TRYON, N.C.--Laura Graves and Verdades won the individual silver medal after a uperb performance in the Grand Prix Special at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon with a score of 81.717 percent.
This is the first individual silver medal to be awarded to a U.S. dressage rider at a global championship, including the World Equestrian and Olympic Games.
Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet were also successful in the Special, earning a 78.541 percent for a top-10 finish.
This followed a stellar team competition in which the U.S. won the silver medal behind Germany, with Great Britain taking the bronze medal.
In the individual, Isabell Werth and Bella Rose of Germany won the gold medal on an impressive 86.246 percent, while Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle from Great Britain claimed bronze with 81.489 percent.
GRAVES OF Geneva, Fla.. rode Verdades, the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding she owns with Curt Maes, to be the first combination to crack 80 percent in the Grand Prix Special.
Calm and composed, Verdades danced down the centerline after beautifully executing a technically challenging test.
“Verdades is amazing,” said Graves. “I’m lucky enough to be on a horse that wants to do his job. It’s a real test of a horse’s character when you ask them to go and they show up for you. Verdades just steps it up for me every time. You just cannot say enough good things about him. Today I’m very proud of how he let me ride him.”
The Freestyle, originally scheduled for Sunday then moved to Monday due to weather, was cancelled. The press release outlining the reasons for cancellation is included under separate cover.
Graves, who had been expected to do very well in the Freestyle, possibly even winning it, had been looking forward to it.
“We can’t be any more prepared than we are right now," said Graves. "Verdades just felt really rideable.”
Perry-Glass of Wellington, Fla., and Goerklintgaards Dublet, Diane Perry’s 15-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, demonstrated flawless passage and forward tempi changes to score 78.541 percent.
“I’m so excited," said Perry-Glass. "I knew today was going to be a fight for us. My horse gave it his all and was there with his power and elasticity, and he showed off his best suits. The piaffe and passage are his forte, so I’m excited about that.”
Perry-Glass, who was also among the 15 that qualified for the Freestyle, had also been looking forward to it.
“I’m really excited about our freestyle." she said. "I love my freestyle. It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.”
As the first U.S. combination to ride the Grand Prix Special, Olympian Steffen Peters of San Diego, Calif.. and Suppenkasper, Four Winds Farm’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding, highlighted Suppenkasper’s ground-covering scope of motion in the extended trot.
A miscommunication in the first piaffe early in the test, which resulted in a bit of a buck and no piaffe, idropped their score to 69.073 percent.
But Suppenksper, with his power and height of movement, looks like he could be a super star for the U.S. as he matures and gets more experiene
Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, Idaho and Salvino, Betsy Juliano LLC’s 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion, experienced some mistakes in the passage and canter work, resulting in a score of 69.043 percent.
BY WINNING the silver medal in the team competition, the dressage team secured the U.S. team Olympic qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The team of Lyle on Salvino, Graves and Verdades, Perry-Glass on Goerklintgaards Dublet and Peters with Suppenkasper, led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, were a force to be reckoned with to medal with a final score of 233.229 percent.
Germany won the team gold medal on a 242.935 percent, while Great Britain claimed the team bronze with a 229.628 percent.
Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover could not have asked for a better final team competition.
“It’s been decades in this sport for me,” said Dover. "With these amazing athletes both equine and human next to me along with the greatest grooms, owners, sponsors, our support staff, and all the supporters behind these people, they make the ship float. The Germans were amazing, and they make us ride better. I’m so grateful to be with this amazing team.”
As the last combination of the day to enter the arena, Graves with Verdades were nearly foot perfect.
Demonstrating brilliance in the pirouettes and piaffe down the final centerline, Graves and Verdades earned an individual score of 81.630 percent to confirm a podium finish for the U.S. team.
“I’m really proud of what we, as a team were able to accomplish here,” said Graves. “I was feeling a bit under the weather and was nervous going in, but I’ve been laughing because adrenaline is an amazing thing. It’s a lot of pressure to ride last. but it’s an amazing team to ride on because no one would hold a hard feeling, and we all know we are riding our best. We all know what we are capable of, and we are going to push for that.”
Perry-Glass rode first for the U.S. in the final rotation of the Grand Prix, showcasing a special partnership with light aids and lots of power in the piaffe to score 76.739 percent.
“It felt great," said Perry-Glass. "My horse was 100 percent in warm-up. and I really felt like he brought the power to the test. His changes are so big and sometimes he can get a little away from me and that’s what happened in the tempi changes.”
“I’ve always known he’s a special horse," said Perry-Glass. "It was a matter of time until we figured it out. I’m excited for the week.”
Lyle helped the team’s podium position on day one of the Grand Prix, earning a 74.891 percent.
Four-time Olympic veteran Peters was the first U.S. combination to start the competition and earned a respectable 73.494 percent, but he would later be the drop score of the team.