Laura Graves Nominated as USA Equestrian and Verdades as Horse of Year–Voting Open

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Laura Graves on Verdades winning the World Equestrian Festival CDIO5* Grand Prix Special at Aachen, Germany. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Dec. 20, 2017–Laura Graves has been nominated for US Equestrian of the Year for 2017 and Verdades as Horse of the Year.

Laura, 30 years old of Geneva, Florida was awarded the William C. Steinkraus Trophy for the third time, honoring an equestrian in the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and jumping.

Verdades is a 15-year-old KWPN gelding (Florett AS x Goya) owned by Laura and Curt Maes.

Laura and Verdades are ranked No. 4 in the world and is the only combinations in the world to have beaten No. 1 Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD since the 2016 Olympics which the American pair did at the World Equestrian Festival CDIO5* Grand Prix Special at Aachen, Germany in July.

Voting is open online for Equestrian of the Year and online for the International Horse of the Year.

Voting is open until Jan 12 at midnight Eastern (9pm Pacific) time.

Equestrian of the Year will be announced Thursday, Jan. 18 at the Pegasus Awards dinner and Horse of the Year on Friday evening, Jan. 19 during the Horse of the Year awards dinner during the US Equestrian annual meeting in Lexington, Kentucky.

Laura, one of eight equestrians nominated, “continued to shine in the dressage ring in 2017, earning numerous impressive results,” US Equestrian said. “With her longtime partner Verdades, Graves racked up three FEI Grand Prix wins and three FEI Grand Prix Freestyle wins at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival to begin the year. The pair then went on to earn the silver medal at the 2017 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Omaha. Graves and Verdades headed to Europe to represent The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team in FEI Nations Cup competitions. At CHIO Rotterdam, they won the FEI Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle and helped the U.S. team earn the gold medal. Graves and Verdades delivered top performances at CHIO Aachen, winning the Grand Prix Special, placing second in the Grand Prix, third in the Grand Prix Freestyle, and aiding the team to a silver medal. Currently ranked number four on the FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking List, Graves peaked as number two in the world in 2017.”

Laura Graves and Verdades at the World Cup Final in Omaha. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The nomination for Horse of the Year described Verdades as “an expressive and beautiful Dutch Warmblood, has stamped his mark on the international dressage ring. In 2017 alone, this 15-year-old gelding garnered a silver medal at the 2017 FEI World Cup Dressage Final in Omaha and went on to represent the U.S. team in FEI Nations Cup competitions in Rotterdam and Aachen, contributing to first- and second-place finishes, respectively. Individually, 2017 saw Verdades earn four first-place finishes and one second-place finish internationally, and he won the Adequan®/United States Dressage Federation Year-End Awards in the Dressage Horse of the Year – Grand Prix, Musical Freestyle – Grand Prix, and Musical Freestyle Challenge – Grand Prix categories. His life-long partnership with owner and trainer, Laura Graves, along with their 2017 success allowed them to reach the world number two position, and finish in the number four position on the FEI World Individual Dressage Ranking List.

“Verdades began his journey to international success in 2014 after garnering attention from his reserve champion finish at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. Since his launch into the spotlight, Verdades’s achievements and continued success are profound. Earning over 25 first-place finishes and nearly 20 second-place finishes in team and individual CDI competitions around the world since the inception of his international career, Verdades continues to claim titles individually and for the U.S. team.”

Other equestrians nominated:

McLain Ward of Brewster, New York, Jumping
Nancy Leigh Fisher of Oconomowoc, Wiscnsin, American Saddlebred
Jenny Karazissis, Calabasas, California, Hunter
Dale Pitcock, Plain Smith, Ohio, Friesian
Josh Quintus, Pilot Point, Texas, Arabian
Andrew Sellman, River Falls, Wisconsin, Arabian
Gareth Selwood, Youngstown, New York, Friesian

The other four horses nominated:
National
Co Fan S (Tietse x Oeke Fan S/Fabe), 2002 Friesian gelding, Little River Friesians, LLC
Cuba (Namelus R x Ups-A-Daisy/Mermus R), 2007 KWPN gelding, John and Stephanie Ingram, LLC
Winding Oaks Tom Foolery (BF Oliver Twist x Sultan’s Harem Doll/Jasmine), 2003 Welsh cross gelding, Kathleen “Katie” Whaley

International
HH Azur (Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sion van de Zuuthoeve/Sir Lui), 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare, Double H Farm and François Mathy