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Verdades: the sensational dressage horse who ‘trotted like a hackney’

It’s all thanks to the determination of his only rider that this sensitive gelding defied the odds to become one of dressage’s inspirations, discovers Alice Collins

WHEN Verdades landed on US soil for the first time, the long journey from Europe hadn’t treated the weanling kindly. In fact, the young horse who would go on to be an American dressage sensation spent the first weeks in his adopted country living in a vet hospital having pus drained from his skull.

For a horse who ended up as world number one, he overcame tremendous adversity. But where he finally found his groove was as a reliable, high-scoring international grand prix competitor. It was only through his young owner Laura Graves’ bloody-minded determination and unwavering belief in the talented, sensitive gelding that he became anything of note at all. Laura was his only rider and their steadfast bond was the foundation for their greatness.

The pair helped the US team to win medals at both the Rio Olympics in 2016 and the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tryon.

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