Laura Graves Rides SenSation HW to USA Intermediate 1 Championship, Moving up to Big Tour Ahead of Paris 2024 Olympics

1 year ago StraightArrow Comments Off on Laura Graves Rides SenSation HW to USA Intermediate 1 Championship, Moving up to Big Tour Ahead of Paris 2024 Olympics
Laura Graves on SenSation HW celebrating USA Intermediate 1 championship. © 2022


WAYNE, Illinois, Aug. 25, 2022–The United States Intermediate 1 championship was won by Laura Graves on SenSation HW Thursday and the pair will now prepare to move up to Grand Prix ahead of the Olympics in Paris in 2024.

The championship victory that Laura described as “just the beginning” came on the same week eight years ago that Laura and Verdades placed fifth overall at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in the rider’s first international championship that set the pair on the path to become the only American partnership to reach No. 1 in the world.

Three women were on the championship podium with Emily Miles and Rebecca Rigdon joining Laura.

Laura who had ridden SenSation to winning scores of 75.117% in the Prix St. Georges and 74.793% in the Int. 1 placed second in the Freestyle on 76.005% to give the pair a championship result of 75.104%.

Emily Miles of La Cygne, Kansas and Daily Show, an eight-year-old  Hanoverian stallion, captured the Freestyle with 77.300%. The final result of 73.301 for three classes was 1.799 behind Laura and the nine-year-old Westfalen gelding. Emily competed Daily Show in the World Young Horse Championships three years ago.

Rebecca Ridgdon of Encinitas, California and Iquem, a nine-year-old KWPN mare, held on to third place in the championship despite a musical performance that earned a score of 69.710% for eighth place.

This was the first Intermediate 1 national championship for Laura of the Orlando area rural community of Geneva. She and Verdades rode at the same level in 2012 but did not place.

Steffen Peters on Legolas and Laura Graves on Verdades at the 2014 Festival of Champions that earned both pairs a place on the team for the World Equestrian Games. File photo. © Ken Braddick/

Still as a virtual unknown in 2014 she squeezed in to the national championships and was reserve champion to Steffen Peters on Legolas to earn a place on the team at Normandy where the duo became the highest placed for the U.S. She and Verdades won the Grand Prix title on Verdades in 2015.

Laura took over the ride on SenSation in May 2020 after Michael Bragdell of Colora, Maryland, competed the horse in the national young horse championships to win the five and six-year-old divisions.

Laura has competed Sensation for owners Scott and Carol McPhee in one CDI competition, at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, as well as national shows.

This was only the second time she rode the freestyle on Sensation, “I’m super proud of the test we put in.”

“We’re moving forward and I’m excited about it.”

The only international championship for the United States up to the end of next year is the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile that is an Olympic qualifier.  The U.S., however, qualified at the world championships earlier this month for the 2024 Paris Games and prospects for the Olympics are likely to be in Europe at the same time as the Pan Ams.

Laura said she put the freestyle together at the last minute–“because that’s how I like to roll”–with Terry Gallo who lives near her in Florida. The idea also was to make parts of it for moving forward to Big Tour.

Developing SensSation, she said, “was super exciting for me. To take over someone else’s ride is never easy and there’s also a lot of pressure as the horse has been very successful with another rider and people have high expectations of me. It’s a lot to put yourself out there. Any time you do what you do. But I was feeling especially a lot of pressure with this horse.”


Intermediate 1 Freestyle (for Championship)

Judges: Kari McClain Sandra Hotz William Warren Sarah Geikie Michael Osinski
Place Score Nation Athlete Horse E H C M B
1. 77.300 USA Emily Miles Daily Show 80.375 77.199 75.000 75.800 78.125
2. 76.005 USA Laura Graves SenSation HW 75.375 76.900 76.375 76.375 75.000
3. 73.410 USA Ali Potasky Inxs 74.100 71.700 72.750 75.250 73.250
4. 72.165 USA Ali Potasky Irintha 72.375 74.550 71.625 69.625 72.650
5. 71.435 USA Kim Yacobucci Ichiban 72.600 70.625 71.750 72.375 69.825
6. 70.489 USA Teri Patton-Rich Belissa SVS 71.474 70.575 70.325 70.375 69.700
7. 70.340 USA Nick Wagman Heatcliff 72.675 67.000 70.750 69.000 72.275
8. 69.710 USA Rebecca Rigdon Iquem 70.450 69.675 68.500 72.000 67.925
9. 69.255 USA Lauren Knopp Amadeus de Massa 71.000 68.325 68.750 68.125 70.075
10. 69.019 USA Laura DeCesari Flower-Power 69.574 69.150 66.875 72.000 67.500
11. 68.715 USA Sarah Gammie Flash 70.025 68.625 69.750 66.000 69.175
12. 68.565 USA Chloe Fullar Farley 4 69.300 67.400 69.875 67.375 68.875
13. 68.469 USA Siobhan Byrne Hans 68.074 67.825 67.750 69.000 69.700
14. 66.210 USA Kathleen Raine Figaro 68.125 63.650 67.550 65.925 65.800