Laura Graves & Verdades Top Ranked American Combination at No. 4 At Start of 2017

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Laura Graves and Verdades in the Olympic Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades in the Olympic Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Jan. 1, 2017

Laura Graves and Verdades ended their Olympic team bronze medal year as the top ranked American partnership at No. 4 in the world starting 2017 and the rider “always working for a world No. 1.”

The year-end standing for the partnership for the horse’s entire life–all horses in the Northern Hemisphere have their official birthday as Jan. 1 so Verdades is now 15–was the first at the top of the growing lineup of American Big Tour combinations.

It is the first time since at least 2008 which is far back as FEI records are available that Steffen Peters has not been the top ranked American, on Ravel from 2008 to 2012 and Legolas until 2015.

Their success has made Laura a candidate for United States Equestrian of the Year and Verdades Horse of the Year.

“It is humbling every day to think that this horse has allowed me to achieve such amazing things,” said the 29-year-old Laura based in Geneva, Florida of the pair’s rise to the elite of the sport in two years of Olympic, world and continental championships and as reigning U.S. Grand Prix champions.

“He gives me everything he can every day and totally deserves to be the highest ranking American horse,” Laura told dressage-news.com. “Of course, the competitor in me is always working for a world #1!”

The pair climbed from their first appearance on the world rankings of No. 458 in February, 2014 to No. 22 at the end of the year after the World Games in Normandy where they placed fifth in the Freestyle. Laura and Verdades followed up with a fourth place finish at the 2015 World Cup Final in Las Vegas then team gold and individual silver at the Pan American Games that summer to stand at No. 15 at the end of 2015.

The Olympic performances of team bronze and fourth place in the freestyle at Rio de Janeiro boosted the duo to No. 4 in the world on 2,462 points earned in their top eight performances of 2016.

Isabell Werth of Germany leads the German juggernaut of the top three places in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) standings with 2,928 points.

The year-end rankings have American team mates Steffen Peters of San Diego, California on Legolas ranked No. 9, Kasey Perry-Glass of Wellington, Florida on Dublet No. 22 and Allison Brock also of Wellington on Rosevelt at No. 28. Steffen on Rosamunde is ranked 24th.

Arlene “Tuny” Page of Wellington on Woodstock and Shelly Francis of neighboring Loxahatchee on Doktor were tied at No. 45, up one place in the standings.

Laura said that she will seek a start in the World Cup Final at Omaha at the end of March.

But, she said, “after everything this horse has done for me, he will not be over-shown this year, or any year after.

“I will continue to focus on our training, staying in top form and fitness. I will leave it up to him to tell me when he has had enough.

“But these days, he is happy being king and letting everyone know. He still gets very excited in training and especially at shows. He is completely transparent. I will continue to seek spots on the USA teams and hopefully find a successor to Diddy.”