Laura Graves Nominated for USA 2018 Equestrian of Honor, Verdades is Nominee for Horse of Honor–Voting Now Open

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Laura Graves and Verdades at Tryon World Equestrian Games. © 2018 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Dec. 19, 2018

Laura Graves has been nominated by US Equestrian for 2018 Equestrian of Honor and Verdades for 2018 Horse of Honor with voting now open through Thursday, Jan.3 for the Olympic and World Equestrian Games medal partnership.

Laura made history with Verdades for American dressage in 2018 leading The Dutta Corp. United States team to silver and the first American duo to claim world championship individual silver which they did at the WEG in Tryon, North Carolina.

The pair then became the first American to become No. 1 dressage combination in the world.

Voting is open at https://www.usef.org/awards

Laura, 31 years old who is based in the Orlando area community of Geneva, Florida, and Verdades, a KWPN gelding, who turns 17 years on Jan. 1, have been partners since her family bought “Diddy,” as he is known, from a video of a foal in Holland. (The third part of a series on Laura Graves will be posted on dressage-news.com Thursday)

After training and competing nationally throughout New England from her family’s home in Vermont, she moved to Florida to pursue her goal of taking Verdades to international top sport.

Since her first CDI at small tour in Florida in 2012, Laura and Verdades, that she now owns with her personal and business partner, Curt Maes, moved up to Grand Prix in 2014 and created a sensation when the pair were reserve national Grand Prix champions and were selected for the World Games team in Normandy that year.

Team gold and individual silver at the 2015 Pan American Games, team bronze at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, reserve champion in both the 2017 and 2018 World Cup Finals, and at the time the only duo to beat then world No. 1, German superstar Isabell Werth on Weihegold, then world No. 1, since the 2016 Olympics, which she did twice.

Achievements for the pair in 2018 at the World Games then to become No. 1 for two months were unprecedented in Americna dressage.

Other nominees for Equestrian of Honor are:
–McLain Ward, the 2017 USEF Equestrian of the Year, who on Clinta anchored the U.S. jumping team that won gold at the Tryon WEG and successes on both sides of the Atlantic;o
–Chester Weber, whose four-in-hand horses were on the U.S. driving team that their first-ever WEG gold medal and added a second consecutive individual medal;
–Victoria Colvin, a successful jumper rider;
–Victoria Gillenwater, a breeder and trainer of Friesian, American Saddlebred and Hackney horses;
–Bruce Griffin III, an International Friesian Show Horse Association world champion;
–Wendy Potts, trainer of Arabian and Half-Arabian horses;
–Jody Strand, owner, trainer and manager of Arabian stables;

The other 2018 Horses of Honor nominees:
INTERNATIONAL
–Eddie Blue, 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding ridden and trained as a jumper by Devin Ryan that was on the U.S. gold medal team at the Tryon WEG, placed second in the World Cup Final and logged other successes throughout the year in the U.S. and Europe;
–Ms Dreamy, American Quarter Horse that Dan Huss to help the U.S. achieve its fifth consecutive WEG team gold and took silver individually;

NATIONAL
–Cobra, a Mustang born wild in the mountains of Nevada in 2004 was rounded up at age six but deemed unadoptable. However, Marsha Hartford-Sapp became his owner and trainer to win championships at national levels in both classical and Western dressage’;
–Karsten, a Friesen born in Holland that became world champion Friesian Baroque Senior Stallion and Amateur World Champion Friesian Pleasure Walk Trot Masters titles as well as other titles;
–Private Practice, a 2010 Holsteiner gelding that swept the $50,000 U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s International Hunter Derby at Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida and several other titles throughout rgw year.

The Equestrian of the Year award will be presented at the US Equestrian annual meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida Jan. 10 and the 2018 Horse of Honor on Jan. 12.