When dressage takes place in the sunny warmth of Wellington, beauty abounds. Especially when it’s American sweetheart Laura Graves leading the Grand Prix CDI5* (the qualifier for the freestyle) at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival on her Olympic superstar, Verdades, or “Diddy”.

Laura her 16-year-old KWPN gelding scored a 79.543% to lead by a hefty 6%. She and Verdades are currently undefeated in their thee-stars at the AGDF, and her victory on February 8 showed us that 2018 is shaping up to be another year in which Laura and Verdades are the pair to beat.

Olivia LaGoy-Weltz won the FEI Grand Prix CDI5* (qualifier for the special) on 14-year-old Danish gelding Lonoir, a horse that she developed and brought up the levels. The pair completed their first FEI event together – a CDI1*- in 2014.

Photographer Shannon Brinkman captured some breathtaking moments of elegance and grace during the CDI5*  from week 5 of the AGDF.