Laura Graves and Verdades Return to Winning Ways in CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle

Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 25, 2019 – The world number two combination Laura Graves and Verdades, her own 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, returned to the arena on Friday night at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with their sights set on the top placing. After placing second in Thursday’s Grand Prix behind her U.S. Dressage teammate Kasey Perry-Glass, Graves was motivated to improve their performance by keeping Verdades more relaxed. The pair succeeded, finishing with an impressive total score of 84.935 percent and getting them one step closer to qualifying for the FEI World Cup Finals this spring.

Laura Graves and Verdades
Laura Graves and Verdades

With their performance under the lights during week three being only the second time they have ridden to their new freestyle music, Graves explained she is feeling even more comfortable riding to it and is looking forward to making some small tweaks over the next couple months before the Finals.

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet
Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet

In her opening show of the year, Kasey Perry-Glass gave a stand out performance aboard Diane Perry’s Goerklintgaards Dublet. Earlier in the week, the pair received a personal best score in the Grand Prix, winning the class to beat Graves and Verdades. The cooler weather gave the Danish Warmblood gelding an extra spring in his step for the freestyle, which he placed second with an 82.425 percent. Perry-Glass’ World Equestrian Games teammate Adrienne Lyle, who finished fourth in the freestyle with Salvino, designed the choreography for her.

Shelly Francis and Danilo
Shelly Francis and Danilo

Finishing in third place was fellow U.S. rider Shelly Francis riding Patricia Stemple’s Danilo, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding. The pair competed in last year’s FEI World Cup Finals in Paris, France, and spent the remainder of the year training and showing in Europe at venues such as Aachen and Rotterdam. They received a personal best score as a pair for their Friday freestyle performance, earning a total of 80.535 percent.

Results: CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle

1. Laura Graves / USA / Verdades / 84.935
2. Kasey Perry-Glass / USA / Goerklintgaards Dublet / 82.425
3. Shelly Francis / USA / Danilo / 80.535
4. Adrienne Lyle / USA / Salvino / 79.335
5. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven / SWE / Don Auriello / 78.98
6. Jill Irving / CAN / Degas 12 / 71.15
7. Yvonne Losos De Muniz / DOM / Foco Loco W / 69.5
8. Ariana Chia / CAN / Teo / 66.07

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Laura Graves – CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle winner

On her freestyle:
“It was the second time I’ve ridden to this music so I’m definitely feeling a little more comfortable with it. With a little bit of breeze tonight, I had a bit of a problem hearing my music so that was difficult at times. I’m looking forward to making some changes still before World Cup. That’s always me to make last minute tweaks to things. I’m glad to add another good score for qualifying. On a normal year we’d be qualified by now, but we have one more show to do that. We will be back at the end of February to hopefully quality for World Cup.

“Yesterday’s test did not go as planned. We had a killer first show of the season and he’s a trained horse. He got a little frazzled in the warm-up with the weather. There was standing water everywhere — not really his thing. He got a little spooked and afraid so we had some big mistakes. Overall, alot of tension, which is something we always try to do is relax this horse. Today, I put him on the lunge line, which is one of his favorite things. I knew I would be battling the cold weather. My horse already has plenty of energy and goes no matter what so we had a different strategy today and it worked for him.

Kasey Perry-Glass – second place

On her Dublet:
“The weather was great for Dublet — he loves the cold weather and it really gets him more amped. I really haven’t been able to show under the lights for almost a year and a half because I didn’t do it last year. It was really exciting to come out and do it. I’m very proud of him for this show. For him to come out and score a personal best in the Grand Prix after WEG, it was unreal. To be able to come out and do that right off the bat is really special for him.”

On her freestyle performance:
“Unfortunately I had a little spook coming in and that put me a little bit behind my music which made me feel rushed through my choreography. But he nailed everything. His piaffe-passage is always our fun spot and his changes are extremely fun to ride. His halfpasses are something we have struggled with for a long time and have become so strong for him. He is becoming an overall more amazing horse the older he gets. The more confident we get in the ring makes it feels like the rideability is right there. I’m very happy with him.”

Shelly Francis – third place

On her freestyle:
“I just feel like the horse is really liking this freestyle. He gets pumped up and tonight with the cooler weather he was a bit frisky. I didn’t work him so much in the warm-up because I wanted to make sure he went in a little frisky. I’d rather have a little extra energy even if I have to fasten my seatbelt every one in a while. He felt really fun and awesome. He is coming into himself.”

 

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