Following a successful weekend in Wellington, Laura Graves and Verdades headed back to their farm in Oviedo, in Cental Florida to enjoy some down time and continue his favorite part of their training regimen-a once a week bareback hack. He will enjoy a lighter work schedule for a few weeks and do some work in the fields. Graves and her team will review the strategy for the coming months, as the process for The Olympic selection takes shape.
The FEI Grand Prix Special CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, concluded FEI CDI 5* competition today at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades added another win to their week, as the duo scored a 74.667% to best the class. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE) and Benetton Dream finished in second with a 72.412%, while Belinda Trussell (CAN) and Anton captured third place receiving a 71.431%.
Laura Graves and Verdades topped the FEI Grand Prix CDI 5*, presented by Diamante Farms, on Thursday and chose to compete in the FEI Grand Prix Special class. While their test was not as exact or powerful as may be typically expected from the duo, it was an example of an established partnership that is continuing to grow with time. The judges recognized the maturity of their effort, awarding it a 74.667% for the win. Graves reflected on the experience of coming back to the ring after their last difficult competition.
"I really wanted to ride him down and let him have another good experience. I felt like it was far from being our highest score, the most precise, and certainly not our most powerful, but he was 100% himself, and that was a really good feeling," she explained. "What we did in the Grand Prix on Thursday really paid off and it's good to feel like I have him back knowing that I could have ridden better."
The pair seemed back to their usual selves during the Special, which Graves has noted is a strong test for Verdades. The pair, instead of focusing on accuracy and precision, decided to reach towards a more relaxed and harmonious test to continue boosting their confidence in the ring.
"This was a big confidence builder for me as a rider and a trainer, having (had a) first kind of low point since we've been successful. It's always hard and it makes you question things, like what do we do and how do we move on. But it's really true, if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger and you learn," she explained. "Now, I know this will happen again. It's not the first time, and it's not the last. This is life and this is the chance you take when you go into the arena with another living being. That's the sport."