Graves and Verdades Remain on Top and Over 80% in Kur at 2017 CDI-W Wellington

Sat, 02/25/2017 - 10:32
2017 CDI-W Wellington

Laura Graves was victorious in their third “Friday Night Stars” of the season in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W on Friday, February 24, during the seventh week of competition at the 2017 Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, FL. Graves and her 15-year old KWPN bred Verdades (by Florett AS x Goya) took charge in the arena this week, coming out on the top of the leaderboard yet again, with a winning score of 81.903%.

“Tonight he was hot, maybe hotter than he’s been the past two shows, so that was a bit challenging, and we have yet to ride a completely clean freestyle this year,” said Graves. “That’s definitely a focus going into March, but this horse does a fantastic job even when he’s hot and maybe a little spooky. He never lets me down, and he gets really excited when he’s about to go in. He knows when it’s his turn, and I love that about him.”

This is Graves’ and Verdades’ fifth score in a row of 80% or higher in Big Tour competition.

Placing second and third to Graves in the Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W were her fellow 2016 Olympic teammates and bronze medalists, Kasey Perry-Glass and Steffen Peters, who are all battling it out for an entry ticket to the 2017 World Cup Finals in Omaha, NE, on 29 March - 1 April 2017.

Graves commented on her relationship with her teammates, “It’s so fun to have everyone back together and [to see] friendly faces. We are all so competitive; we’re all out there riding for two spots for the FEI World Cup (Finals). It doesn’t affect our relationships outside of that. It’s amazing to have friends that can compete against each other and want the best for each other. I just wish Steffen didn’t live in California.”

Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet, a 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding (Diamond Hit x Ferro) owned by Diane Perry, were second with a 79.541%.

Perry-Glass commented on her ride with Dublet, “I was expecting a little bit of a nervous horse today. Debbie McDonald and I have been working tirelessly on his relaxation, and he proved it tonight. All of our hard work and dedication [is] to that, to his happiness in the ring. He showed me tonight that he has more in him and that he loves his job. I really liked our piaffe passage tour. Everything about the test was fun for me.”

Peters rode Rosamunde, a 2007 Rhinelander mare (by Rock Forever x Fidermark) owned by Four Winds Farm, to third place, scoring 78.732%.

“Of course she still had more energy than I was hoping for, but it was controllable,” said Peters. “The flying changes were better this time. (There was) a bit of an exuberant transition to the canter in the beginning, but what a good girl. She tried extremely hard.”

Commenting on the possibility of a competition spot for the 2017 World Cup Finals in Omaha, NE, Peters continued, “We will see what happens from here. The bottom line is, those are two extremely exciting World Cup candidates. If we happen to get a wild card, in that case, ‘Rosie’ and I will be ready.”

Judge at C, Isabel Wessels (GBR), spoke in regard to the rides she witnessed throughout the night.

“It was a really exciting competition to judge,” said Wessels. “I have to say, it was the first time I’ve done this new system, so it was nerve-wracking. I was blown away by the energy and scope of these three riders. They’re obviously good riders, but they have amazing horses. It’s just so lovely to sit there and think, ‘Oh should I give it a 9 or maybe a 10.’ It’s that type of judging where you can really find the high marks.”

Earlier in the day, Steffen Peters (USA) and Bailarino, a 2008 Oldenburg gelding (Breitling x De Niro) owned by Four Winds Farm, earned a victory in the Intermediate I with 74.649%. Second place was awarded to Jaimey Irwin (CAN) and Donegal V, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (by Johnson x Gribaldi) owned by Team Irwin Supporters Group, with 74.123%. Third place went to Tina Irwin (CAN) and Laurencio, a 2007 Oldenburg gelding (by Laurentio x Donnerhall) on 73.860%.

Press release by Carly Weilminster, edited by Eurodressage - Photos © Sue Stickle

Related Link
Scores 2017 CDI-W Wellington 
Peters and Graves Take First Trophies at 2017 CDI-W Wellington During Week Seven