Sports are inherently mental; the mind controls every movement and reaction of even the most well-prepared body. Horse sports are unique in many ways, but particularly when it comes to the power of the mind. It’s a game of skill as much as power, of calculated risk as much as athleticism.

It’s also nerve-wracking as all hell. And not just for the riders.

Riders who are working on their mental game can often be found visualizing their tests and courses, meditating, and working with sports psychologists. But what about their four-legged counterparts? Although the elite horses of international competition may seem invincible, some are surprisingly sensitive - including Laura Graves’ indomitable Verdades.

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