Laura Graves, riding her Olympic veteran partner Verdades, accomplished one of her most cherished goals when she won the Grand Prix Special at the CDIO5* in Aachen, Germany on July 22. beating World Dressage Ranked number one Isabell Werth of Germany, who rode Weihegold OLD.
With that victory, Graves moved from fourth into the number two slot in World Dressage Rankings behind Werth with Great Britain's Carl Hester on Nip Tuck third.
""Verdades said today, `Ah, we are going right. I know it is the Grand Prix Special, Mom'" said Graves, who finally achieved the victory. " I have tried so often. That was pretty tiring."
I always come out to win, but she puts on some tough competition," said Graves about competing against Werth. "It's just whoever has the best details on that day. I'm very proud to be in the top, to be considered for this position at all."
"It was an amazing opportunity to be invited here to Aachen, to have the best riders in the world to compete against," said Graves. "My horse delivered for me and our whole team today. I thank everyone for coming out and supporting us."
The U.S. team of Graves, Adrienne Lyle on Salvino, Olivia LaGoy-Weiltz on Lonoir and Kasey Perry-Glass on Goerklintgaards Dublet finished second in the Nations Cup on a score of 450.392, behind the gold medal German team that scored 470.46, with Sweden taking the bronze on 437.635 from the starting field of eight nations.
Individually, Lyle placed ninth on 73.608, LaGoy-Weltz was 12th on 72.118 and Perry-Glass was 13th on 71.608.
Unfortunately, on the final day of competition in Aachen, mistakes in the canter tour dropped Graves' score to 82.55, so she finished third behind Wertz, 89.657, and her fellow German teammate Sonke Rothenberger on Cosmo 59, who scored 85.75. Perry-Glass was ninth with a score of 75.5, and LaGoy-Weltz was 12th on 74.425.
IN THE CDIO3* at Hickstead, England, led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, the U.S. team of Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Alcazar, Susan Dutta on Currency DC, Chase Hickok on Sagacious HF and Charlotte Jorst on Nintendo won the bronze medal in the Nations Cup with a score of 421.920, finishing behind gold medal-winning France with a score of 424.811 and silver medal-winning the Netherlands with a score of 424.053.
The FEI Nations Cup Dressage Series came to a close at Hickstead, with the U.S. finishing second behind Sweden and ahead of Denmark.
“I was very proud once again of our U.S. Nations Cup athletes here in Hickstead," said Dover. "Under extremely difficult weather conditions, our riders rode with class and did their very best. Our goal this year was not to simply do well, which we did by winning in Rotterdam and placing second in Aachen, along with other results in the series, but to show off both our fabulous veterans as well as fresh, new human and equine faces. We are all very proud of our second-place finish in the series, the only nation to have supported every competition in it!”