Laura Graves Awarded $25,000 Carol Lavell Prize

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Laura Graves riiding Verdades to victory in the U.S. Grand Prix Championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/
Laura Graves riiding Verdades to victory in the U.S. Grand Prix Championship. © 2015 Ken Braddick/

Jan. 26, 2016

Laura Graves, the United States Grand Prix Champion on Verdades, has been awarded the 2016 Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize of $25,000.

In announcing the award Tuesday, The Dressage Foundation said that Laura of Plymouth, Florida was selected because “she displays the characteristics and qualities of being a talented, committed, qualified rider whose plans are to reach and excel at the elite, international standards of high performance dressage.”

Laura’s 2016 goals with Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding, include qualifying for the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden at the end of March and to be selected to represent the U.S. at the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

She plans to train intensively with Debbie McDonald in Wellington, Florida for the month of March. After the World Cup, she intends to join the American team in Europe and compete at European CDIO5* Nations Cups in Rotterdam. Netherlands and Aachen, Germany.

“I am beyond honored to be the recipient of this grant from The Dressage Foundation,” Laura said. “I thank the Foundation, the selection committee and of course Carol Lavell for their trust and support.

“This grant will allow me the freedom to focus on everything Diddy needs as we move into our first Olympic year. Having constant and consistent focus on our training both here in the U.S. and when we travel overseas will make a difference. It can be tenths of a percentage that decide medals and I don’t plan on letting any points slip away. Thank you!”

Laura and Verdades were on the United States World Games team in 2014 and was the highest placed American in the Grand Prix Freestyle, fifth. In 2015 she competed in Las Vegas in her first World Cup Final then was on the American squad that won team gold at the Pan American Games and a ticket to start at the Rio Olympics and won individual silver.

The pair ended the year as the U.S. Grand Prix Champion for the first time.

The Carol Lavell Advanced Dressage Prize Fund was established in 2009 in special remembrance of Carol’s mother, May Cadwgan, and in honor of her father, Gordon Cadwgan. Since that time, the Prize Fund has made 10 awards totaling $250,000 in support of U.S. High Performance teams.