Laura Graves Breaks 80 Percent to Win Grand Prix CDI5* Presented by Diamante Farms

© Sarah Harper: Laura Graves and Verdades
Laura Graves and Verdades

Wellington, Fla. — Feb. 9, 2017 — US Olympic bronze medalist Laura Graves and her own Verdades, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, were the top pair in Thursday’s Grand Prix CDI 5* presented by Diamante Farms, with a score of 80.080 percent — their first score above 80 percent in a CDI Grand Prix. The pair scored more than six points higher than their closest competitor.

Graves was understandably thrilled with her test on Thursday and feels like there is still yet more room for improvement.

© Sarah Harper: Laura Graves and Verdades Presentation
Laura Graves and Verdades

“This is pretty monumental for us,” Graves said.  “We’ve been working towards 80 percent at every test for a while now, probably since our first year at Grand Prix knowing that it was possible for this horse. To be rewarded today while still feeling like he and I may still have some improvements left is wonderful.  It’s encouraging to have the judging panel be generous and my horse be so generous and to have such a great show to come out and compete in.”

When asked about the differences between this test and her performance a few weeks ago she explained that it’s really the transitions and the little things that she works on that make the difference.

© Sarah Harper: Laura Graves and Verdades
Laura Graves and Verdades

“Transitions always,” Graves explained. “I think on a trained horse that’s where I spend the bulk of my time. It’s not what happens in between, the horses know their job and if you’ve done your job that part’s going to happen. It’s about setting them up properly, riding my corners, coming in at an appropriate tempo and frame. The first test [of season] always feels a bit sloppy but I’m lucky that I have such a great team around me. We know where to pay attention and we work just those points — we don’t work him too hard.”

In second place was Steffen Peters and Four Winds Farm’s Rosamude, a 10-year-old Rhinelander mare, with a score of 73.820 percent.

© Sarah Harper: Steffen Peters and Rosamunde
Steffen Peters and Rosamunde 

“I had a very electric horse underneath me  today,” Peters said. “The first halt was certainly  a reflection of that. Overall I have to say there are 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 and I was able to make her neck a little bit longer.

The electric atmosphere at the Global Dressage Festival was a factor in their test on Thursday.

“Overall i’m happy with her,” he said.  “It’s usually how she is the first day here at Wellington with this atmosphere. If we think about being a contender for the World Cup then she has to deal with this atmosphere and we will see about that tomorrow night in the Freestyle.”

© Sarah Harper: Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi
Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi

Rounding put the top three was Tinne Vilhemson Silfven and Paridon Magi, a 14-year-old Swedish gelding owned by Lovsta Stuteri, with a score of 73.700 percent.

“I was very happy with him today,” she said.  “He ran a little bit out of gas. I think maybe I warmed him up a little bit too long. Overall he’s ambitious  and tries to do his best the whole time and I really think he was good.”

Competition in the CDI 5* presented by Diamante Farms will continue on Friday with the Grand Prix Musical Freestyle beginning at 7:00pm.

CDI5* Grand Prix Results
Rider/Country/Horse/Total Score
1. Laura Graves/USA/Verdades/80.080
2. Steffen Peters/USA/Rosamunde/73.820
3. Tinne Vilhemson Silfve/SWE/Paridon Magi/73.700
4. Lisa Wilcox/Galant/USA/72.640
5. Kasey Perry-Glass/USA/Goerklingtaards Dublet/72.440
6. Megan Lane/CAN/Caravella/70.740
7. Shelly Francis/USA/Doktor/70.620
8. Katherine Bateson Chandler/USA/Alcazar/70.080
9. Tuny Page/USA/Woodstock/68.160
10. Jan Ebeling/USA/FRH Rassolini/68.140
11. Jacqueline Brooks/CAN/D Niro/66.800
12. Maria Florencia Manfredi/ARG/Bandurria Kacero/66.020

© Sarah Harper: Laura Graves and Verdades Presentation
Laura Graves and Verdades Presentation

© Sarah Harper: Laura Graves and Verdades Rotator
Laura Graves and Verdades

© Sarah Harper: Steffen Peters and Rosamunde
Steffen Peters and Rosamunde

© Sarah Harper: Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi
Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi

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