Laura Graves and her horse Verdades have been nominated for the title of 2018 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Equestrian and International Horse of the Year.
The 2018 Equestrian and Horse of the Year will be awarded Thursday evening, January 10 at the Pegasus Awards dinner at the US Equestrian Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla. US Equestrian’s Pegasus Awards honor some of the great men and women of equestrian sport.
The titles are decided by online vote and voting closes on Thursday 3 January 2019 at midnight.
In the category "Equestrian of the Year" Graves shares a nomination with Victoria Colvin (hunter/jumper), Victoria Gillenwater (saddle seat), Bruce Griffin III (Friesian handler), Wendy Potts (Arabian trainer), Jody Strand (western pleasure), Eugene Sweeney (driving), McLain Ward (show jumping), and Chester Weber (driving).
In 2018, Olympic bronze medalist Laura Graves earned her second trip to an FEI World Equestrian Games™ as part of the U.S. Dressage Team. She and her own Verdades not only contributed to The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team’s silver medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018, but also made history in the Grand Prix Special as the first American combination to earn an individual silver medal at a world championship. Their success at the WEG boosted Graves and Verdades to the number-one spot on the FEI Dressage World Ranking List in October, marking the first time a U.S. dressage combination has been ranked as world number one.
Over the last four years, Graves has been a valuable member of The Dutta. Corp. U.S. Dressage Team, competing on numerous Nations Cup teams and representing her country at the Olympics and world games. In 2018, she was named to the WEG team after aiding the U.S. team to a silver medal in the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ Germany. Throughout the year, Graves and Verdades earned eight first-place finishes both in the U.S. and abroad. This accomplishment included wins in the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week three of the 2018 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival; the Grand Prix CDI5* and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5* during week five of the 2018 AGDF; the Grand Prix CDI-W and Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W during week eight of the 2018 AGDF; the Grand Prix at the 2018 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final; and the Grand Prix CDIO5* at the 2018 CHIO Aachen. Graves’s contributions and recognition within the sport of dressage make her an impressive force to be reckoned with.
In the category "International Horse of the Year" Verdades shares a nomination with Eddie Blue (show jumping) and Ms Dreamy (reining).
In 2018, Verdades, affectionately known as Diddy, owned by Laura Graves and Curt Maes, again proved why he is one of the best horses to grace the international dressage ring.
Following a standout 2017, when he and his lifelong rider and trainer, Laura Graves placed second in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle at the World Cup™ Dressage Final, US Equestrian named the 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding and Graves to their second consecutive World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage Team in 2018.
With the home crowd in his periphery, Verdades led Graves to an individual silver medal, the first silver medal awarded to a U.S. dressage combination at a global championship. In addition, they were the anchor combination for the silver medal-winning The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team.
During the 2018 FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ season, he helped the U.S. team earn a silver medal in the Dressage Nations Cup Germany, part of CHIO Aachen. Individually, Verdades garnered eight first-place finishes in 2018, which included the Grand Prix at the World Cup Dressage Final and the Grand Prix CDIO5* at CHIO Aachen. Their 2018 success allowed them to reach the world number one position on the World Individual Dressage Ranking List in October, a status they held for nine straight weeks, marking the first time that a U.S. dressage combination has been ranked world number one.
Verdades began his journey to international success in 2014 after garnering attention from his reserve-champion finish at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions presented by The Dutta Corp. Since his launch into the spotlight, Verdades’ achievements and continued success are profound. He has earned 34 first-place finishes and over 20 second-place finishes in team and individual CDI competitions around the world since the inception of his international career.
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