Verdades to Retire After Lifetime With Laura Graves as One of Top American Partnerships in History

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Laura Graves on Verdades. The last competition for the pair, the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April 2019. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage

Jan. 8, 2020


Verdades is being retired at the age of 18 after a lifelong partnership with Laura Graves that earned Olympic and world championship medals to become one of the top horses in the history of American dressage. (Photos of the highlights of the career of Verdades and Laura will be posted today).

The retirement of the Dutch Warmblood gelding was announced Wednesday by Laura, the opening day of the winter-long Global Dressage Festival where the combination had been stars as they were on the world stage for the past six years. Global this year is a key in U.S. Olympic team selection for Tokyo in July.

The absence of Verdades and Laura from Olympic team selection leaves their three team mates–Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet, Adrienne Lyle on Salvino and Steffen Peters on Suppenkasper among those vying for the three places on the team.

“It is with both a heavy heart and a grateful mind that today I announce the retirement of my great friend, Diddy. I’ve always promised that I would do my best to listen and make the right choice for him when this time came.

“It became clear in recent weeks that he was not going to be able to return to his usual top form in 2020.”

Verdades and Laura of the Orlando area community of Geneva led the United States to team bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro then to team as well as individual silver medals at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon in 2018. The pair were also reserve champion behind Germany’s Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD at the World Cup Finals in 2017 in Omaha, 2018 in Paris and 2019 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The combination became No. 1 in the world, the first American duo to do so, for two months in 2018.

“While nothing makes me happier than watching him play in the field and take him for hacks, it is still a very new and very sad realization for me that this journey has reached its end,” the 32-year-old rider said.

“This horse not only achieved every goal we ever set, but he fulfilled dreans that I never knew I had. Not always the easiest, it was his generous heart and incredible sense of loyalty that made him one of a kind. Every time I sit in the saddle, I continue to feel honored and humble that he allowed me to be his person.

“We have traveled the world together, many times over and cut our teath at some of the world’s greatest competitions.

“While it will not be the same loading up the trailer without him, I am very much looking forward to the next chapter of my career with a stable full of young horses.

“I would like to express a deep love and appreciation for so many people, wihout whom this horse would never have made his way to the world stage. My family, especially my Mom, who selected Diddy with her keen eye and supported us even when everyone said we were crazy. My soon to be husband, Curt (Maes) who is always my biggest fan and never questions my need to care for our animals.

“Debbie McDonald, who gave us time when no one else would and believed in our ability to be great. Betsy Juliano who has been by my side through the ups and downs of this roller coaster and made so much possible for me. Robert Dover (former U.S. team coach), Hallye Griffin (US federation dressage managing director), US Equestrian for giving us the opportunity to represent the USA, and the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation.

“Lastly, the biggest thank you to Verdades, Diddy, Diddyman, Bugs, my buddy for the joy you have brought to so many.”