For Immediate Release / Kim Beaudoin for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Wellington, FL – February 10, 2017 – Laura Graves and Verdadescaptured another stunning victory in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, on Friday, February 10, during the fifth week of competition at the 2017 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.
2016 Olympic Bronze Medalists Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Florett AS x Liwilarda) owned by Graves, dominated in the Global Arena once again this week, coming out on top of the competition with a winning score of 82.000%.
“We are preparing for FEI World Cup Finals and even though we don’t have an indoor environment to do that,” Graves said, “we have this awesome Adequan® Global Dressage Festival to pack on Friday nights and still get a huge atmosphere for our horses and to practice in, and that is a very lucky thing to have here.”
This was Graves and Verdades’ first win in an FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* competition. On her ride, Graves said, “The adrenaline is so high when you come out of the arena. You’re so in the moment that when it’s over, you kind of think, ‘What just happened?’ But he was great. He really feeds off of the atmosphere. He’s a highly sensitive horse, and he never lets me down.”
Placing second to Graves in in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 5* was Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE) and Paridon Magi, with a score of 77.450%. “I was pleased today with the feeling of Magi,” said Vilhelmson Silfven. “He had a super warm-up and I think that when you get into this arena with this atmosphere, it’s just fun to ride. I had some small mistakes, but a very nice feeling, so overall I’m very pleased.”
2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist Steffen Peters (USA) and Rosamunde, a 2007 Rhinelander mare (Rock Forever x First Lady) owned by Four Winds Farm, took third place with a 77.325%. “I had a different strategy today,” Peters said of his changed routine from Thursday. “This morning I worked her (Rosamunde) for about 45 minutes, and I walked her around all day. I had my doubts after yesterday’s Grand Prix if she could handle an atmosphere like she would have to at the FEI World Cup [Finals], and tonight she proved that she might have the potential to qualify. I’m super happy. There was one 80 already in there. She had a clean test that was much more relaxed then the Grand Prix, and in this atmosphere, I’m stoked.”
Ken Braddick of dressage-news.com awarded Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades a special browband to signify their induction into the “80% Club,” after her win in Thursday’s FEI CDI 5* Grand Prix. The victory puts her alongside U.S. Olympic teammate Steffen Peters as a member of the “Club,” which counts only 15 riders in the world as members.
Earlier in the day, 2016 Olympic Bronze Medalists Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) and Goerklintgaards Dublet,won the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, with a 73.569%. “I had a little bit of a rough start with my Grand Prix, so to come back and to ride an almost clean test was good. I’m holding onto this winning cooler very tightly, because I’ve wanted one so badly!” Perry-Glass joked.
“We definitely improved the extended trot,” said Perry-Glass of her freestyle test. “We did not break this time, and I felt like I was able to call up a little more power from him today. We had a few connection issues in the half-pass, but that’s just something that we are always working on with him. He has really good piaffe and passage, and I felt like he was pretty honest with that today.”
Second place was awarded to 2016 Olympic reserves, Shelly Francis (USA) and Doktor, a 2003 Oldenburg gelding (Diamond Hit x Gurena x Renoir I) owned by Patricia Stempel, with a score of 73.255%. Francis commented, “I made a point with the cooler weather to ask for a little bit more and for him to be a little perkier because yesterday he was a little blah. He felt a lot better today. We had a few little moments like with the one [tempis] where we could have covered a little more ground, but it was nice and steady so I just left it alone.”
Lisa Wilcox (USA) and mount, Galant, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Escuro x Bellisima) owned by Jacqueline Shear, rounded out the top three with a 72.196%. “What I’m going for right now are just mistake free tests,” said Wilcox. “There are so many more years on that horse that I don’t want to push too much right now and end up with mistakes that intimidate him. I want him to go in, really enjoy that arena, feel confident, feel successful, and then I think toward the end of the season I can start to power him up in there. I think just that gear alone is pretty nice to ride. I see a lot of fun in the future.”
The FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 3*, sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty, was won by Charlotte Jorst (USA) and Kastel’s Nintendo, a 2003 Dutch Warmblood stallion (Negro x Rodieni R x Monaco) owned by Kastel Denmark, with a score of 73.075%.
Commenting on her freestyle, Jorst said, “I was very excited to be back out there. I haven’t ridden that freestyle since the FEI World Cup [Finals]. It felt really great to get back out and get Nintendo back out there. He loves his freestyle and loves this music, and so do I, so it’s always a highlight for us to get to do it.”
Continuing the USA sweep were second place finishers Olivia LaGoy-Weltz (USA) and Lonoir, a 2004 Danish Warmblood gelding (De Noir x Lorani x Loran) owned by LaGoy-Weltz, with a 72.950%.
Explaining her choice in music for her freestyle “Ain’t Misbehavin”, LaGoy-Weltz said, “I liked the genre, and it kind of swings to him. We used similar music in the small tour – it was based off of that – so we just upgraded that to start out with for him, since it’s familiar and he goes well to it.”
Third place was awarded to Dawn White-O’Connor and her new dancing partner, Steffen Peters’ Olympic mount Legolas 92, a 2002 Westfalen gelding (Laomedon x Furstin x Florenstan II) owned by Four Winds Farm. They received a score of 72.850%.
“He (Legolas 92) was really good in there today,” said White-O’Connor. “He was really relaxed, so I was happy with that. Sometimes that’s not always the case, but he was really good about it. There were a couple miscommunications because he knows that freestyle really well. There were a few places where he would start a little before or after me, but that’s just some stuff that we have to work out in getting to know each other.”