Laura Graves and Verdades US Dressage Stars Shine in Wellington

Saturday, March 14, 2015
Posted by Carly Weilminster for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Laura and Verdades with Ashley Holzer, Diane Fellows, judge Gary Rockwell, and Allyn Mann. (Photo: SusanJStickle.com)
Laura and Verdades with Ashley Holzer, Diane Fellows, judge Gary Rockwell, and Allyn Mann. (Photo: SusanJStickle.com)

Wellington, FL - It was another spectacular evening for Laura Graves (USA) and Verdades, as the duo won the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival's "Friday Night Stars" FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W3* presented by Today's Equestrian and Diane & George Fellows. Lisa Wilcox (USA) aboard Pikko del Cerro HU placed second with a 76.075%, and Lars Petersen (DEN) and Mariett finished in third receiving a 74.550%. Competition will continue tomorrow at AGDF with several classes in the Florida International Dressage Youth Championships as well as the FEI Grand Prix Special CDI-W3*. The crowd went wild for Graves and Verdades after they finished their performance and the best is yet to come from this duo.

Working closely with Robert Dover and Debbie McDonald, Graves has fine-tuned several areas of her routine that she feels she could still improve upon. She explained, "We've tweaked some things a bit in the past few days as a group, like getting that piaffe right on the spot, and I felt really confident in there today and it was amazingly fun to ride."

Wilcox and Pikko del Cerro HU have had somewhat of a roller-coaster season here at AGDF, but when the pair is on they're successful. Wilcox though, has remained patient throughout and is elated with the consistent performances the duo put in at both AGDF9 and AGDF10 Grand Prix Freestyles. "It's the second time we've ridden that choreography, and he absolutely loves it. He's so engaged in it, and there's not a minute he has free. It really shined through this weekend. He had no mistakes and everything will continue to get more crisp and more powerful," she commented.

Watch the winning ride for Laura and Verdades! Video courtesy of Campfield Videos.
Watch the winning ride for Laura and Verdades! Video courtesy of Campfield Videos.

Petersen and Mariett concluded their 2015 AGDF run with a third place finish tonight in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Mariett and Petersen amassed an incredible amount of wins and top finishes this season and the mare has earned a great break before hopefully gearing up to attend FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas in April. "I'm happy for Mariett with how she did. It's a lot of shows and it's a long season for her, but I'm so happy with all of our performances this season."

All three riders will now look towards World Cup Finals, except Graves who was also selected to represent the United States on one of two teams in the Large Tour at the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nation's Cup at AGDF 12. The duo will continue to iron out pieces of their routine and expect an ever better ride in two weeks. "We're working on the quality in the passage half-passes. It was something we snuck into the routine before the World Equestrian Games," she revealed. "It happened a little bit then and now its happening more, so hopefully by Nation's Cup it will be a more of a real passage half-pass and by World Cup Finals it will hopefully be very exciting to watch."

Gary Rockwell, Judge at C from the United States, was pleased with the number of consistently smooth rides throughout the night. He noted, "The judging gets better when the rides are good and usually we all agree if the rides are smooth and accurate tests. Everyone tonight had a good ride and the quality was very high, truly just an overall enjoyable evening."

Lisa Wilcox and Pikko del Cerro HU (Photo: SusanJStickle.com)
Lisa Wilcox and Pikko del Cerro HU (Photo: SusanJStickle.com)

The sponsors for the AGDF 10 Large Tour, Ashley Holzer of Today's Equestrian and Diane Fellows, were both on hand at the press conference, delighted that the night was such a success. Holzer and Dressed In Black placed fourth in the class. "Sponsoring something so wonderful as this venue and these events brings together horses and riders from around the world and makes them available for the public to see," said Holzer. "I think it is so important that we support our own sport and that we all, as riders, do our part and sponsor events like this, if we can, to make it an even better event. I'm so glad to be a part of it and to be able to support it."

Fellows, a longtime supporter of Holzer, agreed with the sentiment and is so proud of where the event has come. "We are so excited to say that we're a part of this and to see how AGDF has grown over the years," she said. "Sponsorship is a joy, owning a horse and watching a talented rider bring your horse to this level is so exciting, and I would tell anyone who is able to, 'Sponsor a horse, a rider, a venue and come watch and enjoy.' It really enhances your life."

Allyn Mann of Adequan®, title sponsor for the entire AGDF series, continues to be impressed with the atmosphere and competition at each Friday night event and gave his utmost respect to the riders and sponsors. "It's people like Ashley and Diane that make an event like this happen and to all of the owners who make this sport what it is, they're really the backbone and without them none of us would be sitting here," he commented. "It's a blessing to be involved in the sport and to watch beautiful animals and riders, and we're so glad that we can help to continue making this event even better."

Lars Petersen and Mariett (Photo: SusanJStickle.com)
Lars Petersen and Mariett (Photo: SusanJStickle.com)

Numerous awards were given out throughout the night as Charlotte Jorst received the "Winner of the Prix St. George Owner's Award" presented by Jill Irving for her win aboard Kastels Adventure. Adrienne Lyle accepted the "Best Horse Owner for Overall Highest Score" presented by Jill Irving, on behalf of Pam Jones. The Best Horse Owner Award for the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty was given to Laura Graves for her win aboard Verdades. The pair also picked up the Adequan® High Score Award for the Grand Prix Freestyle presented by Allyn Mann.

Final Results for FEI FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI-W3*, presented by Today's Equestrian with Diane & George Fellows
Place, Rider, Nationality, Horse, Horse Information: Judge E% (Eisenhardt-GER), Judge H% (Wuest-GER), Judge C% (Rockwell-USA), Judge M% (Torrente-COL), Judge B% (Lang-AUT), Total%
1. Laura Graves (USA), Verdades, 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by rider, Florett As x Liwilarda x Goya: 78.875%, 80.250%, 79.250%, 80.000%, 79.625%, 79.600%

2. Lisa Wilcox (USA), Pikko del Cerro HU, 2003 Hanoverian stallion owned by Horses Unlimited, Pik L x Rohweena x Rohdiamont: 76.250%, 76.250%, 76.750%, 77.625%, 73.500%, 76.075%

3. Lars Petersen (DEN), Mariett, 1998 Danish Warmblood mare owned by Marcia Pepper, Come Back II x Zendi x Sidney: 73.500%, 74.625%, 76.750%, 74.125%, 73.750%, 74.550%

4. Ashley Holzer (CAN), Dressed in Black, 2005 Danish Warmblood stallion owned by rider & Diane Fellows, Dresemann x Sweetheart x Silvano: 72.500%, 75.750%, 72.000%, 74.375%, 73.625%, 73.650%

5. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven (SWE), Benetton Dream, 2004 Hanoverian stallion owned by Lövsta Stuteri, Bretano II x Rotkäppchen x Rotspon: 72.375%, 74.250%, 70.125%, 73.000%, 73.875%, 72.725%

6. Karen Pavicic (CAN), Don Daiquiri, 2002 Oldenburg gelding owned by Jayne Essig, Don Cardinale x Nedstatte III x Rubinstein I: 72.000%, 75.125%, 71.750%, 71.875%, 72.250%, 72.600%

7. Arlene Page (USA), Alina, 1998 Danish Warmblood mare owned by rider, Michellino x Alberte Lindebjerg x Diamant: 70.250%, 71.625%, 73.125%, 72.250%, 71.875%, 71.875%

8. Juan Matute Jr. (ESP) Don Diego Ymas, 2003 Hanoverian gelding owned by Juan Matute, 2003 Hanoverian gelding, Don Frederico x Wie Plantine: 70.875%, 74.125%, 69.750%, 70.625%, 71.875%, 71.450%

About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:
The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world's largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations' Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.