Laura Graves & Verdades Back In Competition After 6-Month Break Win Wellington World Cup Grand Prix

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Laura Graves riding Verdades in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Grand Prix. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 25, 2018–Laura Graves and Verdades, the world’s No. 4 partnership, returned to competition for the first time in six months to win the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Thursday.

The score for Laura and her U.S. Olympic team bronze medal 16-year-old KWPN gelding was 79.630 per cent that but for a little error at the end of the ride would likely have been at least 80 per cent.

With her sights on the World Cup Final in Paris in April and the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in September, the 30-year-old Laura of Geneva, Florida and the horse she has owned since a foal rode an almost error-free Grand Prix at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

The pair had not shown since the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany last July where she led the United States team to Nations Cup silver medal behind Germany and also became the only combination to beat world No. 1 Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD since the 2016 Olympics which they did in the Grand Prix Special.

Laura Graves and Verdades in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

“I was super pleased with my horse,” Laura said, and after five years of international Grand Prix with Verdades, or “Diddy,” as she calls him, she decided to try some new things at the start of the season instead of the end.

“I decided to close him up a little at the end,” she said, “but nothing happened. I poke him with my spur, and… well, wish I hadn’t done that.”

Oops! Won’t do that again, Laura Graves said after she gave a little poke of the spur to Verdades at the end of the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Tinne Vilhelmson Silfvén, Sweden’s seven-time Olympian, rode Paridon Magi to a score of 75.087 per cent for second place in their campaign for a trip to the Paris Final.

Shelly Francis of neighboring Loxahatchee and Danil were third on 73.870 per cent. In addition to World Cup Final hopes, she wants to qualify both Danilo and Doktor for the American squad to go to Europe for the summer ahead of the World Games in Tryon.

Debbie McDonald enjoyed double success Thursday–she coaches both Laura and Verdades as well as Adrienne Lyle and Salvino that won the CDI3* Grand Prix.

Laura said she is”totally addicted” to the World Cup–“it’s like taking your horse to the disco.”

But as much as she wants to go to Paris for the Final, she will pass up the World Cup if necessary to make the team for the World Games at home.

Laura and Verdades were the reserve champion to Isabell and Weihegold at the Omaha World Cup a year ago.

U.S. selectors have the option to excuse horses and riders from a European selection tour, and many riders support a bye for Laura and Verdades to give the pair a break after the intense Global winter circuit and prospective World Cup appearance.

Results:

CDI-W Grand Prix
E: Ringmark – SWE H: Lehrmann – GER C: Maknami – RUS M: Asmyr – NOR B: Foy – USA
Rider Ctzn Horse E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. T Pl.
Graves, Laura USA Verdades 79.457 1 79.457 1 81.304 1 79.674 1 78.261 1 79.630 1
Vilhelmson Silfven, Tinne SWE Paridon Magi 74.457 3 77.500 2 74.891 2 72.391 4 76.196 2 75.087 2
Francis, Shelly USA Danilo 74.348 4 74.348 3 73.261 3 73.913 2 73.478 3 73.870 3
Holzer, Ashley USA Havanna 145 74.565 2 72.065 5 69.674 8 70.761 6 72.717 4 71.957 4
Fraser, Brittany CAN All In 71.957 5 73.370 4 69.130 9 72.935 3 68.696 7 71.217 5
Losos De Muniz, Yvonne DOM Foco Loco-W 69.457 7 71.087 6 70.217 6 70.109 7 70.217 6 70.217 6
Trussell, Belinda CAN Tattoo 15 67.826 10 70.543 7 70.000 7 71.087 5 71.522 5 70.196 7
Lane, Megan CAN San D’or 70.652 6 69.130 9 70.326 5 68.913 10 67.065 11 69.217 8
Rizvi, P.J. USA Breaking Dawn 68.043 9 69.348 8 70.435 4 68.913 10 67.935 8 68.935 9
Brooks, Jacqueline CAN D Niro 66.413 15 66.957 12 66.087 14 69.565 8 67.174 9 67.239 10
Pai, Natalie USA Unlimited 68.370 8 66.957 12 65.978 15 67.717 13 65.978 12 67.000 11
Marek, Anna USA Dee Clair 67.609 11 67.935 10 66.739 10 67.935 12 64.457 16 66.935 12
Irving, Jill CAN Arthur 66.957 12 66.739 14 66.630 11 66.739 15 67.174 9 66.848 13
Harrington, Nicole USA Wizard Of Oz 66.957 12 67.717 11 66.522 13 69.022 9 63.804 17 66.804 14
Tzinberg, Ellesse PHI Triviant 2 65.652 17 65.870 15 66.630 11 65.978 16 65.870 13 66.000 15
Chia, Ariana CAN Teo 66.522 14 64.891 16 64.239 16 64.565 21 63.587 19 64.761 16
MacDonald Cuddy, Jacqueline USA Malcarat 65.978 16 63.261 20 63.804 18 64.891 17 64.565 14 64.500 17
Austin, Elisabeth USA Steeped In Luck 64.783 18 63.587 18 63.913 17 64.783 18 63.696 18 64.152 18
Hirosh, Sahar Daniel ISR Don Daiquiri 62.609 21 64.239 17 61.848 20 66.957 14 64.565 14 64.043 19
Williams, Simone CAN Farley 64.348 19 63.478 19 63.804 18 64.783 18 62.826 21 63.848 20
Crawford, Eiren CAN Warello 63.913 20 63.043 21 60.978 21 64.674 20 62.935 20 63.109 21
Poag, Katie USA Zonnekoning Elim.