today, Perry explained that the consistency she continues to see from “Dublet” is incredibly motivating for her, as the two are contesting only their fourth Large Tour CDI competition together.

“It feels good because I know that I can eventually push for more. This is only his fourth CDI at this level, and it’s about keeping his mind happy and healthy. I think once I feel like the right time to push for more, I can,” she said. “Today, I think our test was really consistent and very clean, but it was a bit more on the conservative side. I think that, personally, it had to do a bit with the heat and a little bit too long of a warm-up, but he felt great. I had rideability today, which is what I really strive for with him because he can be a bit looky and tense. He was with me and happy, and I just feel so honored to be sitting up here with these two.”

The camaraderie and positivity streaming through Team USA this season at AGDF has been evident and in testament to the confidence the riders have been giving each other throughout the season. Brock spoke to the stabling arrangements for this week’s competition, in which Graves, Perry-Glass, and Brock are all stabled in adjacent stalls in the same FEI barn, as a symbol of support and motivation for one another.

“It started with Lisa Wilcox, who we all love. She’s just the best person you can ever be in a barn aisle with. She’s so inspiring and has done everything, just gives a really positive energy. We all decided that after the 5* here, we needed to have a barn name to put on the entry forms. We couldn’t come up with one and Lisa said, ‘All for one and one for all,'” explained Brock. “We’re all barn mates under that name and I think that shows how we all feel about each other and what it means for us to be competing together. I think it’s an incredible atmosphere, and it’s pretty cool because it isn’t always that way. We are all about supporting each other.”

Leida Collins-Strijk (NED) and her own Don Tignanello, a 2005 Hanoverian gelding (Don Vino x Atlantica), have been nearly unbeatable in Small Tour classes this season at AGDF and capped today with another victory in the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1*, presented by Mike & Roz Collins, receiving a 72.982%. Collins-Strijk piloted her second mount, Zantros, to second place with a score of 71.623%. Kevin Kohmann (GER) and Fritz San Tino, owned by Melanie Pai, earned their first top three finish in CDI competition this season with a 70.833%.

Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Mike & Roz Collins, along with the FEI Grand Prix CDI 3*, presented by The Dutta Corporation. For more information on AGDF and to see a full list of results, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Allison Kavey and Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

USEF Names Combinations for Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup CDIO3*

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the athlete-and-horse combinations who will represent the U.S. at the Stillpoint Farm Nations Cup CDIO3*, which runs in conjunction with the Adequan Global Dressage Festival, March 29 – April 2, 2016, in Wellington, Fla. The U.S. team consists of four Big Tour combinations and Robert Dover will serve as the Chef d’Equipe.

The following combinations will make up the U.S. team (in alphabetical order):

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

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

Arlene “Tuny” Page (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Woodstock, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding

Kasey Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding

From the USEF Communications Department

Graves and Verdades Go Two for Two in CDI 5* Competition at AGDF 5

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde Top FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*

Wellington, FL – February 13, 2016 – The FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, concluded FEI CDI 5* competition today at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades added another win to their week, as the duo scored a 74.667% to best the class. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Benetton Dream finished in second with a 72.412%, while Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Anton captured third place receiving a 71.431%. In the FEI Grand Prix Special 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde took home the victory. Competition for AGDF 5 concludes tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians.

Graves and Verdades topped the FEI Grand Prix CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, on Thursday and chose to compete in today’s FEI Grand Prix Special class. While their test was not as exact or powerful as may be typically expected from the duo, it was an example of an established partnership that is continuing to grow with time. The judges recognized the maturity of their effort, awarding it a 74.667% for the win. Graves reflected on the experience of coming back to the ring after their last difficult competition.

“Today I really wanted to ride him down and let him have another good experience. Tonight I felt like it was far from being our highest score, the most precise, and certainly not our most powerful, but he was 100% himself tonight and that was a really good feeling,” she explained. “What we did in the Grand Prix on Thursday really paid off and it’s good to feel like I have him back knowing that I could have ridden better.”

The pair seemed back to their usual selves during the Special, which Graves has noted is a strong test for Verdades. The pair, instead of focusing on accuracy and precision, decided to reach towards a more relaxed and harmonious test to continue boosting their confidence in the ring.

WATCH Laura Graves and Verdades win FEI CDI 5* GP Special here!

“This was a big confidence builder for me as a rider and a trainer, having (had a) first kind of low point since we’ve been successful. It’s always hard and it makes you question things, like what do we do and how do we move on. But it’s really true – if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger and you learn,” she explained. “Now, I know this will happen again. It’s not the first time, and it’s not the last. This is life and this is the chance you take when you go into the arena with another living being. That’s the sport.”

Graves now plans to give Verdades some down time while she discusses his competition schedule with her team. He will enjoy a lighter work schedule for a few weeks, do some work in the fields, and continue his favorite part of their training regimen – a once a week bareback hack.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Benetton Dream, owned by Lövsta Stuteri, represented Sweden with excellent style, earning a 72.412% for a solid test that featured sweeping half-passes and a strong piaffe-passage tour. Vilhelmson-Silfven noted that this is only the second time that the 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion has done the Special and was pleased with his performance.

“I’ve very, very pleased with my horse tonight. I’ve never had such a good feeling in the ring on him actually as we did today. He got really on when [the crowd] applauded Laura coming around the arena. He had much more power than [we] had before and it was a nice feeling. It was a nice feeling and he was going together with me in a nice way. Just a great feeling,” she said. “It was the second time that we’ve done the Special and it was the highest score that we’ve gotten so I’m happy. He got a little bit difficult when we did the trot extensions, especially when he’s that hot. He stumbled a bit because he went for too much, but other than that it was a good feeling.”

She reflected on the time it has taken to establish a partnership with her stallion that came from an active breeding career in Germany and maintains a full studbook at Lövsta Stuteri in Sweden. She explained, “I had him here two years ago. He came from Germany and was a breeding stallion so he may seem a little bit further behind in his training for his age. He’s been breeding a lot in Sweden too, so he’s had double work. This year we’re going to decrease the breeding so that I can focus on showing him a little bit more.”

“He has a great feeling, but he’s a big horse and a stallion, so for sure he gets a little bit nervous and that can show in many ways, but that’s why I was happy with today because he wanted to go on my aids,” she commented. “We’ve been working with a lot of different things, but really most to get him stronger so that he can perform the movements but also getting him to want to work with me, not to have to put pressure on him to do it by himself. He’s really getting together with me and that’s the great feeling with him. That takes time and that’s what it takes to build confidence and get to know them.”

Belinda Trussell rode Anton, owned by Robyn Eames and Marc Trussell, to third place after an already successful campaign at AGDF so far this season. Trussell noted that Anton’s natural capacity for piaffe makes the Grand Prix Special a great test for him.

“Anton, his gift is his piaffe and it’s just a dream to ride it actually. I sit there and cluck and he piaffes. That’s his highlight, and he’s just so consistent. He loves to do it, so that is really nice and in the Special, going from walk to piaffe is not difficult for him. It’s a nice feeling. I feel confident with this test and I like it because it is so forward moving. It’s nice to ride.”

She was pleased that Anton settled down a bit from his anxiety during the Grand Prix. Unlike Vilhelmsom-Silfven’s mount Benetton Dream, who gains energy and enthusiasm from applause, Anton can become tense, which can negatively impact his performance.

“He was difficult this week and was pretty nervous from the Grand Prix. I really am happy that he went in there and was more relaxed tonight than he was earlier in the week,” she continued.

Judge at C, Lilo Fore (USA), recognized the exceptional quality and training represented by the athletes she saw this week, ranging in nationality and international competition experience.

“The horse quality we have nowadays is just amazing and it’s exciting of course. But I think what I like very much in the whole week really, and especially with the top riders, is that everything is so much more harmonious. It’s wonderful to see how the riders and horses work with each other. The suppleness is getting better and better,” elaborated Fore. “I think the confidence of the horses and their riders is very obvious. You’re going to see a mistake here and there, but none of those mistakes were from incorrect training or a lack of understanding of the basics because you can see all of the top riders we have here have amazingly good basics and solid training under their belts. It’s very obvious and it shows itself in the test and in the confidence of the combinations. It’s fun to watch.”

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde Top FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty

Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde continued their dominance in Large Tour competition at AGDF, earning top scores in the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, to take the class with a 73.333%. Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet earned another top finish, adding a second place collection for the week, while young talent Juan Matute, Jr. (ESP) and Quantico Ymas earned third place with a 69.059%.

Steffen Peters and Rosamunde
Steffen Peters and Rosamunde

Peters and Rosamunde have taken the dressage world by storm as he and the stunning 2007 Rhinelander mare, owned by Four Winds Farm, continue to make a strong statement with their efficiency in the ring.

“She’s clearly improving and the one-tempis were already straighter. The weak parts were better today and we just had silly little things. She anticipated the two-tempis a bit and then at the end, the final halt, she stepped a little bit back. Silly little things, but expensive things,” noted Peters. “The collected wasn’t quite as relaxed, but things that were very difficult for her are better. Those are minor little things and are easier to polish.”

Rosamunde has progressed quickly through the beginning of her young career and Peters plans to keep her feeling comfortable, but confident, through their training at home.

“The good thing with Rosie is that I don’t have to push her. She wants to go. There are so many situations, especially in the first few extended trots, where I’m holding her back a little bit. At home, it is just very comfortable and not stressful so she just offers so much,” he explained. “I don’t think it’s really about what you’re doing in the show arena, it’s more of what you’re doing in the warm-up and how much work you have to do at home. That’s the main thing. I always believe in keeping them mentally just as healthy as they are physically healthy.”

WATCH Steffen Peters and Rosamunde’s FEI CDI 3* GP Special ride here!

As the combination heads back to California to test the rest of the season before the pressure begins to rise with the qualifications and selections for the 2016 Olympic Games, Peters is confident that “Rosie” will continue to improve during the duration.

“Rosie needs to get stronger, and we have a nice fitness program laid out for her. We’re skipping the next CDI in California, but we’ll show her again in late March. It’s always easy to think about improving, but it’s also equally important to think about maintaining what we have. I believe in bubble-wrapping them when they’re good.”

Peters brought Legolas 92 and Rosamunde to PBIEC for the USEF Festival of Champions in December 2015 and for this week’s competition. He explained why traveling to Wellington during the winter season is not just important for his horses, but for the sport.

“This is the place to be from January to March,” he said. “Nowhere else in the world, even at the Grand Prix, do you have such a wonderful turnout. We had a great panel of judges for both the CDI 3* and CDI 5*. We have to support shows like this and on top of that, I’ve never seen anywhere in America a crowd like we had last night. When the audience is that generous, the riders need to play along and show up here.”

Perry-Glass has shot through the national rankings at the Grand Prix level with Goerklintgaards Dublet over the course of the past month and the combination continues to show improvements in their tests together with each outing.

“He felt really good in the warm up, probably the best I’ve ever felt him. He was really focused and relaxed, but hot at the same time. When I went into the ring, I felt he got a little bit hotter. There were a few mistakes in the test, but that was probably the most focused and in front of my leg that I’ve ever felt him,” commented Perry-Glass. “That was the positive thing for today. It’s just a matter of pilot errors on my end. It’s me getting used to him in the ring, and we’re going to continue working on that.”

With two horses competitive at the Grand Prix level, Perry-Glass has found herself learning more about her own riding and technique under the watchful eye of trainer Debbie McDonald. Gaining more experience in the international arena is a priority for Perry and “Dublet” who are still solidifying their partnership together at the Grand Prix.

“We are entered into the CDI-W at the end of the month and then possibly skip the Palm Beach Derby, but have put in our application for the CDIO Nations Cup and see where it goes from there,” explained Perry of her future plans with “Dublet”. “If Scarlett doesn’t get into the top eight for the traveling tour to Europe, we’re possible going to breed her because she’s such a good mare. That’s her plan and then we’re shooting for that top eight with Dublet.”

The young Juan Matute, Jr. found himself among some of the best in today’s FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 3*, but that did not deter him from riding a beautiful test aboard Quantico Ymas for third place.

“It’s the details of the tests. I think we have all of the relaxation and the movements. I’ve been riding him now for three years. This was our first CDI Grand Prix so I was very happy with the results and really proud of our progress and our journey,” he explained. “It’s a horse that is very sensitive. He’s from a jumping line by Fighting Fit so he’s a horse that has really made me work every day and analyze my basic concepts of riding. He has a lot of talent. He’s ambitious in the ring, which helps, but today was very good.”

Ever so early in his career, Matute has found success in the inner workings of the basic movements, which has helped to increase scores and create a more secure partnership with Quantico Ymas.

“We always begin working on the passage and piaffe when they’re young, maybe five or six years old, to start developing that power from behind little by little. He’s always been a talented passage horse because he likes to sit a lot. We’ve been working little by little on our way up to Grand Prix, but really only over the past year did we start to consider moving him up to the Under 25 division and then to the Grand Prix.”

Competition at AGDF will conclude tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians, beginning at 11:20 a.m. To see a full list of results and a weekly schedule, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Allison Kavey and Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Verdades Return to Fine Form in FEI Grand Prix CDI 5* at AGDF 5

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos: ©SusanJStickle.

Wellington, FL – February 11, 2016 – Topping a talented field of seasoned international competitors, Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades returned to their winning ways in the FEI Grand Prix CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF). Competition at AGDF 5 continues tomorrow with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians, at 8 a.m., the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, at 2:50 p.m., followed by the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, for “Friday Night Stars” beginning at 7:00pm.

Graves and Verdades were the final ride in the class of 30 entries and received a 76.440%. Steffen Peters (USA) and Legolas 92 collected second place with a 74.100%, while Mikala Gundersen (DEN) and My Lady earned third with a 71.760%.

Graves and Verdades have been a force in Large Tour competition over the past two years and are one of the strongest combinations for the United States. An uncharacteristic performance at the last CDI competition at AGDF pushed Graves back to the drawing board and motivated a re-evaluation on behalf of her and her support team.

“Tonight’s performance was a big relief for us actually,” Graves said. “We’ve been pushing to a point in our training, adding power, and he’s developing so fast, I think faster than he probably was ready for. Picking up the pieces from our last show, we just wanted to give him a really good experience in here today.”

She continued, “We’re just hoping to come into the 5* this week and let him feel comfortable again. I could not be happier with how we got through today’s test and now (we are) moving on to the Special on Saturday, which is normally a good test for him. We’re hoping to just do the same so he feels really good going into the super big competitions we have later on this year.”

The pair’s test was fluid and relaxed, a reaction Graves was hoping to achieve from the notoriously hot 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda). As they have progressed in the depth and understanding of their training together, Graves found herself looking back to the basics to help “Diddy” regain confidence in the ring.

“Actually today, our goal was to really ride him down. We wanted him to feel like he could stretch the whole time and just stay relaxed. That’s what we were going for. He’s developed such an idea of what he’s supposed to do at these shows now. We take his boots off, and he gets excited. He hears the audience, and he gets excited. These things didn’t used to mean much to him, but now he knows what he gets to do,” she elaborated. “He’s getting almost over-excited now. We have to make him feel confident and level him out. Tonight it was a really good experience for him. He was great.”

Alongside Graves and Verdades, their Pan American Games teammates Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 had a strong showing in their first Grand Prix competition on the East Coast this year. The experienced pair dazzled the crowd, but Peters felt that they did leave points on the table with a costly mistake.

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92

“He’s more supple now. There’s usually, especially today, less tension. The walk is more relaxed, but at the same time he does wonderful piaffe and passage work. Unfortunately today the one-tempi was expensive,” commented Peters. “He was at a 76% and it dropped us down to a 74%. I’m not sure if it would have been close enough to get to Laura, but what is exciting is that [the United States has] two horses that can do 76% and higher. Ideally, we need one more for Rio, where we average 76%, because then we have a chance at a medal. You know, it was a good show, not as good as two weeks ago, but they’re not machines. You always have the understanding that little mistakes are going to happen.”

Gundersen and My Lady were a dominating combination on the 2015 AGDF circuit last year and have returned to the Global International Ring for the CDI 5* this week in their second showing at AGDF this season.

“I don’t change much in our program with her. I keep riding every day and the treadmill is what is really keeping her super fit because she’s on the treadmill every day at an incline, and it keeps building her strength so I don’t have to ride her so hard. She goes in the cold water spa every day and this horse, she just has a really good life,” she laughed.

“We work on suppleness and through-ness every day and we work on a program where I start out riding her round and forward to help get some of her energy out and then we get to some collected work, then really collected work, but I really try to let her be,” she explained, detailing their weekly program with My Lady. “We spend a lot of time in the walk.”

Christina Vinios and Folkestone OLD served as the first American pair to take a win in Small Tour competition at AGDF this season, as the combination bested a class of 28 entries. Vinios and Folkestone OLD received a 72.842% for first place, while Leida Collins-Strijk, who has dominated the Small Tour so far this season, took home second and third place honors aboard Don Tignanello and Zantros respectively, with a 71.579% and 71.289%.

Competition at AGDF continues tomorrow morning with the FEI Intermediaire I CDI 1*, presented by Kirk Arabians, at 8 a.m. followed by the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty at 2:50 p.m. The popular “Friday Night Stars” FEI Grand Prix CDI5* Freestyle, presented by Diamante Farms, will begin at 7 p.m. preceded by The Salute to the Olympians, presented by Diamante Farms, at 6:15pm. For more information on AGDF and to see a full weekly schedule, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:

The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.

Please visit
www.globaldressagefestival.com
www.pbiec.com
or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Adequan Global Dressage Festival is located at
The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
13500 South Shore Blvd, Wellington, Florida 33414

Carly Weilminster
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Graves and Vinios Claim National Championship Titles at U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions

Shelly Francis and Rubinio (SusanJStickle.com)

Wellington, Fla. – National Championship competition came to a close this evening at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival grounds in the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. In The Dutta Corp./USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship, Christina Vinios and Folkestone OLD maintained their position atop the leaderboard, placing second in tonight’s Freestyle and capturing their second National Championship title of 2015. Winning two of the three classes in The Dutta Corp./USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship was Laura Graves and Verdades, who added their first ever National Championship title to a year of remarkable success.

The Dutta Corp./USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship

A field of eight Small Tour combinations began the quest for National honors on Wednesday in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test, which contributed 40% towards their final scores. Vinios (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Folkestone OLD took an early lead, winning the class with a score of 70.632%. The following day the competitors performed the FEI Intermediate I Test for an additional 45% of their overall scores. Jane Karol (Concord, Mass.) and her own Sunshine Tour performed brilliantly to win the class on a score of 69.105%. Vinios finished closely behind Karol on day two and maintained her division lead heading into today’s Freestyle.

With mere fractions of a point separating the combinations at the top of the leaderboard, this evening’s Freestyle tests were eagerly anticipated as they accounted for the final 15% of the championship scores. A relative newcomer to the sport, Vinios and Folkestone OLD performed their pop medley Freestyle this evening for only the second time, scoring 71.000%, enough to secure the National Championship title by .200 of a point.

“It was really fun and I am so happy. I had a lot of fun with my horse this year and to end it like this is really special,” said Vinios. “It was intense, but really fun. I loved it.”

The pair has proven to be a force to reckon with, as it adds its second National Championship title of 2015 to their resume, having won the Markel/USEF Developing Horse Prix St. Georges Dressage National Championship in August. The pair also swept the CDI Small Tour classes at Dressage at Devon in September.

Shelly Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and her newest partner, Patricia Stempel’s Rubinio, put the pressure on their fellow competitors all week. Placing second in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test on a score of 69.868% and third in the FEI Intermediaire I Test with 67.763%, the pair was wonderfully consistent in the quality of gaits presented. Showcasing great poise, the pair performed its Freestyle to music from “The Man from Snowy River,” impressing the judges to take a commanding win in the class on a score of 74.350%, moving them up one on the leaderboard to take Reserve National Champion honors.

“Rubinio felt much more with me [tonight],” explained Francis. “He really put out in the Freestyle; he tried really hard. It went well so I was happy and it was fun. He was excited about it and proud of himself.”

Finishing in third overall was Karol and Sunshine Tour. Karol rode a very determined test this evening, taking several risks that unfortunately did not pay off, scoring 64.825%.

The Dutta Corp./USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship

Earning their first ever National Championship title were Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades, who won two of the three division classes this week. The pair overcame some bobbles in day one’s FEI Grand Prix test to score a 76.460%, accounting for 45% of its championship title. On day two, in the FEI Grand Prix Special, the pair built on its lead with a fluid and dynamic test, winning with a score of 77.137%. Today the gelding showcased his great power, scoring 75.125% in a test that was not without its faults, finishing second in the class.

“He’s been feeling really good all week and tonight was a demonstration of how much horse I have now,” explained Graves. “I am still on a sharp learning curve and am still learning to ride that horse in that environment. This was our first outing [since the Pan American Games in July] and was a perfect opportunity to figure this out now going into our World Cup qualifiers. He is amazingly athletic and when he goes like that the feeling is unreal. We had some mistakes tonight, but I can’t hold that against my horse.”

Speaking to the feeling of securing her first National title, Graves said, “I’ve never been close to this position before so it’s a real honor. This is a really encouraging place to be as we begin 2016.”

Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (SusanJStickle.com)
Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 (SusanJStickle.com)

Remaining closely behind Graves in the division standings all week was veteran competitor and winner of the last four Grand Prix National Championships, Steffen Peters (San Diego, Calif.), with his Four Winds Farms-owned mounts Rosamunde and Legolas 92. After disappointing performances for Peters on day one, he was ranked second with Legolas 92 and third with Rosamunde. Day two proved Peters’ masterful ability to rise to the occasion. Rosamunde performed beautifully through the FEI Grand Prix Special, scoring a 74.549% and moving up to second on the leaderboard. Stablemate Legolas 92 earned a 72.412% and dropped to third in the championship rankings by the slimmest of margins. Saturday garnered further positive results for Peters with Legolas 92 executing his crowd-pleasing Freestyle with music from U2 and Vanilla Ice to win the class on a score of 77.675% and take Reserve National Championship title.

“I was super excited. It was one of his best Freestyles. I am so familiar with the routine and I thought even tonight I wasn’t just with the music, but I was really with the footfall of every single beat.”

Rosamunde performed her second career Freestyle, handling the bustling atmosphere with grace to score 74.950% and place third overall.

All championship competition will be available on-demand on USEFNetwork.com.

From the USEF Communications Department

USEF Festival of Champions Continues at PBIEC

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photo Credit: ©MegBanks/EquestrianSportProductions, LLC.

Wellington, FL – December 9, 2015 – The USEF Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corporation continues tomorrow at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), home of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), showcasing the nation’s best Small Tour and Large Tour combinations through Saturday, December 12.

Laura Graves of Geneva, FL and her own 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding Verdades (Florett AS x Liwilarda) stole the show on the first day of competition, as the duo saved the best for last, receiving a 76.460% in the Grand Prix as the final competitors in the ring. Steffen Peters of San Diego, CA collected second and third place honors aboard Legolas 92, a 2002 Westphalian gelding (Laomedon x Furstin), and Rosamunde, a 2007 Rheinlander mare (Rock Forever x First Lady), both owned by Four Winds Farm. Peters and Legolas 92 earned a 74.220% for second place and a 72.620% aboard Rosamunde for third.

General admission and parking are free to the public, including entrance to the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle, hosted under the lights at The Stadium at PBIEC, beginning at 7pm on Saturday, December 12.

All classes will be available via live stream coverage through the USEF Network.

Please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com for more information, including start times and full results.

Dujardin and Other Decorated Riders Announced for US Open Dressage Competition in Central Park

Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro. Photos by Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén, Isabell Werth, Laura Graves, and Patrik Kittel will join Charlotte Dujardin to compete at the event.

Only a few hundred tickets still available!

August 14, 2015 – New York, NY – A star-studded cast of dressage riders will make their way to the 2015 Rolex Central Park Horse Show Sept. 25-26. The talented lineup that includes five of the world’s top 11 ranked riders will compete in the inaugural U.S. Open Dressage event.

The U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix on Friday and the $75,000 Dressage Freestyle, presented by the Axel Johnson Group, on Saturday will highlight the schedule. The number-one dressage rider in the world over the last 24 months and double Olympic Gold Medalist, Charlotte Dujardin, will make a rare trip to New York City with her famed mount Valegro.

German rider Isabell Werth, one of the most celebrated equestrian Olympians of all time with five gold medals and currently ranked 7th in the world, will also make the trip to the U.S. along with Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén and Patrik Kittel, ranked 6th and 11th respectively. Spain’s Juan Matute Jr., recent European Junior Champion and one of the world’s most talented up-and-coming riders, will also compete.

North America will be well-represented with rising star and 9th ranked rider Laura Graves and her mount Verdades making a trip to the big city, along with Catherine Haddad Staller and Charlotte Jorst, all riding for the USA. They will be joined by Canada’s Ashley Holzer and Karen Pavicic to round out the competition.

Laura Graves and Verdades
Laura Graves and Verdades

Laura Graves commented, “I am beyond excited to be invited to this very special event in Central Park. This year will be a real showcase and I am looking forward to a strong competition. I have one thing on my mind going into 2016 and that is Rio. This show is the perfect stepping stone on that path.”

After the 2014 debut of the sold-out Rolex Central Park Horse Show, Mark Bellissimo, CEO of International Equestrian Group, LLC (IEG), is pleased to see the reach and impact of the thrilling event expand to more international talent this year.

“We work hard to make sure the show itself is as special as it can be, but it is the riders who truly make it unforgettable,” he said. “We are very proud to present the best in sport across so many disciplines in the heart of New York City.”

Rolex Central Park Horse Show Dressage Schedule:

Friday, September 25th
1:30 PM – U.S. Open Dressage Grand Prix

Saturday, September 26th
6:30 PM – U.S. Open $75,000 Dressage Freestyle, presented by Axel Johnson Group

The second-annual Rolex Central Park Horse Show will feature five days of multi-discipline equestrian sport. The schedule will include the inaugural U.S. Open in the following categories: Jumpers, Dressage, Hunters, U25 Jumpers, and Arabians.

Tickets are now on sale for all events at the 2015 Rolex Central Park Horse Show. There are only a few hundred tickets still available for the event and they are anticipated to sell out. Tickets can now be purchased at http://bit.ly/1AV2imv.

Additional information, including matinee performances, will be announced in the coming weeks on www.coth.com and www.centralparkhorseshow.com.

Media Contact:
Shin-Jung Hong
Nicholas & Lence Communications
ShinJung@nicholaslence.com
Tel: 212.938.0005

Equestrian Media Contact:
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Lindsay Brock
lindsay@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Premier Equestrian Congratulates Team USA on Bringing Home Gold at Pan American Games

Silver medalist Laura Graves and Verdades during their freestyle at the 2015 Pan American Games in a Premier Equestrian Brentina Arena (Photo courtesy of Red Bay Group, LLC)

Toronto, Canada (July 15, 2015) – Premier Equestrian, maker of world-class dressage arenas, arena footing, and horse jumps, was thrilled to watch the U.S. Dressage Team take the 2015 Pan American Games by storm. The company was especially excited to cheer on Steffen Peters and Laura Graves, who use Premier’s products and have been dubbed “Premier Equestrians” by the company. After helping the U.S. to Team Gold, Peters earned the Individual Gold medal and Graves took home Individual Silver. The Team Gold medal, earned with a team total score of 460.506, guarantees the U.S. a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Team USA claimed victory at the Pan Ams in a Premier Equestrian Brentina Arena. “The Brentina Arena and three foot flower boxes were provided through our Canadian distributor, System Fencing,” reported Kathryn Rustad, Premier Equestrian’s Internal Marketing Director. “The arena has been used at many world-class competitions. Top facilities seek out the Brentina Arena because of its unique safety features and its elegance.”

The revolutionary design of the Brentina Arena solves problems previously associated with multi-rail arenas. “The 18 inch base cone is extremely stable in high wind and the rails snap into each base to release upon any force or impact, thus providing safety for horse and rider,” Rustad explains.

The arena is named after Olympian and fellow “Premier Equestrian” Debbie McDonald’s famous mare, Brentina. “We are very particular about what equipment we use in our training facility,” said McDonald. “Not only did this arena pass our inspection, but we felt it was such an exceptional design providing form and function with the highest degree of safety, that we gave it our finest approval by naming it the Brentina Arena.”

Laura Graves, Silver medalist in Tuesday’s Freestyle competition, trained in preparation for the Pan American Games under McDonald at Rivergrove Farm in Hailey, Idaho. Graves, a self-proclaimed underdog with what is shaping up to be a “fairytale” story according to CNN, has had a journey to international success that has caught the eyes of many equestrian enthusiasts. She and her Dutch Warmblood Verdades (Florett AS- Liwilarda, Goya), known as “Diddy,” have captured the hearts and the attention of spectators around the world. Purchased in The Netherlands, based solely on a video, Diddy arrived as a fiery and “explosive” six-month-old. The now thirteen-year-old Diddy grew up on the Graves’ family farm in Vermont, and then moved with Graves to Geneva, Florida, where the duo began their dressage career.

Peters and Legolas 92, a thirteen-year-old Westfalen gelding owned by Four Winds Farm LLC, battled impressive rides, especially from the host country riders. After the team competition results were final, Peters stated, “The Canadians did a wonderful job. They rode extremely well. I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind that we might not be going to the Olympics. It kept me fired up enough to put in the performance that we did.”

USA claimed the Team Gold medal on Sunday, and finished out the Pan American Games with red, white, and blue leading the scoreboard. Peters brought his best to the show ring for the Intermediate I Grand Prix Freestyle, on his mount, Legolas 92, scoring a 80.075 percent to earn first, with Graves and Verdades following at a 79.825 percent.

Premier Equestrian proclaimed “a big congratulations to team USA for their win, and to our Premier Equestrians, Steffen Peters and Laura Graves!” Premier Equestrians are riders who have demonstrated sportsmanship, generated awareness for horse sports, or have been outstanding in his or her contribution to equestrian culture.

Premier Equestrian’s world-renowned expert arena footing, dressage arenas, and revolutionized horse jumps are crafted and designed to be perfect for riders of any level. Learn more about the company and its outstanding Premier Equestrians at www.PremierEquestrian.com.

For more information contact:
Heidi Zorn, Premier Equestrian
1-800-611-6109
www.PremierEquestrian.com
heidi@dressagearena.net