USA World Games Team–Steffen Peters, Laura Graves, Tina Konyot, Adrienne Lyle

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America's Laura Graves and Verdades competing in Europe. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
America’s Laura Graves and Verdades competing in Europe to be on their first world championship team. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

The American team for the World Equestrian Games is Steffen Peters on Legolas, Laura Graves on Verdades, Tina Konyot on Calecto V and Adrienne Lyle on Wizard as announced Thursday by the United States Equestrian Federation.

The team was determined primarily by scores in the Grand Prix at the U.S. Championshps in Gladstone, New Jersey in June, the Fritzens, Austria CDI4* and the Aachen, Germany CDIO5*/CDI4* in July.

Steffen Peters on Legolas and Laura Graves on Verdades were automatically placed on the team based on their top two placings at the U.S. championships. However, Adrienne Lyle and Wizard, showing increasingly impressive performances in Europe, were placed on the team instead of Caroline Roffman and Her Highness O whose results were erratic.

The complete team:

–Steffen Peters, 49, of San Diego, California, and Legolas, 12-year-old Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Florestan II), owned by Akiko Yamazaki’s and Jerry Yang’s Four Winds Farm;

–Laura Graves, 27, of Geneva, Florida, on her own Verdades, 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Goya);

–Tina Konyot, 52, of Palm City, Florida, on her own Calecto V, 16-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion (Come Back II x Rastell), and

–Adrienne Lyle, 29, of Ketchum, Idaho, and Wizard, 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Weltmeyer x Classiker) owned by Peggy Thomas.

Reserves are:

–Shelly Francis of Loxahatchee, Florida and Doktor, 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Patricia Stempel.

–Lisa Wilcox also of Loxahatchee and Denzello, 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Betty Wells.

Steffen Peters and Legolas competing in Europe. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters and Legolas competing in Europe. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

For the German-born Steffen, this will be his third World Games–having won team bronze at Aachen in 2006 and two individual bronze medals at Lexington in 2010 to go along with his three Olympic appearances and three World Cup Finals, including the title in 2009.

Laura Graves on her own Verdades, on the other hand, is on her first American team, performing in her first competitions in Europe.

On a horse her mother bought as a youngster from a sales video, Laura began Grand Prix less than six months ago. On a shoe-string budget, she campaigned in Florida and Kentucky hoping to get into the national championships and she made it to the final 15 when some combinations ahead of her dropped out.

A virtual unknown, she ended up as reserve American champion behind Steffen and Legolas that guaranteed her a place on the World Games team.

Since competing in Europe, she has won widespread admiration for poise, talent and determination.

Tina Konyot and Calecto V is the most experienced combination on the team, having competed at the 2010 Games in Kentucky where the United States placed fourth and assured itself a team berth at the Olympics two years later. Then, she won a place on the American team at the London Games.

Tina Konyot and Calecto V in the Aachen Nations Cup Grand Prix. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tina Konyot and Calecto V in the Aachen Nations Cup Grand Prix. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Adrienne Lyle and Wizard competed as individuals for the United States at the London Olympics.

The pair’s performances have been building over the past several weeks in Europe with strong showings at Aachen and last weekend at the Verden, Germany CDI3* with scores that make the combination a strong third behind Steffen and Legolas and Laura and Verdades.

Adrienne Lyle on Wizard at Aachen. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Adrienne Lyle on Wizard at Aachen. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Left off the team was Caroline Roffman of Wellington, Florida and Her Higness O.

The U.S. federation said “it was felt that with just six months of competing at the Grand Prix level it was too soon to ask the talented combination of Caroline Roffman and her 11-year-old Hanoverian mare, Her Highness O, to contend with the World Championship atmosphere of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.”