Hometown: Plymouth, Florida
Laura Graves, an accomplished international FEI competitor and USDF Gold Medalist, has been studying the art of dressage for over 20 years. Her mount, Verdades, was chosen from a video by her mother as a foal. Graves advanced him up the levels herself with the guidance of several top trainers.
In 2012, Graves and Verdades led Team USA II to a third-place finish in the WEF Wellington Dressage Nations Cup CDIO3* presented by Stillpoint Farm. Individually, the pair was third in the Prix St. Georges and fourth in the Intermediaire Freestyle. At the 2012 USEF Dressage Festival of Champions, Graves and Verdades were eighth overall in the USEF Intermediaire I National Championship.
In 2013, Graves competed Verdades at the Intermediaire II level. At the GAIG/USDF Region 3 Dressage Championships, the pair was second in the Intermediaire II Championship. They then traveled to the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan and claimed top honors in the Intermediaire II Open Championship.
Graves has had her biggest year to date in 2014. Beginning the year at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), she moved Verdades up to the Grand Prix level and won the National Grand Prix during week three. The pair had another great performance during week seven, coming in second in the CDI3* Grand Prix Special. Graves and Verdades then scored two more second-place finishes during the final week of the AGDF in the CDI3* Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle. They then traveled to the KDA 28th Annual Dressage Show, where they were second in the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle.
On a roll, Graves competed Verdades in the U.S. Dressage Festival of Championship presented by The Dutta Corp. They were second in the Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestlye, tied for fourth in the Grand Prix, and finished second overall in The Dutta Corp./USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship. Their performance earned them a spot on the Short List for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games U.S. Dressage Team, enabling them to compete in Europe for the first time.
At CDI4* Fritzens-Schindlhof, Graves and Verdades scored two second-place finishes in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special. Two weeks later at CDIO5* Aachen, they were eighth in the Grand Prix Special and tied for 10th in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Graves made her World Championship debut at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, having a phenomenal showing with Verdades. Together they were 10th in the Grand Prix, eighth in the Grand Prix Special, and fifth in the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 82.036%, in addition to helping the U.S. Team to a fourth-place finish.
Graves and Verdades began 2015 with a win in the Grand Prix Freestyle and second in the Grand Prix at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W. During week 10 of the AGDF, the pair won the CDI-W Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle. Graves and Verdades closed out their time on the Florida circuit by helping USA Team I win Gold in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup and earning the Individual Gold medal for collecting top honors in the Stillpoint Farm CDIO3* Freestyle. At the 2015 Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Final, the pair finished fourth overall after placing fourth in the Grand Prix Freestyle and fifth in the Grand Prix.