ABOUT LAURA GRAVES

Laura Graves (born July 22, 1987) is an American dressage rider. She represented the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics where she won a bronze medal in the team dressage competition.


Growing up in Vermont, Laura rode her first pony at an early age when a family friend boarded two ponies at the Graves' farm. Laura and her sisters got attached to the ponies and eventually persuaded their parents to trade a washing machine and a tumble-drier in order to keep them. At the age of 15, Laura and her mother bought a foal named Verdades from the Netherlands, the horse that eventually became her Olympic partner.

 

Verdades, however, proved difficult as a young horse, and in 2009 Laura suffered a broken back after he threw her from the saddle. Following the setbacks, Laura decided to focus on cosmetology studies in Boston and sell the horse. Later on she moved back Florida and continued pursuing her career as a dressage rider after not being able to sell Verdades.

Laura and Verdades started competing at the international Grand Prix level in 2014 at the American Dressage Championships, held in Gladstone, New Jersey. The pair surprisingly placed 2nd overall and qualified directly for the 2014 World Equestrian Games. In the build-up towards the World Equestrian Games, Laura and Verdades competed at the CHIO Aachen 5* event, placing 10th in the freestyle final. At the World Games, held in Normandy, France, she finished fifth in the team, fifth in the freestyle and fifth in the special dressage competitions.

Graves opened the 2015 dressage season with the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she finished 4th, narrowly missing out on a podium finish. Later that year, she competed at the Pan American Games, which were held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She won a gold medal in the team and a silver medal in the individual dressage competition, behind fellow USET rider Steffen Peters.

In 2016, Graves competed at her first Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She won a bronze medal in the team competition and earned 4th position individually.

The following year, Graves and Verdades qualified to compete at the 2017 World Cup Finals in Omaha. She eventually finished in a runner-up position, behind Isabell Werth, and thus won her first individual medal.

 

In 2018, Graves successfully defended her silver medal at the FEI Dressage World Cup in Paris, France. Later that year Laura became the first American dressage rider to be ranked No. 1 in FEI World rankings, after an impressive finish at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC.

Career Highlights
2018
2017
  • 2nd Place World Cup Final Grand Prix & Grand Prix Freestyle Omaha

  • 1st Place CDI 5* Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle Adequan Global Dressage Festival 5

  • Team Silver Overall, Silver Medal Grand Prix Special, World Equestrian Games, Tryon

  • World #1 Ranking- Record Breaking Freestyle

  • Individual Silver Medal, World Cup Paris
    1st, CDI 5* Grand Prix at Aachen

     

2016
2015
  • Team Bronze Medal, Rio de Janiero Olympics

  • 1st PLACE FEI CDI5* Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special Adequan Global Dressage Festival 5

  • 1st PLACE CDI5* Grand Prix & Grand Prix Freestyle: Adequan Global Dressage Festival 10
     

  • Team Gold Medal, Pan American Games

  • Individual Silver Medal, Pan American Games

2014
  • 4th place, World Equestrian Games

  • 2nd Place United Dressage Festival of Champions Grand Prix Freestyle & Grand Prix Special