Graves Debuts A New Winning Freestyle At AGDF CDI*****

Feb 9, 2018 - 11:46 PM

Wellington, Fla.—Feb. 9

As the press conference for tonight’s Adequan Global Dressage Festival CDI***** Grand Prix freestyle began, Laura Graves was nowhere to be found, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Graves and Verdades had just completed their victory lap after winning the class with an 84.37%, and she had her hands full.

“Now his new thing is to kind of bottle in his excitement until after,” she said with a smile as she sat down about five minutes late. “We’re kind of having trouble getting back to the barn these days! That’s why I’ve been tardy. I apologize.”

“Diddy” seemed full of energy after his Grand Prix win yesterday, and Graves was excited to debut her new freestyle in front of a packed crowd under the lights.

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

“I was very pleased with the run through of our new floor plan,” said Graves, Oviedo, Florida. “You never really know. I had only actually ridden it one time at home, and that was for Terry [Gallo] to get the timing. I don’t practice my freestyles a lot. I struggle with that. I love to perform them but I hate to practice them. That’s maybe where I need to do my homework a little bit better.”

Graves had a new canter tour and several pirouettes, but opted to leave out the tempi changes on a curved line.

“He had a good school earlier today,” she said. “I did bring him out again after the class started and just stretched him out. He warmed up really super. I felt like he was quite on point for all of my riding. Of course he didn’t know where we were going, which is good for him.”

Laura Graves and Verdades. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Graves said there’s still some tweaking to do on her freestyle, and she’s hoping to have it ready for the FEI World Cup Final in Paris in April.

“Even though we’re not using the FEI floor plan freestyle creator here or in the World Cup qualifiers, it is a big part of my preparation for Paris if we make it,” she said. “It will be used in the Final. Taking away a little bit of the risk of putting the changes on the curved line actually didn’t gain us as many points as doubling up on our pirouettes. It ended up being a little bit of a math equation, and big thanks to Terry Gallo who always steps in when I have a last minute great idea. She makes me a disc to turn it in at the show office on a Wednesday. I couldn’t do it without her, and I’m really pleased with how the music turned out.”

Graves has one more World Cup qualifier to complete before she can start making plans for Paris.

Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven and Paridon Magi finished second with a 78.50%. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.
Shelly Francis and Doktor finished third with a 74.15%. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Watch Graves’ test here.

For full results, click here.

For more coverage from AGDF, click here.


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