Laura Graves & Verdades Mark Another American Record Entering 2019 as World No. 2 After Historic Year
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Jan. 1, 2019
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
American Laura Graves and Verdades began 2019 a year after making history on the world stage with her World Equestrian Games silver medal team mates Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet and Adrienne Lyle on Salvino ranking highest in their careers.
Laura, 31 years old on the horse she brought up in rural Vermont to become the first American partnership to rank No. 1 in the world, ended 2018 second in the world to German superstar Isabell Werth on Weihegold OLD.
Laura, whose birthday is one day but 18 years separated from Isabell, and the horse she calls “Diddy” established the best world championship results for any American, team and individual silver medals at the Tryon World Equestrian Games to add to the 2016 Olympic team bronze in Rio de Janeiro and team gold and individual silver at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Based in the Orlando area community of Geneva, Florida, Laura and Verdades also hold all three American Grand Prix record scores–89.083 per cent for the Freestyle set at the World Cup Final in Paris in 2018, 81.824 per cent in the Special posted in Aachen, Germany in 2017 and 81.537 per cent in the Grand Prix at the Tryon WEG. The duo are also only one of two American combinations–Steffen Peters on Ravel is the other–to gain entry to the exclusive Grand Prix 80 per cent club.
With their No. 2 ranking for December 2018, Laura and Verdades have made the top two in the world for a total of eight months, equal to the eight occasions that her personal trainer and newly appointed U.S. team coach Debbie McDonald achieved 2003-2005, though the rankings at the time were for riders only and not combinations. The current format was implemented in 2006. Brentina was the Hanoverian mare that Debbie rode in two Olympics, team bronze in Athens in 2004; two World Games, team silver in 2002 and team bronze in 2006, and the first and in 2003 the first American to capture the World Cup title, match only once since by Steffen Peters on Ravel in 2009.
Laura has twice been World Cup reserve champion to Isabell and Weihegold and is aiming for the Final in Gothenberg, Sweden next April where the German superstar will again defend her title.
Kasey Perry-Glass and Dublet start 2019 at No. 11 in the world following the pair’s performance at the Tryon WEG, up two places from the October ranking.
The 2018 results for the 31-year-old Kasey came after an intensive competition year following their 2016 Olympic team bronze medal and then an eight-month break before rejoining her team mates Laura and Adrienne to work with Debbie McDonald to focus on the world championships at home.
The latest ranking of 11th in the world for Kasey and the 16-year-old Danish Warmdblood gelding is up two places from their previous high of 13th the previous two months.
For Adrienne Lyle, one of the Debbie McDonald triumvirate, this is her second experience at top sport having competed Wizard at the 2012 Olympics in London and the 2014 World Games in Normandy.
Adrienne, who has worked with and been mentored by Debbie McDoanld for the past decade and a half, ranked as high as 26th on Wizard in mid-2014.
She was without a Big Tour horse for three years while developing Salvino, now owned by Elizabeth “Betsy” Juliano, who also owns Horizon ridden by Adrienne as well as supporting Laura Graves and American dressage programs.
Adrienne began competing Salvino, a Hanoverian stallion, at international Grand Prix in March 2017 and in 2018 posted results at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Forida and in Europe that earned the pair a place on the Tryon WEG team to win silver.
The pair are ranked 16th in the world, the highest standing so far.
Adrienne, currently based in Wellington, is pointing Salvino, now 12 years old, to the World Cup Final in April.
Steffen Peters, America’s most accomplished competitor for the past two decades and on the 2018 World Games team, is ranked 32nd on Rosamunde and 37th on Suppenkasper that he rode at Tryon.
Other Americans in the top 50 in the world are Shelly Francis on Danilo at 36th, Sabine Schut-Kery on Sanceo at No. 38 and Olivia LaGoy-Weltz on Lonoir 41st.