Aachen, Germany – In a close contest with Germany, The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team earned the silver medal at the FEI Dressage Nations Cup™ Germany on Saturday at the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen. Under the leadership of Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover, the U.S. team of Laura Graves, Adrienne Lyle, Kasey Perry-Glass, and Steffen Peters produced a final score of 459.371, just 4.98 points behind the German team.
“CHIO Aachen is like no other horse show in the world,” said Dover. “Because of that, when you’re making [CHIO Aachen] your final observation event [for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018], you hope that the athletes will always have their dreams come true and the best rides of their lives.”
In their first appearance since earning a reserve title at the 2018 FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final, Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and Verdades, a 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding she owns with Curt Maes, started the week strong for the United States. They won Thursday’s Grand Prix with a score of 80.606 percent to help put the U.S. in strong position for Saturday’s Grand Prix Special.
“When you get a horse to this point they know their job. They know all the tricks,” said Graves. “It just becomes really about these half-point marks and trying to give the horse confidence. [Verdades] is a really tricky, sensitive horse. He puts so much pressure on himself, so most of my job is helping him take that pressure away.”
With less than three points separating The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team from second-placed Germany, the battle for a podium finish was far from over as competitors of all nationalities rode with expert precision in Saturday’s Grand Prix Special.
Peters (San Diego, Calif.) led the way for the team as the first ones through the in-gate, where he and Four Winds Farm’s Rosamunde, a 2007 Rheinlander mare, earned a 72.362 percent in addition to their score of 71.351 percent in Thursday’s Grand Prix.
Surprised by a moving camera when passing the judges booth, Verdades spooked during the second extended trot, causing him to continue to be spooky through several movements along that same side of the arena. However, Graves was able to refocus his energy for the end of the test and the combination finished on a score of 74.085 percent.
Rio Olympian Perry-Glass (Wellington, Fla.) rode two superb tests aboard Goerklintgaards Dublet, Diane Perry’s 2003 Danish Warmblood gelding, producing brilliant scores of 76.801 percent in the Grand Prix and 78.787 percent for third place in the Grand Prix Special. Watch the combination's Grand Prix Special ride for third.
“My ride went super well today,” said Perry-Glass. “I was really confident in our warmup. It was just about getting [that confidence] in the ring. After Thursday’s ride, I knew I had to go in there and perform again, and really show that we can be consistent at our scores. I feel like our changes were spot on and the pirouettes are getting better. It is just a matter of putting it all together and really going for it.”
2012 London Olympian Lyle (Ketchum, Idaho) and Salvino, Betsy Juliano LLC’s 2007 Hanoverian stallion, performed consistently for the United States throughout the week, garnering a Grand Prix score of 74.581 percent and a Grand Prix Special score of 74.511 percent.
“Winning the Grand Prix was a grand thing for America,” said Dover. “We have to take into consideration that in Tryon [for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018]; the Grand Prix will be the Nations Cup, the medal. That is very exciting – we are thrilled that we have had some extraordinary rides from our horses here in Aachen, in both of the tours here, and a fantastic group of athletes.”
Germany emerged as the winners of the six-nation competition with a final score of 464.351, and Denmark earned bronze on a team result of 444.106.
In the CDI4* tour, Peters and Suppenkasper, Four Winds Farm's 10-year-old KWPN gelding tied for third with Denmark’s Betina Jægera on a score of 71.340 percent in the CDI4* Grand Prix Special on Friday evening.
Tune into ClipMyHorse.tv on Sunday, July 22 for the CDIO5* Grand Prix Dressage of Aachen Freestyle Test at 3:45 a.m. ET.
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