WELLINGTON, Fla.--Returning to competiton for the first time since winning an individual silver medal at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, Laura Graves on Verdades won the FEI Grand Prix CDIW.
The Global Dressage Festival started with its first day of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Graves won the FEI Grand Prix CDI-W with a score of 80.065 percent riding her own Verdades, a 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Florett AS.
Graves said that her ride was “a good way to put the first show into perspective after we haven’t been out since the World Equestrian Games was called off before the freestyle, so it's been quite a bit since we’ve been in the arena. It always feels like, ‘Okay, we still know what we’re doing.’”
“HE OBVIOUSLY still has a ton of gas in the tank," said Graves. "I’m really, really excited with how today went.”
"Verdades saved me today in the zig zag,” she said, “I poked him on five and he said, ‘Mom, you gotta wait for 6.’ And so I was just really lucky that he saved me there and it’s nice to know that you can count on a horse like that.”
Looking forward to Friday, Graves noted that it’s “a whole different ball game.”
“He gets even more electric here than he does at any other huge venue in the world,” said Graves. “We want to see more relaxation in his free walk because we lose some points there when he has such a good walk in the school. And again, just tidying things up so my transitions are on time so I can really feel safe to push.”
Graves and Verdades will be debuting their new freestyle created for WEG on Friday evening.