Excerpt from the May issue of Heels Down Magazine.
Laura Graves caught the attention of the world last summer when she nabbed a Bronze medal in the Olympic Games in Rio. She wowed us again when she kicked off the 2017 season by becoming the second American to break an FEI Grand Prix score of 80% – which she did five times in a row. Then, at the FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in April, she laid down a personal best score of 85.307% to secure second place for the USA.
Her swift rise to the top of the sport of dressage after beginning her career as a hairdresser, her 15-year-long partnership with Verdades, and her humble, down-to-earth personality make her one of the easiest athletes to cheer for.
Heels Down Magazine caught up with Laura to learn more about her Olympic routine, how she handles the intensity at the top of the sport, and what it’s like to be a member of the United States Olympic Dressage Team.
HDM: One day you were just a girl riding a horse, and then something happened that brought you to the top of the sport. If you think back, what changed the story?
Graves: The turning point in my career was mostly just a change in my mindset. I decided to sink all of my time, energy and money into making my horse and my training career everything that I knew it could be. If there was something I knew I needed to be better (lessons, equipment, vets), I would find a way to make it happen. It was about taking charge of my – our – future.