June 25, 2016 -- The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team of Shelly Francis and Doktor, Laura Graves and Verdades, Kasey Perry-Glass and Goerklintgaards Dublet, and Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 took the Silver medal in a close Nations Cup competition in Rotterdam Saturday. Graves led the way for the U.S., winning the Grand Prix Special. In the CDI3*, the U.S. earned two top placings in the Grand Prix Special with Peters taking the win aboard Rosamunde and Allison Brock and Rosevelt placing third. Rotterdam was the last of three designated observation events as part of the selection process for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Dressage Team.
"I could not be more proud of our American riders and horses here in Rotterdam," said a proud Chef d'Equipe Robert Dover. "With wins in both CDI3* and CDIO5* classes by Steffen Peters and Laura Graves, and many other top placings, our U.S. squad was simply brilliant, culminating with the second-place finish in the Nations Cup. Our nine combinations showed why they have become a true world power as we head toward Rio. Many thanks to the great support team we have, including the fabulous grooms, Hallye Griffin, Dr. Rick Mitchell, Kenny Barker, Will Connell, Andy Thomas, and the personal trainers, Debbie McDonald, Michael Barisone, and Arnd Erben. We are so grateful to our amazing owners, sponsors, and fans here and around the world! Go Team USA!"
Going into Saturday's second and final day of Nations Cup competition, the U.S. sat in second on a total of 226.92, behind the home team of The Netherlands, who led on a total of 231.58. The U.S. was able to build on their solid performances in the Grand Prix from day one and put continued pressure on The Netherlands. Ultimately, the U.S. placed second on a total of 455.649, while the home country took the win on 460.167. Sweden placed third on a total of 444.573.
The CDIO5* Rotterdam format called for two members of each team to represent their country in the Grand Prix Special while the remaining two compete in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Graves and Perry-Glass began to day for the U.S. Team in the Grand Prix Special. Graves (Geneva, Fla.) and her own Verdades were the final combination to go in the class and showcased their signature power and expression throughout the test to score a winning 77.314%, going one better than their second-place finish in the Grand Prix.
Perry-Glass (Orangevale, Calif.) and Diane Perry's Goerklintgaards Dublet scored 71.765%, placing them fifth.
Concluding the Nations Cup was the Grand Prix Freestyle. Francis (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Patricia Stempel's Doktor were the lead-off combination for the U.S., scoring 72.800%. Capping off an immensely successful weekend, Peters rode Four Winds Farm's Legolas 92 in a brilliant and energetic Freestyle test, featuring music from U2 and Vanilla Ice; it pleased both the crowd and the judges to score 79.650%, placing them in second by a slim margin. Sweden's Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven and Don Auriello won the class with a score of 79.750%.
"Today was a day for the history books for the U.S. here at Rotterdam," said Peters. "Personally, winning the CDI3* [Grand Prix Special] with Rosamunde and coming so close to the win in the CDIO5* [Grand Prix Freestyle] with Legolas was so exciting. I am most pleased about Legolas though. It was a full house in the arena with a very electric atmosphere. Going around the arena [before the test] I was waiting for him to act up, but he was perfect. It was one of his best Freestyles. It is so exciting to be second at Rotterdam."
In the Grand Prix Special, Peters and Brock matched their Grand Prix placings from Friday, once again taking first and third, respectively. Peters and Four Winds Farm's Rosamunde again impressed the judging panel with their harmony, executing clean half-passes and wonderful extensions to score 75.157%.
"Rosamunde came in as the favorite today and that pressure is never easy, but she delivered just as well as yesterday [in the Grand Prix] and the judges rewarded her with a win," said Peters.
Maintaining consistent form, Brock (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Claudine and Fritz Kundrun's Rosevelt displayed an accurate performance, and though the stallion lacked some energy, was able to deliver solid expression throughout the test to score 73.176%.
Arlene "Tuny" Page (Wellington, Fla.) and her own Woodstock also landed near the top of the leaderboard, scoring 70.980% and placing fifth.
Competing in the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle, Francis and Patricia Stempel's Danilo placed sixth with a score of 70.950%. Guenter Seidel (Cardiff, Calif.) and James and Charlotte Mashburn's Zero Gravity rounded out the American contingent, placing 12th on a score of 66.675%.
Peters reflected on the great team energy the U.S. squad has this summer, saying "I am so thankful for the whole team that we have with Hallye [Griffin] and Robert [Dover] taking the lead. They do so much behind-the-scenes for not just riders, but for the family members and support staff. They put in 18 hours a day and never complain. It is absolutely amazing to be a part of, and to have such dedicated team leaders."
Further information regarding the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team selection process can be found on USEF.org. All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
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