Laura Graves On 30th Birthday Rides Verdades to Win Aachen Nations Cup Grand Prix Special

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Laura Graves on Verdades pumping her fist after completing the Nations Cup Grand Prix Special at Aachen, Germany. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

AACHEN, Germany, Jul22, 2017–Laura Graves celebrated her 30th birthday rode Verdades to win the World Equestrian Festival Nations Cup Grand Prix Special Saturday, beating German superstar Isabell Werth on her Olympic team gold medal mount Weihegold OLD for the first time.

Laura of Geneva, Florida and her 15-year-old KWPN gelding scored 81.824 per cent for the victory while Isabell and Weihegold, the world’s No. 1 combination, were on 81.059 per cent. The score for Laura and Verdades, ranked fourth in the world, was a personal best in the Special.

In an emotional tribute, the Deutsche Bank stadium that seats 6,500 spectators and hosts dressage at this show grounds sang “Happy Birthday,” to Laura. (Report on Team USA and rendition of Happy Birthday coming up.)

German power in dressage was on display, though, a month before the European Championships with Isabell and Weihegold placing second, and her Rio Olympic team mate Sönke Rothenberger on Cosmo third on 78.314 per cent. Dorothee Schneider who rode Sammy Davis Jr. to sixth place on 75.216 per cent was thrilled with the performance by the horse that she said was “an international nobody” just four months ago.

Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD in the Nations Cup Grand Prix Special. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour on Cassidy, the horse she has competed through the levels from juniors, to young riders, Under-25 and the Olympics last year, were fourth on 78.118 per cent while Judy Reynolds and Vancouver K, Olympians for Ireland as well as in the Omaha World Cup Final, fifth on 75.784 per cent.

Germany, as expected, won the Nations Cup with the United States taking silver and Sweden the bronze.

The rare moment of the Stars & Stripes being raised and American national anthem played in the dressage arena was not lost on the predominantly German crowd that embraced Laura and Verdades as the best of the contest at the world’s premier horse show.

Sönke Rothenberger and Cosmo in the Aachen Nations Cup Grand Prix Special. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Laura and “Diddy,” as she calls the horse she has partnered since a foal bought from a video sent from the Netherlands, were performing the Special for the first time since riding on the U.S. bronze medal team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last August.

Laura Graves riding Verdades in the Aachen Nations Cup Grand Prix Special. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Results:

CDIO5* Nations Cup Grand Prix Special

Judges–E: Isobel Wessels H: Evi Eisenhard C: Anne Gribbons M: Annette Fransén-Iacobaeus B: Hans-Christian Matthiesen

Pl. NR. RIDER

%
HORSE

1 385
Laura Graves
USA
81.824
Verdades

2 387
Isabell Werth
GER
81.059
Weihegold OLD

3 321
Sönke Rothenberger
GER
78.314
Cosmo 59

4 307
Cathrine Dufour
DEN
78.118
Atterupgaards Cassidy

5 384
Judy Reynolds
IRL
75.784
Vancouver K

6 374
Dorothee Schneider
GER
75.216
Sammy Davis Jr.

7 326
Therese Nilshagen
SWE
74.784
Dante Weltino OLD

8 330
Patrik Kittel
SWE
74.157
Delaunay

9 373
Adrienne Lyle
USA
73.608
Salvino

10 301
Claudio Castilla Ruiz
ESP
72.588
Alcaide

11 311
Malin Nilsson
SWE
72.294
Bon-Ami

12 361
Olivia Lagoy-Weltz
USA
72.118
Lonoir

13 353
Kasey Perry-Glass
USA
71.608
Goerklintgaards Dublet

14 329
Severo Jesus Jurado Lopez
ESP
71.569
Deep Impact 3

15 390
Patrick van der Meer
NED
71.314
Zippo

16 360
Emile Faurie
GBR
70.765
Lollipop 126

17 378
Marcela Krinke Susmelj
SUI
70.353
Smeyers Molberg

18 359
Agnete Kirk Thinggaard
DEN
70.255
Jojo AZ

19 358
Hubertus Schmidt
GER
69.451
Imperio 3

20 372
Hayley Watson-Greaves
GBR
69.392
Rubins Nite

21 375
Anders Dahl
DEN
69.353
Selten HW

22 348
Laurence Roos
BEL
69.078
Fil Rouge

23 366
Inessa Merkulova
RUS
68.392
Mister X

24 310
Daniel Bachmann Andersen
DEN
68.275
Blue Hors Don Olymbrio

25 363
Jordi Domingo Coll
ESP
67.922
Mango Statesman

26 381
Jorinde Verwimp
BEL
67.392
Tiamo

27 336
Cristobal Belmonte Roldán
ESP
66.294
Diavolo II de Laubry

28 302
Gillian Davison
GBR
64.863
Alfranco

29 323
Jeannette Haazen
NED
63.392
Dabanos d´O4

30 356
Marieke van der Putten
NED
60.235
Zingaro Apple

Nations Cup Final Standings

RANK TEAM GRAND PRIX GRAND PRIX SPECIAL TOTAL
1 236.457 234.589 471.046
2
USA
222.842 227.550 450.392
3 216.400 221.235 437.635
4 218.457 217.726 436.183
5 214.171 212.079 426.250
6 209.228 205.020 414.248
7 207.914 207.914
8 206.072 206.072