Laura Graves & Verdades Back on Top With Wellington CDI5* Grand Prix Special Victory
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Feb. 13, 2016–Laura Graves and Verdades, the United States Grand Prix Champions, won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix Special for the second straight victory to put the pair back at the top of their game.
The victory for Laura and Verdades on a score of 74.667 per cent following Thursday’s Grand Prix win was, she said, “a big confidence builder for me as a rider and a trainer.”
Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén, the Swedish rider heading to her seventh Olympics this summer, was runner-up on Benetton Dream on 72.412 per cent.
Canada’s Belinda Trussell on Anton, her Olympic individual qualifying mount, placed third on 71.431 per cent.
Laura of the Orlando community of Plymouth described as a “low point” difficulties that arose last month with her 14-year-old KWPN gelding that she has owned since a foal.
In their second World Cup event of the Global winter circuit in January, the pair did not perform to the level that has made them the 15th ranked combination in the world with successes at the World Games in 2014, the World Cup Final and the Pan American Games last year.
“It’s always hard,” she said “It makes you question things. If it doesn’t kill you it does make you stronger.
“It will happen again. It isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.
“We take it so personally. I learned a lot from it. He totally felt like himself today.”
Verdades will get a small break from competition and a decision made on their schedule for the rest of the season.
Laura had said earlier she wanted to compete at the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden at the end of March and is ranked second behind Steffen Peters among North Americans, but he has made it clear the championship is not on his agenda as he focuses on the Olympics.
Now, Laura has not decided whether to pursue going to the World Cup.
Benetton Dream, the 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion that Tinne began competing at Grand Prix at this same show grounds a year ago, said she had “never had such a good feeling, much more power than before. He was going together with me.”
This was only the pair’s second CDI Grand Prix Special, the first three weeks ago in Wellington.
Tinne plans to compete Don Auriello, her top mount, in another World Cup event in Wellington to seek to qualify for the Final in her homeland.