Laura Graves Most Proud of Top Ride for Team USA, Kasey Perry-Glass Sheds Tears of Joy, Adrienne Lyle Excited for More to Come
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
AACHEN, Germany, July 19, 2018–America’s Laura Graves on Verdades, her Olympic bronze medal team mate Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet and 2012 Olympian Adrienne Lyle on the developing Salvino on Thursday produced what was thought to be almost impossible–taking the midway lead in the premier Nations Cup at the world’s top horse show that gets as close to a global championship without the title.
Laura on”Diddy” that she has grown with since the horse was a foal 16 years ago to become No. 2 in the world claimed the win with the only score breaking 80 per cent. Kasey’s result on Dublet was their second highest at Grand Prix but she the ride the best ever. Salvino is still being developed by Adrienne Lyle but the pair’s performance was vital to giving the Unitd States the lead over Germany.
For a day at least, the terrific American combinations that have melded into a trio of close friends all coached by Debbie McDonald, the pint-sized history-making competitor on Brentina and to become coach of the United States team in a couple of months, were on top of the world.
There was no bragging, all quick to point out that the Nations Cup is to be decided by the Grand Prix Special Saturday and the shocking result for a mysteriously mistake-larded ride by the world’s third ranked combination of Isabell Werth on Emilio on the German’s home turf could be reversed as has happened many times.
The results that gave the U.S. a slight lead over Germany with Denmark standing third in the Nations Cup in which the three best scores from teams of four count.
Laura, of Geneva, Florida who celebrates her 31st birthday this Sunday when the Freestyle is staged, has become the most successful competitor to Isabell since the 2016 Olympics. She and the 16-year-old KWPN gelding she owns with her partner Curt Maes beat Isabell on her world No. 1 horse Weihegold OLD in the Grand Prix Special at this same show a year ago and in the Grand Prix at the World Cup Final in Paris in April.
Now she’s beaten Isabell on Emilio as well.
“I know it’s possible to beat Isabell but here in Germany she doesn’t make it easily possible,” said Laura after the ride that was awarded 80.606 per cent and placed first by six of the seven judges on the championship-level panel. “I knew we would hsve to put in a top ride and, like I always say, this horse doesn’t let me down.
“I feel most proud for delivering for my team. This is really special. Saturday’s a whole new day. We’ll try to do our very best. But it feels great to lead such a strong team.
“The thng you can always count is that this horse will go when I ask him to. He loves to work. The most special thing about him is his character.
“It’s not like I don’t always try to do well. You learn things every time and the horses deveop and allow you to try things that maybe last year we couldn’t try. He lets me try new things. He’s growing up.
“He’s a very special horse so you have to treat him that way.”
Laura wans’t but could have been speaking for her team mates when she said there’s nothing better than the crowd in Aachen, where 5,400 spactators turned out to watch the Grand Prix.
“You make a mistake and the crowd holds its breath,” she explained. “You have to laugh because it’s like, ‘Yes I know.’ It make you feel like they’re really rooting for you.”
For Kasey Perry-Glass who moved from California to Wellington, Florida to be coached by Debbie McDonald, was emotional talking to dressage-news.com about her ride.
“I’ve been waiting a long time for us to come into the spot where we can show off what we have,” said the 29-year-old rider. “He’s just getting better and better.”
She knew from first thing Thursday it was going to be a good day–Dublet, a Danish Warmblood gelding, felt really good in his body.
“He was ready to go. He told me, ‘Mom, I am ready. I have my dancing shoes on’.
“Once I entered the arena I felt him take a breath of fresh air, like ‘OK, I’m ready’.”
Kasey had taken a much-needed break from competition after this same show a year ago until the tail end of the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington in March.
“When I picked him up from having his break he came back feeling better than ever,” she said. “He knows his stuff and now it’s just a matter of riding each corner and being confident in what we have.
“Deb’s (Debbie McDonald) been so diligent in being nit picky with us and raising the bar and it’s paying off.
“This was a ride where I felt every corner, every movement. He got really hot in the beginning and I was able to bring him back and chill him out before we got in and that shows we’re trusting each other.
“The best I’ve ever felt in the arena. It’s that feeling of knowing him. I really know him inside and out.
“I think he’s peaking at just the right time. He’s 15 now and this is his prime time.”
The response by the crowd to their ride was loud. Her father was in the crowd and asked later whether Kasey heard him shout her name?
“No, dad,” she told him. “The crowd was too loud.
“This place has always been so welcoming. They always give you such a positive experience, they really are rooting for you. That’s what makes this show so special. You just feel so lucky to be here. To get 76 at Aachen, that’s a hell of a 76.”
Adrienne, 33 years old of Ketchum, Idaho and who has worked with Debbie McDonald for more than a decade, said after the ride that was awarded 74.581 per cent with an expensive mistake in the one-tempi changes: “I’m really happy that I could get the score for our team.
“I still feel like we’re getting places in the warm up and schooling that we’re not able to hold the same balance in the ring. I’m really excited about the progress we’re making every day and I think there are points to be made up, a lot. I think everything has another point in there which is exciting.
“He’s proving to be realiable and a solid competitor, which is really important for a team horse.
“I’m very happy where we are but I’m very excited because I think there’s a lot of improvement and a lot left that he can still pull out of the hat. That for me is the exciting part.”
Salvino was described by Adrienne as a “real gentleman” despite being a stallion, that loves people and wants to do his best.