Laura Graves & Verdades Lead All-American Victory Parade in Wellington CDI4* Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 16, 2016–Laura Graves and Verdades led an all-American victory parade in the CDI4* Grand Prix presented by Havensafe Farm Wednesday with runner-up Allison Brock on Rosevelt posting a personal best and the fourth United States combination to score above 74 per cent in the Grand Prix this Olympic year.
Laura and the 14-year-old KWPN gelding scored 76.280 per cent at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival that she credited to “new riding” with coaching from Debbie McDonald instead of “old training.”
The more intensive training for Laura and Verdades based in Plymouth, a community on the outskirts of Orlando, in preparation for the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is aimed at moving them up from the form that earned the pair fifth place in the 2014 World Games Freestyle and team gold and individual silver at last year’s Pan American Games.
Allison Brock and Rosevelt provided the most emotional moment of the competition of 20 pairs from six nations when the pair posted a personal best score of 74.080 per cent in the Grand Prix.
Allison, based in Wellington during the winter, and the 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion, came out of the arena in tears, happy that the pair produced their best score in three years at Big Tour on both sides of the Atlantic.
Like many riders, she was concerned about the abnormally high temperatures of close to 90F (32C) and the fact the pair had not competed in a month. She felt that Rosevelt was going better than ever at the CDI5* in mid-February but taking more risks was producing more mistakes.
“I decided to stay home and work on our communications,” she said of Rosevelt, owned by Claudine and Fritz Kundrun, owners of the Flim Flam ridden at Olympics and world championships by Sue Blinks in the early 2000s and who are major sponsors of American high performance dressage.
“This was the first time I felt the stuff from the warmup,” she said of her trainer Michael Barisone, “came through in the test.”
The result was the only Grand Prix score above 74.080 per cent by a U.S. combinations this year, the others being Steffen Peters on both Legolas and Rosamunde and Laura Graves on Verdades.
For Kasey-Perry-Glass who moved from California to Wellington for the intensity of top sport the ride on Dublet, the first to go, was “a little bit on the conservative side” but earned the pair 72.660 per cent and their result above 72 per cent in just four Grand Prix starts.
Kasey said she may have kept the 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, ranked fourth on the American Olympic standings, too long in the warmup. But “I had rideability today. He was right there with me. I know I can eventually push for more.”