Laura Graves & Verdades Win Aachen Grand Prix Showdown, USA Leads Midway through Nations Cup

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Laura Graves and Verdades receiving a standing ovation after winning the Nations Cup CDIO5* Grand Prix. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

AACHEN, Germany, July 19, 2018–Laura Graves and Verdades won the Grand Prix showdown Thursday as the clear winner and to lead the United States to the top of the standings midway through the CDIO5* Nations Cup and less than two months to the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.

Laura and Verdades, the 16-year-old KWPN gelding she has partnered since a foal, scored 80.606 per cent, the only pair to break the 80 per cent mark, before a crowd of 5,400 in the atmosphere-packed Deutsche Bank Stadium that claimed its share of mistakes with other combinations.

This CHIO, a virtual mini-WEG of dressage, driving, eventing, jumping and vaulting that is the premier international horse show, is also the final selection event for the United States team for the Tryon WEG.

This was the first competition for the American duo since the World Cup Final in Paris in April where they beat Isabell Werth and her world No. 1 mount Weihegold OLD in the Grand Prix and was runner-up in the freestyle.

And it was reminiscent of this same event a year ago when Laura on her 30th birthday and Verdades beat Isabell and Weihegold in the Grand Prix Special to become the pair in the world to better the world’s No. 1 since the 2016 Olympics.

Cathrine Dufour and Cassidy, overcoming their dislike of the Deutsche Bank stadium, to place second in the Nations Cup Grand Prix. © 2018 Ken Braddick/Dressage-news.com

Cathrine Dufour on Cassidy, one of the star combinations of the 2017 European Championships and who triumphed over Isabell and Emilio last winter, placed second on 78.494 per cent–a spook dropped their score but the 26-year-old rider said her horse that usually dislikes this arena felt happier in it than previously.

Helen Langehanenberg, in her first competition in five months and just 29 days after giving birth to her daughter, rode the American-owned Damsey FRH to third place on 77.034 per cent from the seven-member championship level ground jury.

Helen Langehanenberg on Damsey FRH in the Aachen Nations Cup Grand Prix. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The shock of the competition was the performance of Isabell Werth on an Emilio that broke several times in piaffes and at other points that produced a result of 72.517 per cent for 17th place. Isabell explained later she was completely mystified by the horse’s performance.

The long-awaited head-to-head showdown at this World Equestrian Festival was:

1. Laura Graves and Verdades, ranked No. 2 in the world

2. Cathrine Dufour and Cassidy ranked No. 4 in the world

17. Isabell Werth and Emilio ranked No. 3 in the world.

Four major mistakes similar to this shown here marked the ride by Isabell Werth on Emilio, uncharacteristic for the world’s No. 3 combination, and more so at her home competition in the CDIO5 Nations Cup Grand Prix at Aachen. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The terrific trio of Laura and Verdades, Olympic team bronze medal team mate Kasey Perry Glass on Dublet and 2012 Olympic rider Adrienne Lyle on Salvino produced the results that gave America the lead over Germany in the Nations Cup. The Grand Prix Special to come Saturday will decide the team competition.

All three are coached by Debbie McDonald who will become the U.S. team coach when Robert Dover retires after the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina in Septemeber.

Laura Graves came to Aachen to ride Verdades to victory and did that in the Nations Cup Grand Prix. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The standings after Grand Prix–1. USA 231.988; 2. Germany 229.798; 3. Denmark 223.106; 4. Netherlands 221.087; 5. Spain 218.090, and 6. Sweden 217.532. Every day is a new day, balancing family and horses. you never know what will happen.

Laura said she was “really exceptionally pleased” with the performance of Verdades, or “Diddy” as she calls the horse that is “really, really tricky, sensitive.”

“When the horse gets to this point,” she explained, “they know the job, all the tricks. It’s training, about half points, the small details.”

Her job with Verdades, she said, was to take away the pressure he puts on himself.

“If anything he tries too hard. He’s really trusting me when I say that’s enough.”

Helen Langehanenberg, on Germany’s 2012 Olympic team and 2014 World Equestrian Games with Damon Hill, said it was her dream to show Damsey in the Nations Cup here but when she was told that would happen, “I stopped breathing for a few minutes.”

She laughed that she now has adopted special tactics with the result Thursday after a long absence–to ride less, and why train so much.

More photos will be added shortly to this report.

Separate reports on team USA and Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey will be posted shortly.

Results:

CDIO5* Grand Prix

Judges-K: Annette Fransén-Iacobaeus-SWE E: Katrina Wuest-GER H: Andrew Ralph Gardner-GBR C: Anne Gribbons-USA M: Susan Hoevenaars-AUS  B: Hans-Christian Matthiesen-DEN F: Mariette Sanders-van Gansewinkel-NED

Rank Nr. Rider

Total
Horse

1 388
Laura Graves
USA
7800 80.606
Verdades

2 305
Cathrine Dufour
DEN
5500 78.494
Atterupgaards Cassidy

3 323
Helen Langehanenberg
GER
3600 77.034
Damsey FRH

4 385
Jessica von Bredow-Werndl
GER
2200 76.848
TSF Dalera BB

5 352
Kasey Perry-Glass
USA
1400 76.801
Goerklintgaards Dublet

6 371
Dorothee Schneider
GER
500 75.916
Sammy Davis Jr.

7 326
Therese Nilshagen
SWE
500 75.373
Dante Weltino OLD

8 302
Emmelie Scholtens
NED
500 74.627
Apache

9 370
Adrienne Lyle
USA
500 74.581
Salvino

10 313
Daniel Bachmann Andersen
DEN
500 74.177
Blue Hors Zack

11 329
Severo Jurado Lopez
ESP
500 74.161
Deep Impact 3

12 316
Madeleine Witte-Vrees
NED
500 73.618
Cennin

13 330
Emile Faurie
GBR
73.121
Delatio

14 332
Beatriz Ferrer-Salat
ESP
73.059
Delgado

15 393
Hans Peter Minderhoud
NED
72.842
Zanardi

16 368
Lara Butler
GBR
72.640
Rubin al Asad

17 341
Isabell Werth
GER
72.516
Emilio 107

18 394
Rose Mathisen
SWE
72.407
Zuidenwind 1187

19 366
Steffen Peters
USA
71.351
Rosamunde

20 359
Anne Meulendijks
NED
71.304
MDH Avanti N.O.P.

21 301
Claudio Castilla Ruiz
ESP
70.870
Alcaide

22 365
Anna-Mengia Aerne
SUI
70.839
Raffaelo v. Bene

23 303
Anna Zibrandtsen
DEN
70.435
Arlando

24 374
Anders Dahl
DEN
70.093
Selten HW

25 362
Jeanna Hogberg
SWE
69.752
Duendecillo P

26 379
Belinda Weinbauer
AUT
68.649
Söhnlein Brilliant MJ

27 387
Judy Reynolds
IRL
67.686
Vancouver K

28 311
José Antonio Garcia Mena
ESP
66.413
Benzi Landro

29 308
Kazuki Sado
JPN
65.932
Barolo

30 395
Riccardo Sanavio
ITA
65.730
Glock´s Federleicht

31 351
Alexandra Zurbrügg
SUI
63.245
Get Time

32 372
Daniel Pinto
POR
ELM
Santurion de Massa