Impressive Start to the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship

Tuesday, August 23, 2022
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Cover-Laura Graves-USA-SenSation HW-FOC-Grand Prix-2022.jpg

Fourteen combinations competed in the FEI Prix St. Georges Test in their first test of the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship. Laura Graves and SenSation HW won the class with an impressive score of 75.117%. Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and Carol and Scott McPhee’s 2013 Westphalian gelding wowed the judges with a smooth, flowing test to hold the top spot on the leaderboard in a talented division. The pair has been developing a partnership since 2020, and the hard work was on display in the arena.

Photo - Laura Graves and SenSation HW (SusanJStickle.com)

“He is such a supple horse. We had a couple small mistakes. I was really happy with his canter pirouettes. His trot half-passes are always beautiful because of his suppleness,” said Graves. “Overall, I think it was a pretty tidy, very clean test. Hopefully it was able to show his power, but also trying to show a little relaxation too. He’s got a super walk. We had a little mistake in one of the walk pirouettes. But in general, he does everything really well. A lot of highlights for this horse. The overall picture is exciting.”

Nick Wagman (San Diego, Calif.) and Heatcliff, Beverly Gepfer’s 2012 KWPN gelding, were second with a score of 73.529%. Emily Miles and Daily Show finished third with a score of 71.646%.

Watch the Winning Ride

From the Mixed Zone:

Tell us about your test.

Graves: “I was super thrilled with my horse. He was obviously shown here at lot as a young horse. I didn’t really know what to expect. He has kind of caught me by surprise with his experience at a couple venues being more than I bargained for, just with the tension catching up with him. So, being here on familiar territory, I wasn’t really sure what I would have, but he has been amazing. Every day schooling he has just been amazing in this stadium. I reached this point in my career with Verdades where we finished a test and it finally stopped feeling so daunting, and I had that feeling today. When I finished my final centerline, I was like, ‘We could go again.' It just felt nice. And when the judges really appreciate that, that’s when I really feel confident in the work I’ve done. I just can’t wait for the rest of this week and really the future with this horse.

Have you been to this venue before?

Graves: “I have. I’m super happy to be back. I was just chatting with the other competitors. It is just so fun to have us all together. The camaraderie of everyone really wanting everyone to do well.”

The FEI Prix St. Georges Test counts for 40 percent of the overall score, while the FEI Intermediate I Test on Tuesday counts for 45 percent. The division will conclude on Thursday with the FEI Intermediate I Freestyle Test, which counts for 15 percent.

Competition continues Tuesday in the Grand Prix Arena with the FEI Intermediate I Test of the USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship at 9 a.m. CT, followed by the FEI Para Dressage Individual Test of the USEF Para Dressage National Championship.

Watch the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions live stream this week on USEF Network.

Complete Schedule
Live Scoring