Laura Graves & Verdades Return to Confidence-Building Winning Ways to Take Wellington CDI5* Grand Prix

5 years ago admin Comments Off on Laura Graves & Verdades Return to Confidence-Building Winning Ways to Take Wellington CDI5* Grand Prix
Laura Graves with Verdades at the end of their winning CDI5* Grand Prix ride. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves with Verdades at the end of their winning CDI5* Grand Prix ride. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 11, 2016–Laura Graves and Verdades returned to their winning ways with victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix Thursday in a confidence-building program for the over-achieving Verdades.

Laura, the United States Grand Prix champion with the 14-year-old KWPN gelding, scored 76.440 per cent, their second highest CDI Grand Prix score since the pair emerged as one of the top combinations in the world less than two years ago.

Steffen Peters and Legolas, that had been flown from his San Diego, California base to Florida with Rosamunde, posted 74.100 per cent after a mistake in the one-tempi changes.

Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen and My Lady, based in Wellington and competing to help her country win a team start at the Olympics, placed third on 71.760 per cent in the Grand Prix in which 30 combinations from 10 nations started.

Laura Graves and Verdades performing in the CDI5* Grand Prix. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades performing in the CDI5* Grand Prix. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The 28-year-old Laura who lives outside Orlando about 2 1/2 hours from Wellington, said the performance by Verdades was “a big relief.”

After capturing the U.S. championship last December at these same Palm Beach International Equestrian Center show grounds, the pair returned to ride in two World Cup events to qualify for their second Final that will be staged in Gothenburg, Sweden in March.

Verdades was progressing so fast, she said, that he was pushed “probably faster than he was ready for.”

But those two World Cup events that were moved under cover because of torrential rain, nearby tornadoes and other new experiences that he lost relaxation in a tense environment that Laura said was “too much for him.”

The result of their last show in January were the lowest scores since the pair skyrocketed on to the world stage with a fifth place finish at the World Games Freestyle in 2014, fourth at last year’s World Cup Final and team gold and individual silver at the Pan American Games last summer that earned a start for the United States at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The U.S. championship capped 2015.

“He knows when I’m not pleased,” she said. “He’s very sensitive. When he makes mistakes he feels it.

“He’s an over-achiever. You never have to beg him for anything. He never says no.”

She said that his experiences in the past couple of years has meant that he gets excited when his boots are taken off or when he hears the audience, issues that did not previously mean much.

Working with Debbie McDonald, her trainer, in Wellington for the past week, Verdades was being ridden down, wanting him to feel he could stretch and be relaxed to make him feel confident again.

Laura Graves and Verdades. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“We were just hoping to come in here for the 5* and feel comfortable again,” she said.

“Everything is still learning,” she said, “how I ride, how I train through this nervousness. It’s tough.”

When Laura took him back to the stable after the competition she fed him a dozen carrots.

She is undecided whether to go to the World Cup Final, but will talk with Debbie and U.S. coach Robert Dover to decide what to do.

Steffen Peters and Legolas completing the CDI5* Grand Prix. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage news.com
Steffen Peters and Legolas completing the CDI5* Grand Prix. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage news.com

Steffen was happy with Laura’s result as, he said, it impacted prospects for the Olympics.

“It’s exciting to have two horses that can do 76 per cent or higher,” he said. “We need one other so we can average 76 per cent then have a chance for a medal.”

Legolas, his World Games and Pan American mount was more supple with less tension, though the lost one-tempi change was expensive Thursday.

Results:

CDI5 * Grand Prix
E: Eisenhardt – GER H: Lang – AUT C: De Wolff – NED M: Matthiesen – DEN B: Wuest – GER
Rider Nat. Horse E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. T Pl.
Graves, Laura USA Verdades 75.400 1 76.900 1 74.400 2 78.000 1 77.500 1 76.440 1
Peters, Steffen USA Legolas 92 73.800 2 74.400 2 75.300 1 74.100 2 72.900 3 74.100 2
Gundersen, Mikala DEN My Lady 71.800 4 72.700 3 69.300 9 73.200 3 71.800 6 71.760 3
Francis, Shelly USA Doktor 71.800 4 70.800 7 70.700 7 72.400 4 73.000 2 71.740 4
Page, Arlene USA Woodstock 72.100 3 71.800 5 71.100 4 69.100 9 72.200 4 71.260 5
Brock, Allison USA Rosevelt 70.700 8 72.400 4 71.000 6 69.700 7 70.500 10 70.860 6
Trussell, Belinda CAN Anton 71.300 7 71.300 6 71.100 4 70.200 6 69.800 11 70.740 7
Vilhelmson-Silfven, Tinne SWE Benetton Dream 71.400 6 70.400 8 71.500 3 68.900 10 71.300 7 70.700 8
Lane, Megan CAN Caravella 68.700 12 69.000 14 68.700 10 70.300 5 72.200 4 69.780 0
Petersen, Lars DEN Mariett 69.100 10 69.700 10 68.700 10 69.600 8 71.100 8 69.640 0
Wilcox, Lisa USA Galant 70.600 9 70.400 8 70.700 7 66.200 14 67.700 17 69.120 0
Griffith, Lara GBR Rubin Al Asad 67.700 15 69.100 12 68.700 10 68.500 11 70.800 9 68.960 0
Jorst, Charlotte USA Kastels Nintendo 68.200 13 68.600 15 67.700 14 68.400 12 69.100 13 68.400 0
Pavicic, Karen CAN Don Daiquiri 68.800 11 67.800 16 65.900 25 66.400 13 69.300 12 67.640 0
Brooks, Jacqueline M. CAN D Niro 67.900 14 69.100 12 66.900 19 66.000 16 67.700 17 67.520 0
Haddad-Staller, Catherine USA Mane Stream Hotmail 67.000 17 67.700 18 67.100 17 66.000 16 67.800 15 67.120 0
Irving, Jill CAN Degas 12 65.204 22 69.300 11 67.300 16 65.500 20 67.400 19 66.941 0
Zimmermann, Christian PLE Cinco De Mayo 67.500 16 65.900 21 68.100 13 65.500 20 67.300 20 66.860 0
Matute Jr, Juan ESP Don Diego Ymas 65.100 24 67.800 16 67.700 14 66.000 16 66.200 23 66.560 0
Perry-Glass, Kasey USA Trostruplunds Scarlet 66.300 19 66.100 20 66.900 19 64.900 24 67.800 15 66.400 0
Fraser, Brittany CAN All In 65.700 21 66.600 19 66.500 23 66.200 14 66.900 21 66.380 0
Bateson Chandler, Kathrine USA Alcazar 66.800 18 65.300 245 66.000 24 65.300 22 68.100 14 66.300 0
Wallenstein, Ricardo POR Bem Me Quer 66.300 19 65.500 24 66.900 19 65.000 23 66.200 23 65.980 0
Jimenez Cobo, Juan Antonio ESP Sunny Boy 64.800 26 65.600 23 66.700 22 66.000 16 65.800 25 65.780 0
Strasser, Evi CAN Renaissance Tyme 65.100 24 65.800 22 67.100 17 63.100 25 66.600 22 65.540 0
Tzinberg, Ellesse PHI Pavarotti 65.200 23 63.800 27 65.600 26 63.100 25 64.900 26 64.520 0
Dutta, Susan USA Currency DC 63.600 27 64.300 26 61.600 29 62.200 28 64.400 28 63.220 0
Pot, Adrienne USA Something Special 63.000 28 62.800 30 62.400 28 62.400 27 64.700 27 63.060 0
Vaughan, Joanne GEO Elmegarden’s Marquis 62.800 29 63.100 29 64.000 27 61.000 29 61.100 29 62.400 0
Rosencrantz, Mette USA Marron 58.300 30 63.400 28 59.700 30 57.800 30 57.700 30 59.380 0