Dressage

Laura Graves Just Joined Dressage’s Most Elusive Club


American dressage phenom Laura Graves has been officially inaugurated into the “80% Club.”

She’s now one of only 14 riders in the world to have scored 80 or above in a CDI 5* competition.

Graves and her Olympic partner Verdades scored an 80.080% in Thursday’s FEI Grand Prix CDI 5* to log their third consecutive victory at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL.

“This is pretty monumental for us,” said Graves. “We’ve been working at 80% in every test for a while now, probably since our first year at Grand Prix. Knowing what was possible with this horse and to be rewarded today while still feeling like I may have some improvements left, it’s encouraging to have the judging panel be generous and my horse be so generous, and for us to have such a great show to come out and compete at.”

She now joins the likes of teammate Steffen Peters (USA), Germany’s Isabel Werth and Kristina Broring-Sphrehe, and Great Britain’s Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin in the elusive 80% Club. To put that accomplishment in perspective to just about no one, it’s the dressage equivalent of a 1%er outlaw biker. Bad ass.

“When Laura got her 80%, I got goose bumps,” said Tinne Vilhelmson Silfven (SWE). “It’s a cool thing to have. I was really happy [for her]. It was my best memory from today.”

Peters and Rosamunde finished second with a score of 73.820%. Silfven and Paridon Magi took third with 73.700%.

For those keeping track (read: everyone), Graves now holds four of the seven scores of 80% or above ever recorded at AGDF.

It’s worth noting that while Thursday’s performance marks Graves’ first 5* 80%, she’s no stranger to 80s in championship setting. With Verdades, she scored an 82.036% in the Freestyle at the World Equestrian Games in 2014. They also picked up 80.644% in the Grand Prix Special and 85.196% in the Freestyle at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.

You could say, 80% is just what they do…