Laura Graves on Verdades Top American in Aachen Grand Prix, Caroline Roffman & Her Highness O Ride On to World Games Team
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
AACHEN, Germany, July 17, 2014–Laura Graves and Verdades were the top scoring pair on the American team in the World Equestrian Festival Nations Cup Thursday in only their second show in Europe while the 25-year-old Caroline Roffman scored high enough on Her Highness O to win a place on the United States team for the World Equestrian Games next month.
The American team for the WEG in Normady, France was decided by scores from the Nations Cup added to results from the Fritzens, Austria CDI4* two weeks ago and the U.S. championships in Gladstone, New Jersey last month, based on the published selection criteria but not confirmed officially by the U.S. Equestrian Federation.
Steffen Peters, who did not compete here as he was hospitalized in Belgium with pneumonia and pleurisy automatically qualified for the team as did Laura Graves based on their Gladstone championship results.
The team, subject to veterinary examinations of the horses and other factors but following the published criteria will be:
–Steffen Peters, 49, of San Diego, California, and Legolas, 12-year-old Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Florestan II) and owned by Akiko Yamazaki’s and Jerry Yang’s Four Winds Farm;
–Laura Graves, 26, of Geneva, Florida, on her own Verdades, 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Goya);
–Tina Konyot, 52, of Palm City, Florida, on her own Calecto V, 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion (Come Back II x Rastell), whose three-show score is 212.78, and
–Caroline Roffman, 25, of Wellington, Florida, on her own Her Highness O, 11-year-old Hanoverian mare (Hohenstein x Weltmeyer), whose three-show score is 211.880.
The alternate is Adrienne Lyle, 29, of Ketchum, Idaho, and Wizard, 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer x Classiker) owned by Peggy Thomas, whose three-show score is 211.520.
Laura and Verdades scored 73.000 per cent for 13th place in the Nations Cup Grand Prix while Caroline and Her Highness were awarded 70.400 per cent for 21st place, Adrienne and Wizard on 70.340 per cent for 22nd and Tina and Calecto scored 67.560 per cent for 34th place.
Aachen, regarded as the premier horse show in the world, came two weeks after the much lower key Fritzens event in the Austrian Alps for Laura and Verdades in their first European competition circuit.
Laura has become a celebrity “unknown” as she squeaked into the national championships with a last-ditch effort at the Kentucky CDI3* at the end of May. She began showing Verdades at CDI Grand Prix on the Florida winter circuit in February this year.
On the horse her mother bought from a sales video sent from Holland, she upset the predictions by finishing second in the championships behind Steffen and Legolas and followed that up with results at Fritzens and now at Aachen.
Caroline and Her Highness established a winning record at U.S. championships and competed the mare at small tour at Aachen in 2013. The first CDI Grand Prix for the pair was in January this year, also on the Florida winter circuit.
Tina and Calecto V were on U.S. teams at the WEG in Kentucky in 2010 and the 2012 Olympics in London.
Meantime, Steffen Peters who brought both Legolas and the spectacular seven-year-old Rosamunde to Europe reported from Belgium that Thursday “is the first day, that I feel much better. I had no idea what pneumonia is all about. It was a scary lesson in a foreign hospital.”
He said that Shannon, his wife, “is taking very good care of me and does a beautiful job riding Rosie and Legolas.”
He said he starts five-minute minutes walks Friday and team doctor Mark Hart has given permission for Steffen to get on a horse next Tuesday.
“I’m not very big on giving advice,” he wrote, “but if you have a high fever and your mother tells you that you will get pneumonia if you keep riding…. Listen to your mother!!!”