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Laura Graves Named 2018 Equestrian of the Year at Pegasus Awards Presented by Adequan®

by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jan 10, 2019, 11:51 PM EST

West Palm Beach, Fla. – Laura Graves (Geneva, Fla.) has been awarded the Robert P. Strub Trophy as the 2018 USEF Equestrian of the Year at the Pegasus Awards presented by Adequan® during the US Equestrian Annual Meeting. Graves has been a valuable member of The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team for many years and her numerous contributions to the sport of dressage on the international stage and at home in the U.S. make her an impressive force in the sport of dressage. 

Laura Graves and US Equestrian President Murray Kessler (Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

2018 was a record-breaking year for Graves and her and Curt Maes’s 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Verdades (Florett AS x Liwilarda/Goya). Not only did the combination contribute to The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team’s silver medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) Tryon 2018 but also made history in the Grand Prix Special as the first American combination to earn an individual silver medal at a world championship. Their success at the WEG boosted Graves and Verdades to the number-one spot on the FEI Dressage World Ranking List in October, marking the first time a U.S. dressage combination has been ranked as world number one.

"I come from a family of athletes, and it wasn’t until I settled into equestrian sport that I really became comfortable with myself. If it weren’t for the family I found in equestrian sport, I would be just an uncoordinated awkward girl without very many friends, so thank you all for being my friends," said Graves. "There are so many people who make this world turn for me, many who are here tonight: I have my amazing family, Betsy Juliano, Debbie McDonald, my amazing teammates, my vets and farriers. But it’s honestly a bigger community than my little world that turns. It’s all of you who are members, all of you who support equestrian sport, whether it be dressage, jumping, or whatever your sport is, our connection to the horse unites us all.”

Eight equestrians were recognized for their competitive achievements in 2018 and honored with the following trophies:

Norman K. Dunn Trophy – Bruce Griffin III
C.J. "June" Cronan Trophy – Victoria Gillenwater
Barbara Worth Oakford Trophy – Jody Strand
Bill Robinson Trophy – Eugene Sweeney
Vaughan Smith Trophy – Wendy Potts
William C. Steinkraus Trophy – Laura Graves and McLain Ward
Emerson Burr Trophy – Victoria Colvin

Georgie Green (Morgan Mill, Texas) was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her undying commitment to the Morgan breed and elevating excellence in breeding, governance, and sport. Green made history as the American Morgan Horse Association’s first female president and her dedication to this American horse is exemplified by her work to foster interest for pedigreed livestock in younger generations. Visit USEF Network to see the video honoring Green at the Pegasus Awards presented by Adequan.

Isabela de Sousa (Lexington, Ky.) was awarded the Ruth O’Keefe Meredith Memorial Trophy as the 2018 Junior Equestrian of the Year for her passionate work retraining off-the-track Thoroughbreds. This three-time Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover show jumping champion sets out to provide the horses with a solid foundation to start them on a second career path so that they can enjoy in their new homes.

Additionally, the Intercollegiate and Interscholastic Equestrian Team Awards were presented to seven teams that demonstrated their excellence in USEF-affiliated collegiate and scholastic organizations in 2018.

The following prestigious awards are bestowed annually to equestrians for their service to the sport. This year’s recipients are as follows:

USEF/EQUUS Foundation Humanitarian Award – Steuart Pittman
Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award – Anne Gribbons
Richard E. McDevitt Award of Merit – Harry Chapman, Yum Kee Fu, E. Hunter Harrison, Michael Rheinhemier, and J. Richard Wilkinson
Pegasus Medal of Honor – Ellen DiBella, Janine Malone, Debbie McDonald, and Robert Ridland
Ellen Scripps Davis Memorial Breeders’ Award – Allyn McCracken
Sallie Busch Wheeler Trophy – Anne Kursinski

Stay up to date with the 2019 Annual Meeting by following US Equestrian on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.