Americas Horses of the Year for 2015

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Laura Graves on Verdades at the Pan American Games where the pair won team gold and individual silver medals as well as helping the U.S. win a start at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next summer. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves on Verdades at the Pan American Games where the pair won team gold and individual silver medals as well as helping the U.S. win a start at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next summer. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The United States achieved its major goal of 2015–capturing tam gold medal at the Pan American Games that also earned the country a berth at next summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but there were many outstanding performances in the Americas in the past year.

Laura Graves on Verdades, the KWPN gelding she has raised and trained from a foal and will be 14 years old in a week at the start of the Olympic year, was on that team and five months later claimed the United States Grand Prix Championship presented by the Dutta Corp.

The pair, based in Plymouth, Florida, won seven of the 12 international starts in 2015–all in North America that included the World Cup Final in Las Vegas as well as the Pan Ams and were No. 15 in the world at year’s end.

Legolas being competed by Steffen Peters at Munich, Germany. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Legolas being competed by Steffen Peters at Munich, Germany. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Steffen Peters of San Diego, California on Legolas was the leading duo on the U.S. team at the Pan Ams and as has been case for most of the past decade with a succession of horses was the highest ranked American rider at No. 8 with the 13-year-old Westfalen gelding.

For the fourth year in a row, Legolas was named the U.S. Dressage Federation Horse of the Year with eight victories in 17 starts on both sides of the Atlantic.

In one of the most difficult moments of the rider’s career, he displayed grace by candidly accepting all responsibility and expressing regret with no excuses at the pair’s elimination from the World Cup. Blood on Legolas’s flank was apparently caused by the thunderous applause that spooked the horse and probably led to spur breaking the skin after a superb Freestyle at the same venue where Steffen won the world championship on Ravel in 2009.

Steffen Peters on Rosamunde. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters on Rosamunde. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The debut year of Rosamunde ridden by Steffen showed the possibilities of a championship career to come–the eight-year-old mare competing in her first CDI Grand Prix in February and by year’s end had logged nine wins in 12 starts in California, Florida and Europe and was ranked No. 23 in the world.

Christina Vinios and Folkestone OLD celebrating victory as the United States Intermediaire Champions for 2015. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Christina Vinios and Folkestone OLD celebrating victory as the United States Intermediaire Champions for 2015. The pair also won the U.S. Developing Prix St. Georges title earlier in August. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Canada's Chris Von Martels on Zilverstar at the Pan American Games Nations Cup competition. Canada won team silver and Chris and Zilverstar individual bronze. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Canada’s Chris Von Martels on Zilverstar at the Pan American Games Nations Cup competition. Canada won team silver and Chris and Zilverstar individual bronze. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Bernadette Pujals on Heslegaards Rolex at the Pan American Games earning an individual start for Mexico at the 2016 Olympic Games. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Bernadette Pujals on Heslegaards Rolex at the Pan American Games earning an individual start for Mexico at the 2016 Olympic Games. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Endel Ots of the United States riding Lucky Strike at the World Young Horse Championships for five-year-olds. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Endel Ots of the United States riding Lucky Strike at the World Young Horse Championships for five-year-olds in Verden, Germany. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Carly Taylor-Smith riding Rosalut to the USA five-year-old championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Carly Taylor-Smith riding Rosalut NHF to the USA five-year-old championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Carly, an English transplant based out of Malibu, California scored 8.38 on the American-bred Oldenburg gelding (Rosenthal x Salut) for the victory. The pair won the four-year-old title in 2014.

Lisa Wilcox on Gallant Reflection HU celebrating USA Six-Year-Old Championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Olympian Lisa Wilcox on Gallant Reflection HU celebrating USA Six-Year-Old Championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Gallant Reflection is an American-bred Zweibrucker stallion by Galant du Serein out of a Rohdiamant mare.

Emily Miles on her home-bred Wakeup that was USA Developing Grand Prix Champion. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Emily Miles on her home-bred Wakeup that was USA Developing Grand Prix Champion. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The USA Under-25 title went to Chase Hickok on Sagacious HF. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The USA Under-25 title went to Chase Hickok on Sagacious HF. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com