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Gothenburg, Sweden – April 5, 2019 – Riders representing the United States gave stellar performances in the first contest of what is shaping up to be quite a competitive FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final in Gothenburg, Sweden with the top eight riders scoring in the high 70s and 80s. Isabell Werth steered her two-time World Cup champion Weihegold OLD to victory in Friday’s Grand Prix, holding off challenges from a talented field, including her main rival, American Laura Graves. The top two riders of the FEI World Ranking list, Werth and Graves, placed in their respective, first and second placings, both with scores over 80 percent.

Laura Graves and Verdades

Kasey Perry-Glass laid down the gauntlet early, scoring a 77.267 percent on Goerklintgaards Dublet and concluding the first half of the class in the lead. World No. 2 combination of Graves and Verdades were the next American team to enter the ring, fourth-last to go. Some big early scores in her test suggested the American just might oust the defending double-champion, but there was a little bobble in extended trot and the final score of 80.109 left Werth on top.

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet

The U.S. dressage contingency, overall, had an impressive evening in Gothenburg. Not only did Graves place second and Perry-Glass finished in fourth place, their teammate, Adrienne Lyle, who is making her World Cup Finals debut, earned a 75.326 percent tied for eighth place on Betsy Juliano’s Salvino. All three rides are coached by Olympian Debbie McDonald, the new U.S. dressage technical advisor.

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino

Tomorrow’s Freestyle competition looks set to be another thriller, and the sold-out venue will be even more electric. The FEI World Cup Dressage Final title will be given following Saturday’s Grand Prix Freestyle, which will take place in the Scandinavium arena at 4 p.m. local time.

Laura Graves (USA) – Longines FEI World Cup™ Dressage Grand Prix second place

On her test:
“I was super thrilled with my horse today. He is known for being very sensitive to atmosphere but he felt actually very rideable and quite relaxed. Hopefully, that gives me a good idea of how to ride him tomorrow. There were just a couple of greedy mistakes on my part. We will hopefully get those straightened out before the freestyle tomorrow. Like Isabell said, I am incredibly hungry to be back on top of the podium and we are going to give it our best!”

Laura Graves and Verdades

On the freestyle:
“I know there is a real chance. I believe in this horse. He is 17 this year and I think he is in the best form of his life. I think there is always a chance and we are going to ride like there is no other chance except to win.”

On the American rides:
“It’s an exciting thing for us. We are all under 35 and that is really exciting for us as American to have 3 young women who have brought along these horses and have the drive and motivation to keep doing it with other horses for this team. To see all of our horses going neck-and-neck with the other great horses in the world is a really proud thing for us. I am really proud of every rider we put forward and to be stamping our own American training on these horses.”

On her plan for the Olympics:
“I’m looking forward to Tokyo. It’s a day by day thing with Diddy. We weren’t even sure he would come and do a season this year. Every fall I wait for him to tell me what he wants to do and every fall he gets a little bit naughty so he goes back to work. This year will be no exception, he has done so much for me so the year that he says ‘Mom that is enough,’ then he stays home.”

Kasey Perry-Glass (USA) – fourth place

On her test:
“It felt great. I feel like it was a really great atmosphere, very friendly. He went into it really confident. He caught me off guard because he sucked back a little bit in the trot work, which I am not used to, usually he gets a little bit lit. My first piaffe was a little bit iffy but we were able to get it back and make up a lot of points in our canter work. I felt like he was very rideable today and he came out and made an impression and showed off his best work so I am very happy.”

On her partnership with Goerklintgaards Dublet:
“It feels good to have confidence! He gives me confidence and I am learning to give him confidence. We are growing together and I just couldn’t be more proud of him and how his scores keep coming up. He is starting to get really consistent so I am really proud of him.”

Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet

On U.S. chef d’equipe Debbie McDonald’s advice before entering the ring:
“I get popcorn if I do a really good job, which is always a motivation for me! She is very confident in us and we do our work at home. He came out feeling fresh and ready to go so she had all the confidence in the world.”

Adrienne Lyle (USA) – tied in eighth place

On Salvino’s performance:
“I am thrilled with my horse today. This is Salvino’s first World Cup, my first World Cup and his first ever indoor show so this has been a lot for him to take in. He has been a little bit wide-eyed in some of the places — we had a little bit of spook in one of the corners but then he settled into it by the end. I really could not have asked for more from him for his first time in this environment.”

On the Freestyle:
“I think now he has had a chance to get in there once and see all of the venue, I think he will be a little more relaxed. I think there is still a little bit more power and energy we can keep more consistently when he is just a touch more relaxed. I am just really looking forward to riding my first World Cup freestyle!”

Adrienne Lyle and Salvino

On U.S. chef d’equipe Debbie McDonald’s advice before entering the ring:
“Debbie is wonderful, I have been with her for almost 14 years now and having her voice in your ear is like being at home, it makes you comfortable. She has been there from the very beginning.I also want to thank my amazing owner Besty Juliano for supporting myself, Salvino and this journey.”

On representing the USA:
“This is huge. Debbie did the World Cup here some time ago quite famously. I have always heard of this venue and dreamed of what it would be like to be here riding on your own horse. It is such an incredible honor. To be here with the other girls from the US, Kasey and Laura, who are amazing teammates and friends, it is just such a magical place. It is a fun crowd, they are really enthusiastic and a really fun venue to ride at.”

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