Laura Graves & Verdades Win Wellington World Cup Grand Prix in 1st Competition since Olympics

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Laura Graves and Verdades in the World Cup Grand Prix, the first competition since the pair were on the U.S. bronze medal team at last summer's Olympics. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades in the World Cup Grand Prix, the first competition since the pair were on the U.S. bronze medal team at last summer’s Olympics. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK.

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 26, 2017–Laura Graves and Verdades won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Thursday in the first competition for the world’s No. 4 ranked partnership since last summer’s Olympics and the first step seeking to earn a start at the Omaha Final.

Laura of Geneva, Florida and Verdades, a KWPN gelding now 15 years old, appeared relaxed, fit and ready for what is a so-called “off year” for championships in the Americas except for the World Cup Final in March in being awarded 76.660 per cent.

The most emotional moment of the Grand Prix of 28 combinations from 10 countries came at the end of the ride by American Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Alcazar for a personal best score of 71.880 per cent in their first competition since the 12-year-old KWPN gelding underwent emergency colic surgery at Aachen, Germany last July.

Katherine Bateson Chandler on Alcazar leaving the arena in tears after their first competition since the horse underwent emergency colic surgery last July. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Katherine Bateson Chandler on Alcazar leaving the arena in tears after their first competition since the horse underwent emergency colic surgery last July. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“I thought I’d be able to hold it together but I couldn’t stop the tears of joy that he is really back after what was so scary in Aachen,” the 41-year-old rider based in Wellington said after the ride that beat their previous best result of 70.840 set posted at Global last March.

“And he is really back.”

Alcazar was ridden by Katherine on the U.S. team in the Grand Prix that was the first phase of the CDIO5* Nations Cup in Aachen last July.

However, the horse owned by Jane Forbes Clark that Katherine began competing at Small Tour in Europe in 2013 and moved up Grand Prix two years ago suffered a colic during the night and was rushed to a nearby veterinary clinic for surgery.

Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Alcazar in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Alcazar in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Katherine and Alcazar also rode on the American Nations Cup team in Denmark two months earlier, one of the inaugural year of the official team series that was won by the United States.

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén on Paridon Magi also posted a personal best of 75.080 per cent to place second. She declared the 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding her World Cup mount in this competition in which she also rode Benetton Dream FRH who was eliminated after he sneezed during the second pirouette and gave himself a nosebleed.

Tinne said she has not yet decided whether to seek a start in Omaha at the end of March as her primary goal is the European Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden later in the year.

Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén on Paridon Magi in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén on Paridon Magi in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Charlotte Jorst of Reno, Nevada on Kastel’s Nintendo was third on 73.080 per cent.

The 29-year-old Laura said she was thrilled with the performance by Verdades as he had what she described as a “bad experience” during training in the same arena Tuesday evening when a water sprinkler went off in his face.

“He is a mega, mega honest horse,” she said. “It always feels good to ride him.

“I’m really, really hoping to qualify for the World Cup that will be here at home. We had such an amazing time in Las Vegas,” she said in reference to the 2015 Final when the pair placed fourth in the Freestyle that decides the annual global championship.

“After last year’s Olympics where our team won bronze and we placed fourth in the Freestyle everything that happens now is icing on the cake.”

Laura Graves and Verdades in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

 

 

Though she admitted that “nothing compares to the unbelievable atmosphere” of riding Freestyles under the lights on Friday nights at Global.

Laura talked to dressage-news.com about big gaps in competition after major championships–a break of seven months after the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in 2014 where she placed fourth in the Freestyle before starting again in Wellington to earn a World Cup start in Las Vegas; six months between the Pan American Games team gold and individual silver medal performances, and almost six months since the Olympics and her fourth place Freestyle placing to this show in Wellington.

“Winning today is awesome, phenomenal,” she said, “but it’s not the end goal. People, and I include myself in this, feel the pull to compete whenever you can.

“After Rio, I pulled the shoes off Diddy. He didn’t do any work for two months, just trail rides, two months completely off.

“My goal is not to win every time. I hope to have a horse for next year and maybe the year after.

“I don’t see the point in taking a couple of dings just to compete. I’d rather save his legs and go for six months without competing.

“The utimate goal is having a very, very healthy horse for years to come.

“I don’t have another horse. We don’t baby him, but we need to be fair to him.

“It’s been a whole learning curve for me learning to live with other people’s expectations. I feel all of a sudden I have nothing to prove.

“And I tell myself that kids are starving, there are wars. Nobody cares if I miss a flying change.”

Results:

CDI-W Grand Prix
E: Hess GER H: Lopes POR C: Nivelle GER M: Santos Redondo ESP B: Ringmark SWE
RIDER NAT HORSE E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. T Pl.
Graves, Laura USA Verdades 77.100 1 77.400 1 74.700 1 75.800 1 78.300 1 76.660 1
Vilhelmson Silfven, Tinne SWE Paridon Magi 76.500 2 76.000 2 73.700 2 73.900 2 75.300 2 75.080 2
Jorst, Charlotte USA Kastels Nintendo 72.900 6 72.500 4 73.200 3 72.200 4 74.600 3 73.080 3
Bateson Chandler, Kathrine USA Alcazar 73.300 3 70.400 8 72.000 5 71.000 6 72.700 4 71.880 4
Pape, Suzan GBR Harmonys Fiorano 73.100 4 72.800 3 71.500 6 70.700 8 70.000 10 71.620 5
Pape, Suzan GBR Harmonys Don Noblesse 72.400 8 68.700 13 69.900 8 73.000 3 72.300 5 71.260 6
Fraser Beaulieu, Brittany CAN All In 70.900 12 71.700 5 70.300 7 71.000 6 71.200 6 71.020 7
Page, Arlene USA Woodstock 70.000 13 71.700 5 72.800 4 69.500 13 70.700 9 70.940 8
Matute Guimon, Juan ESP Don Diego Ymas 71.900 10 69.800 9 69.200 10 68.500 16 70.800 8 70.040 9
Hickok, Chase USA Sagacious HF 73.100 4 68.600 14 69.700 9 69.300 14 68.200 18 69.780 10
Matute Guimon, Juan ESP Quantico Ymas 72.400 8 69.000 12 68.400 13 69.600 11 69.300 13 69.740 11
Irving, Jill CAN Degas 12 69.800 14 69.200 11 68.600 12 71.400 5 69.400 11 69.680 12
Lane, Megan CAN San D’Or 72.700 7 71.300 7 68.700 11 66.500 19 69.000 16 69.640 13
Ebeling, Jan USA FRH Rassolini 71.700 11 66.900 18 67.900 16 69.600 11 69.400 11 69.100 14
Manfredi, Maria Florencia ARG Bandurria Kacero 67.700 19 69.800 9 68.200 14 69.800 9 69.100 14 68.920 15
Brooks, Jacqueline CAN D Niro 68.500 17 68.300 15 67.900 16 69.800 9 69.000 16 68.700 16
Marienau, Beatrice USA Stefano 8 68.900 16 67.200 17 68.100 15 69.300 14 69.100 14 68.520 17
Jorst, Charlotte USA Kastel’s Akeem Foldager 69.800 14 65.700 20 67.000 18 68.400 17 70.900 7 68.360 18
Sprieser, Lauren USA Ellegria 66.800 20 66.300 19 66.900 19 65.300 20 64.700 21 66.000 19
Pot, Adrienne USA Something Special 65.600 22 67.700 16 66.500 20 65.300 20 63.500 24 65.720 20
Bechtloff, Holger USA Clapton JP 67.900 18 64.200 22 63.900 24 66.800 18 64.000 22 65.360 21
Bertschinger, Barbara SUI Rubin Cortes OLD 64.700 23 64.800 21 65.200 21 63.900 24 66.600 20 65.040 22
Tzinberg, Ellesse PHI Triviant 2 65.800 21 63.200 24 64.900 22 64.700 22 63.800 23 64.480 23
MacDonald Cuddy, Jacqueline GBR Malcarat 62.800 24 61.900 25 64.300 23 64.700 22 67.100 19 64.160 24
Gentry, Kim AUS Leonardo 58.800 26 63.300 23 62.800 25 61.600 25 58.800 26 61.060 25
Schopf, Carrie ARM De Value 62.000 25 59.200 26 58.200 26 59.600 26 60.600 25 59.920 26
Eckroth, Eline USA Sir Prize 53.000 27 53.700 27 55.200 27 53.300 27 56.100 27 54.260 27
Vilhelmson Silfven, Tinne SWE Benetton Dream FRH Elim.