Gothenburg, Sweden – In the dramatic conclusion of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final, Laura Graves and her loyal mount Verdades piaffed their way to silver in front of an enthusiastic Swedish crowd of more than 11,500. Showing the strength of the American dressage program, all three U.S. combinations broke the top seven with scores over 80%.
“I was thrilled. [Verdades] was so rideable, and I was just really thrilled with his focus and his energy today,” said Graves. “Like Isabel [Werth] said, the crowd was amazing. They all have this ticker of a live score, and as riders you are going ‘yeah, this feels pretty good.’ You kind of hope that the judges are agreeing with [the crowd]. You hear the crowd clapping along and you think ‘okay, well at least everyone is enjoying it as much as I am,’ and that’s really special.”
With a final score of 87.179%, Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her and Curt Maes’s 17-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding gave now three-time World Cup champion Isabel Werth (Germany) and Weihegold OLD a run for their money. With 10 combinations scoring over 80%, it was a tight race to the finish and Graves rode 14th in the order.
“I could not be more thrilled with my performance,” continued Graves. “I had a bit of an early draw, and I knew I had to give it everything. We made a couple of adjustments to our program and that really worked in our favor. The music, thanks to Terry Gallo, was spot on. I am so glad we decided to do that; we just love Sweden.”
Kasey Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) and Goerklintgaards Dublet, Diane Perry’s 16-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, were the final U.S. combination in the ring. Their dynamic freestyle was a crowd favorite, earning them a staccato of applause as they made their final steps and salute to the judges. Their highly technical and well-executed performance earned them a score of 84.975% and fifth place.
“[Goerklintgaards Dublet] was really good and very honest in everything that he did today. I am just really proud of him,” said Perry-Glass. “It has been an amazing week. All of us [U.S.] girls did such a great job and we represented the U.S. really well. It was such a pleasure to be here. All the fans were amazing and really welcoming.”
Adrienne Lyle (Wellington, Fla.) and Salvino were first down centerline for the U.S. She and Betsy Juliano LLC’s beautiful and dark 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion laid it all on the line for a knowledgeable and engaged audience. Scoring a personal freestyle best of 81.832%, the combination would finish in seventh place in their first World Cup Final appearance, Salvino’s first indoor event, and in only their third performance of this particular freestyle test.
“I had a wonderful time. [Scandinavium Arena] is by far the most fun venue I have ever ridden in. The crowd is awesome,” said Lyle. “I came in right after Patrik Kittel, hometown hero, and the crowd erupted and [Salvino] didn’t even put a foot out of place. I think he is enjoying the indoor arena too. It was a really fun crowd to ride to. They were clapping at the end and really getting into the performances today … I am super, super thrilled with him. This is just the start for this horse.”
Germany’s Isabel Werth finished on a score of 88.871% for the top of the podium, while fell countrywoman Helen Langehanenberg and Damsey FRH finished in third on a score of 86.571%.
Follow US Equestrian
The USEF International High Performance Programs are generously supported by the USET Foundation, USOC, and USEF sponsors and members.