Laura Graves and Verdades Sweep Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W In AGDF3

© Annan Hepner: Laura Graves and Verdades
Laura Graves and Verdades

Wellington, Fla. – January 27, 2017 – On a brisk evening surrounded by a stadium full of fans, United States team bronze medalist Laura Graves and her own 15-year-old KWPN gelding Verdades took the Grand Prix Freestyle win in week three of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival with an 80.728 percent. Graves’ performance on Friday was only the sixth ride to ever score higher than an 80 percent at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) venue, and it is Graves’ third score at the facility that breached the 80 percent threshold.

“It certainly feels good to start the season on an 80 percent,” Graves said.”That’s been the goal by the end of a lot of our seasons, so it feels great. It’s just good to be back here at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. It’s an amazing crowd that comes out on Friday nights. I’ve ridden in a lot of stadiums now, and there’s honestly nothing that compares to this.”

Graves expressed how pleased she was with Verdades tonight, especially in the beginning of the freestyle. “I was super excited how my entire ride started,” she explained. “I like when they start well because you can never really count on anything for sure, so if you start with some high marks it hopefully gives the judges a good impression.”

During the canter tour, the pair experienced uncharacteristic problems in their flying change choreography, which typically features a 20 meter half circle with two-tempis and then she directly rides the one-tempi flying changes on a short diagonal.

© Annan Hepner: Laura Graves and VerdadesLaura Graves and Verdades

“Unfortunately we had some mistakes — I went to go for the changes and thought, ‘Well we’re not changing at all!’” Graves laughed. “If there’s anything I’ve learned in this sport is what my coach Debbie [McDonald] says ‘You always have to be prepared to be surprised’ and for sure that’s what horses give us.”

“This horse has a heart of gold and he loves to come out here; that is nothing I can really take credit for,” Graves concluded. “He’s just a magical character.”

Swedish rider Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven made the long trip to earn second place with Paridon Magi, a 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, with a 77.517 percent. The duo has been competing consistently at the CDI Grand Prix level since the fall of 2015 and has earned many top placings around the world.

“I was super pleased with Magi today — he was super tonight, ” she said. “The music I just love to ride to. Magi is a brilliant horse to ride in the freestyle because he’s so on and so with me the whole time, so it’s a lot of fun to ride a freestyle with him.”

© Annan Hepner: Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon MagiTinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi

Tuny Page completed the top three of the freestyle with her 14-year-old KWPN gelding, Woodstock, scoring a 74.020 percent. The pair had a successful season in 2016, earning a spot on the short list for the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team. After returning from her training and competitions in Europe during the summer, Page put creating a new freestyle high on her list of priorities.

“I’m very proud of Woodstock as it’s his first time out under the lights,” Page said. “He’s a very sensitive horse. We’ve upped the ante a little bit as far a degree of difficulty and he handled a lot of that well. I anticipate that it will continue to improve and I couldn’t be prouder of him honestly.”

© Annan Hepner: Tuny Page and WoodstockTuny Page and Woodstock

The Grand Prix Special will take place on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 2:40 p.m.

Results: Adequan Global Dressage Festival Week 3

CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle

Rider/Country/Horse/Total Score
1. Laura Graves/USA/Verdades/80.728
2. Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven/SWE/Paridon Magi/77.517
3. Tuny Page/USA/Woodstock/74.020
4. Brittany Fraser Beaulieu/CAN/All In/73.63
5. Juan Matute Jr./ESP/Don Diego Ymas/73.607
6. Jan Ebeling/USA/FRH Rassolini/72.031
7. Charlotte Jorst/USA/Kastel’s Akeem Foldager/71.677
8. Jacqueline Brooks/CAN/D Niro/70.702

© Annan Hepner: Laura Graves and Verdades
Laura Graves and Verdades

© Annan Hepner: Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi
Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Paridon Magi

© Annan Hepner: Tuny Page and Woodstock
Tuny Page and Woodstock

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed