Laura Graves, 31, a Fayston native, was recently named the 2018 USEF Equestrian of the Year by the United States Equestrian Federation, awarded on January 10 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Harwood graduate has an impressive resume: Olympic bronze medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Graves also has world championship top finishes; in 2014 she finished in fourth for team and fifth individual. In the 2015 Pan American Games, Graves gained a gold medal for the team and a silver medal for individual.

Graves and her horse, Verdades, were the first American team to become the No. 1 dressage combination in world dressage. Graves also was awarded the William C. Steinkraus Trophy at an awards banquet and based on a nationwide ballot of U.S. Equestrian Federation members.

The dynamic duo also won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix that allows them to compete for the World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, in April. Graves and her horse were runner-up two years in a row to Germany’s rider in 2017 and 2018.

She and Verdades won team gold and individual silver at the 2015 Pan American Games, team bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the two silvers at the 2018 World Equestrian Games that led to the pair becoming the first American to top the world rankings.

She is the daughter of Ron and Freddie Graves of Fayston.