Wellington, Fla. – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team placed second in a highly competitive $150,000 FEI Nations Cup at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Competing in a seven-team field, the team of Georgina Bloomberg, Audrey Coulter, Laura Kraut, and Beezie Madden ended on a two-round total of eight faults.
Leading off for the U.S. was Bloomberg (New York, N.Y.) with Gotham Enterprizes, LLC’s Lilli, who set a positive tone for the evening, jumping clear over the Steve Stephens-designed track. Riding in only her third Nations Cup, Coulter (San Francisco, Calif.) followed suit with Copernicus Stables, LLC’s Capital Colnardo, and produced another score of zero for USA. Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) entered the arena next with Old Willow Farms, LLC’s Zeremonie and sealed round one with another clear round. The clear efforts of the first three U.S. combinations deemed it unnecessary for anchor rider Madden to jump.
The U.S. team was not able to breathe easy entering round two as Ireland sat tied on zero faults and Mexico was a close third on five faults. The round proved to be a close contest with the final result resting on the anchor riders. Bloomberg began round two with an eight-fault effort, but both Coulter and Kraut jumped clear.
Ireland’s first three riders jumped two four-fault rounds and a clear. As penultimate in the order, Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s Simon had an uncharacteristic misstep at fence three that resulted in the pair’s retirement on course. With Ireland’s anchor rider going clear, the Irish won on a two-round total of four faults.
“We felt really confident coming in and felt good after the first round. We had a really good night; it was just a tough way to end. That’s show jumping though; that’s sport,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.
The U.S. team showcased great up-and-coming talent this evening with Coulter marking the first double-clear performance of her career with her efforts.
“I have been on teams before, and this was the first time I’ve been able to come back for the second round. To jump double-clear was really special,” said Coulter. “He was a little nervous in the first round, and then in the second, he took a breath a really performed well.”
Kraut’s mount Zeremonie was contesting her first Nations Cup and performed beautifully under the electric atmosphere, producing the second double-clear effort for the U.S.
“I was really happy with my horse tonight. It was her first time doing anything like this – she’s never jumped at night and she’s never jumped two rounds. I am really happy with the way she performed,” said Kraut.
The U.S team will all move forward to compete in Sunday’s $216,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO4* Grand Prix.
Palm Beach, FL – November 25, 2015 – The fourth annual Trump Invitational, presented by Rolex, will be held on Sunday, January 3, 2016, at the beautiful Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, FL. World-class show jumping will be presented along with a special VIP experience overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. This unique event features the $130,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix CSI 2*, presented by Rolex, and the $10,000 Junior/Amateur Jumper class.
The $130,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, will showcase some of the world’s top riders in an FEI world ranking competition. World Number Two ranked rider Kent Farrington was the victor in the first two editions of the event, while Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut captured the top prize last year.
“I’m excited to return to the Trump Invitational, presented by Rolex, again this year,” Farrington said. “The riders always look forward to it every winter because it’s truly a unique venue to showcase our sport. Hopefully I can make it a three-peat in 2016.”
Kraut added, “With perfect weather and fantastic footing, last year’s Trump Invitational, presented by Rolex, was so much fun. The location is gorgeous, and I can’t wait to return this winter and defend my title.”
“We look forward to welcoming back equestrians and spectators in 2016,” said event organizer Mark Bellissimo. “The grand prix offers a great start to the winter season for the riders with world ranking points on the line. It is a day of fundraising for the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments®, and we know that this year’s event will help us raise more than $1.5 million once again for local Palm Beach County charities.”
The Trump Invitational, presented by Rolex, quickly became one of the most special events on the equestrian calendar with ringside tables bordering two sides of the jumping arena. Guests are welcomed with a red carpet entrance poolside at The Mar-a-Lago Club. A fabulous theme highlights each year’s decorations as the VIP area welcomes equestrians and celebrities with a gourmet brunch buffet, special drinks, and the opportunity to watch equestrian sport at one of the most breathtaking venues in the world.
The Trump Invitational is the only equestrian event ever to be held on Palm Beach Island and is hosted at The Mar-a-Lago Club, the former Marjorie Merriweather Post Estate built in 1924 and purchased and restored by Donald Trump in 1985. It is one of the most magnificent mansions in the world, is in the national register of historic places, and is a designated U.S National Landmark.
The event will benefit the 2016 Great Charity Challenge (GCC), which has raised over $7.5 million dollars over the last six years for more than 150 Palm Beach County charities. Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the GCC, will be the Chairperson for the Trump Invitational, presented by Rolex. It will also serve as the kickoff party for the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival, the 12-week circuit that runs at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on January 13 to April 3, 2016.
Following the grand prix is a special invitational junior/amateur jumper class that will highlight some of the top junior and amateur riders in the sport.
Riders who would like to participate in either the grand prix or the junior/amateur class, please email Michael Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Kraut and Nouvelle (Nacho Olano Photography)
Barcelona, Spain – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team was in top form today as it secured a spot in the final round of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final for the first time in the season-closer’s three year history. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, the team of Lucy Davis, Lauren Hough, Laura Kraut, and Beezie Madden finished the first round of the prestigious competition on nine faults, tying for fourth place with Great Britain. As part of the top eight teams from the first round, the U.S. team will compete in Saturday’s final round.
Setting the U.S. off to a strong start was Kraut (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and the Evita Group’s Nouvelle, a 2004 KWPN mare. Kraut and Nouvelle were one of only 13 combinations in the 76-horse field to leave all the rails up, but added one time penalty to their total. Next to go was Davis (Los Angeles, Calif.), who piloted Barron, a 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Old Oak Farm, to a 12-fault total. The pair had rails down at fences two, five, and 12B, but was in the elite group to finish within the time allowed of 81 seconds. Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and The Ohlala Group’s Ohlala, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare, were next for the U.S. to take on the Santiago Varela-designed course. Displaying their signature speed, the pair finished well inside the time, but had the top rail down at fence five. Anchoring the U.S. team was Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’, a 2002 Belgium Warmblood gelding. With just a rail down at fence eight, the pair ensured the team’s berth to the final round.
Belgium won the first round on five faults, followed by Germany and Sweden, who tied for second on eight faults. Great Britain, The Netherlands, Ireland, and Switzerland also secured spots in the final round.
Competition for the Nations Cup title gets underway on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. ET and can be viewed live on FEITV.org.
Hickstead, GBR – The Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team put forth a great effort in Friday’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain presented by Longines at CSIO5* Hickstead. At the end of the two rounds, the U.S. team, consisting of Laura Kraut, Charlie Jayne, Beezie Madden, and Todd Minikus, was tied with Belgium and Switzerland with a total of four faults, requiring a jump-off. Madden returned to the Hickstead Stadium with Cortes ‘C’, but an unlucky eight-fault round put the U.S. team in third place at the end of an exciting day of competition.
“First off, it was a spectacular Nations Cup, with good weather and great footing at probably one of the most traditional venues there is here at Hickstead. Our team had a really good day today,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “We put ourselves right in the mix, which we always seem to do. We had a very good second round, as we have several times this year. Then jump-offs, of course, are where things are won in the sport. We would have loved it if we won, but we are honored to be in the position we are in and finish.”
The U.S. team began its day at the Longines Royal International Horse Show jumping sixth in the order of eight teams. Pathfinders Kraut and Nouvelle, the Evita Group’s 2004 KWPN mare, had a single rail at fence nine for four faults. Jayne was next with Alex Jayne and Maura Thatcher’s 2003 Zangersheide stallion, Chill R Z, having a rail at fence two and a single time fault for a total of five faults. Minikus and Babalou 41, a 2005 Oldenburg mare owned by Two Swans Farm, laid down the first clear round for the U.S. team. Madden and Cortes ‘C’ followed suite by scoring another clear round, giving the U.S. team a first round total of four faults, putting them in third place.
For the second round, Kraut and Nouvelle improved upon their initial performance to go clear. Jayne and Chill R Z unfortunately had rails at fences nine and 12 for eight faults. Minikus and Babalou 41 and Madden and Cortes ‘C’ went clear to be amongst the nine combinations to have double-clear rounds. Adding nothing to its first-round total of four, the U.S. team was tied with Belgium and Switzerland at the end of the second round, leading to a jump-off to determine the winning team.
Madden and Cortes ‘C’ were chosen for the jump-off and were the first combination to enter the arena. However, a win was not meant to be, as a rail came down at 4A followed by a runout at 4B for eight faults. Belgium claimed top honors as Pieter Devos and Dylano clocked a clear round in a time of 42.60 to finish ahead of Switzerland’s Janika Sprunger and Bonne Chance Cw with their clear round in a time of 44.17.
Olympic pair Laura Kraut and Cedric. Photo By: Erin Cowgill.
Lexington, KY – July 7, 2015 – Renowned Olympian and show jumper Laura Kraut has become an official advocate for Brooke USA, the American arm of the world’s largest international equine welfare organization, the Brooke.
A prominent horsewoman and competitor on the global stage, Kraut is no stranger to advocating for a better world. While she has used horses to ride and compete on behalf of other causes in the past, this time it is horses themselves that she will be fighting to help.
As an official Brooke USA Advocate, Kraut hopes to bring attention to the plight of working equines and the people who depend on them in the world’s poorest countries.
For more than 80 years the Brooke has improved the living and working conditions of horses, donkeys and mules in developing nations. Through direct veterinary intervention and scientific research, and by working with owners, communities, and governments, last year alone the Brooke reached nearly 1.5 million equines. As a result, six million people directly benefited in countries where many of those people earn less than a dollar a day.
The Brooke alleviates unspeakable suffering in equines who would otherwise live their entire lives in misery due to exhaustion, dehydration, malnourishment, crippling injuries, abuse and disease, before dying in obscurity.
“How could you not want to help?” Kraut said. “Looking at the Brooke’s photographs and hearing the stories will initially bring you to tears, but it quickly turns to hope and excitement when you learn about their practical, proven, sustainable solutions to these serious equine welfare issues.” She continued, “While we may jump for sport, these owners are counting on the income generated by their animals to keep their children from going hungry each night.”
The Brooke works at the community and national levels in 11 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Brooke USA, headquartered at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, exists to support the overseas programs of the Brooke. It is growing rapidly due to the generous support and advocacy of respected horsemen and women like Kraut.
One of the most successful riders in the game today, Kraut’s competition resume is significant. She was a gold-medal winner for the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games, a member of the silver medal World Equestrian Games team at Aachen in 2006, has had successful performances at World Cup Finals and several Nation’s Cup teams, not to mention more than 100 Grand Prix wins.
Cindy Rullman, Fundraising Development Manager for Brooke USA, said, “When a competitor of Laura Kraut’s stature has the vision to recognize a global need and is willing to jump in to help, we’re all better for it. The possibilities are very exciting because if the elite show jumping community embraces the work of the Brooke, the potential exists for widespread suffering to be alleviated on a massive scale. It’s that simple and that important.”
Kraut joins the ranks of Cherry Knoll Farm’s Margaret Duprey, high performance dressage riders Allison Brock and Shannon Dueck, as well as Olympic medalist Debbie McDonald as a public supporter of the Brooke USA. Other Global Ambassadors include British double Olympic Gold Medalist Charlotte Dujardin and respected “horse whisperer” Monty Roberts, among others.
While her performance in the saddle is something to be respected in its own right, her advocacy of Brooke USA is certainly another title to add to her contributions to the equestrian community.
Brooke USA is a 501(c)(3) charity and exists solely to support the overseas work of the Brooke. For more information about Brooke USA, please contact Cindy Rullman: 859-296-0037, Cindy.Rullman@BrookeUSA.org, or visit www.brookeusa.org.
Kraut awarded Master fratelli d’Inzeo trophy as Leader Rider
Rome, Italy – May 27, 2015 – As the CSIO 5* Rome 2015 – fratelli d’Inzeo Masters at Piazza di Siena came to a close on Sunday, America’s Laura Kraut showed no signs of slowing down. The Olympian finished seventh in the Lord Piana Grand Prix City of Rome with long-time partner, the 17-year-old Cedric, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, in their usual speedy fashion.
Kraut and Cedric were one of only four horse and rider combinations to master Uliano Vezzani’s first round course, a track that tested athletes with large obstacles, a technical design and a tight time allowed of only 74 seconds. Kraut and the grey Holsteiner gelding navigated the course in 73.07 seconds without incurring fault, guaranteeing their return at the top of the 25 percent to come back for the second round.
“I thought the course was fantastic,” Kraut said. “I thought the first round course was great. It was big, very difficult. The time allowed was right on-I was just under. I think he did a brilliant job, four clear out of 50 in that group, and with that caliber of athletes is exceptional.”
The second round proved to be equally as big. Thirteen horses took on the subsequent track, but none would go without penalty. Kraut and Cedric had an unlucky four faults, capturing the seventh place.
“It was such a pity; we would have won it easily,” Kraut explained. “It was one of those oxers with the big brush in the middle of it. He jumped it really high in the first round, as he does. When I came back for the jump off, I went a little quicker and he got up in the air and tried to bank off of it with his back legs. He was definitely not having a fence down; he was jumping so carefully, and he really just kicked back at it. The winner had one time fault and it was one of those opportunities that slipped away from you. He just did a funny, silly move.”
Had the top 25 percent of the class not been called back for the second round, Kraut and Cedric, on the strength of their first round clear, would have finished in third place with their time of 45.89 seconds.
“He deserved to win it,” Kraut said. “He felt fantastic. Honestly, he feels as good as ever. I am really thrilled with him, and I hope he keeps going like this. If he does, we could be doing this at this same time next year, which would be nice. He jumped such a beautiful round, and aside from the silly move in the second round, he was perfect.”
Cristina, daughter of the great Piero d’Inzeo, and Guido, son of Master fratelli d’Inzeo’s much-loved brother Raimondo, presented Kraut with the Master fratelli d’Inzeo trophy at the conclusion of the grand prix. Kraut placed third on Saturday with Deauville S, owned by Old Willow Farm, a ranking that when combined with her seventh place award on Sunday netted her the Leading Rider recognition.
“It is such an honor to be recognized with such a prestigious trophy,” Kraut elaborated. “The d’Inzeo brothers are two of the most famous riders in history. They unfortunately have passed away, but I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet them several years ago. They have created a legacy, and this show in particular is one of my favorites.”
Cedric’s owner, Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knoll Farm, was onsite in Rome to watch the action unfold. She was thrilled with the 17-year-old horse’s form and rounds. Kraut plans on showing Cherry Knoll Farm’s Constable next week during the Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show on the famous beach of Pampelonne in Ramatuelle, on the peninsula of Saint-Tropez. Combining glamour and top-level sport, the world’s best riders will meet in a fantastic setting from June 4-6, 2015.
“It has been great. I am really happy. If things keep going along the same lines, I would be a very happy girl,” Kraut concluded.
May 16 2015 – The sun shone on super Saturday as more than 10,000 spectators were wowed by another fantastic day of competition and equestrian displays. World-class showjumpers, including Ben Maher, Laura Kraut and Peter Charles, battled it out in CS13* classes. The marathon phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix proved to be popular as ever as it drew in hordes of fans ready to witness the drivers masterfully steer their course through a combination of obstacles.
SHOWJUMPING: LAURA KRAUT CLAIMS HER WINDSOR FIRST
Despite winning two national classes earlier this week, and having been a regular visitor for many years, an international win at Royal Windsor Horse Show had eluded Laura Kraut. But, in front of a packed crown, the former Olympic Gold Medallist changed that today by taking top place in the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup.
With a midway draw in the 10-strong jump-off, Laura produced a superbly quick round and held the lead by a huge margin of over five seconds from Britain’s Robert Smith [Bavi].
“It was a fun round to ride,” said Laura. “She [Nouvelle] has been unlucky with injuries and sickness – and after investigation, she was found to have cysts on her ovaries [which have now been treated].
“She’s now much happier and I am so pleased for her owners [Evita Group]. It’s also really nice to give [my other top horse] Cedric a bit of a break.”
France’s Adeline Hécart also secured her first Royal Windsor Horse Show win during her first visit to the event. She did it in fine style in the Falcon Stakes riding Question d’Orval.
“The show is amazing,” she said. “Everything is organised with the horse in mind and the ground and atmosphere are so good. I really hope I can come here again.”
The USA’s Emily Moffitt and HHS Fafa continued their run of good form at Windsor by securing a second win of the week, this time in the Martin Collins Enterprises Speed Stakes.
DRIVING: EXELL LEADS THE PACK
The battle for the lead in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix was a dramatically contested one through the second phase – the cross-country marathon. With less than 1.5 penalties separating the top three competitors at this stage – 2014 winner Chester Weber from the USA, six times winner Boyd Exell from Australia, and five times winner Ijsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands – meant they pushed their horses and themselves to the limit, mindful that fractions of a second in an obstacle could make a difference. New obstacle timings were constantly being recorded, only to be replaced by the next driver storming through.
Going in reverse order of placing, Chardon threw down the gauntlet with a blistering, fluently driven round that certainly ensured he kept his third place at this stage. Exell, however, gave no quarter – driving cleanly and with breathtaking precision he recorded the fastest time in six of the obstacles. Chardon drove with exemplary skill and care but was unable, in the main, to match the times of the other two.
The results as they go into the final cone driving phase tomorrow are Exell in first place, 4 penalties ahead of Weber. Chardon is in third place, less than 2 penalties behind Weber. Exell will be hoping to clinch his seventh win in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix tomorrow, which will put him just one behind Great Britain’s legendary driver, George Bowman, who is still competing here.
The smaller field of pony four-in-hands saw the overnight winner, Holland’s Bram Chardon – son of Ijsbrand – increase his lead with a stunning win in the marathon. Impressing the crowd with his immaculate rein-handling, he has a 20-penalty lead over his closest challenger Tinne Bax from Belgium. Sara Howe from Great Britain drove a good marathon to put her in sixth place overall.
SHOWING: FAMILY FORTUNES IN MOUNTAIN AND MOORLAND WORKING HUNTER PONY
Brother and sister Charlie and Tori Oakes from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire pulled off a remarkable feat with one taking the mountain and moorland working hunter pony championship and the other being awarded the reserve. Tori, 23, claimed the top spot riding her 7-year-old highland gelding, Cairns Fergus, while younger brother Charlie, 13, won his class and was reserve with the Countess of Shrewsbury’s homebred welsh section B gelding, Chetwynd Caspar.
The show pony championship, one of the most prestigious on the circuit, took place in front of a capacity crowd who clearly enjoyed the sight of Britain’s finest animals. The title went to North Somerset based Lucile Bywater with Broadgrove Only You, an 8-year-old 138cm campaigner, bred and owned by her grandmother Ann Fowler.
Tomorrow promises to be an action-packed finals day which will ensure the Royal Windsor Horse Show 2015 will go out on a high. The hotly anticipated CSI3* Alltech Grand Prix will feature a number of the top British riders hoping for victory on home soil and the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix will no doubt draw to a climax with the top drivers in the world battling it out for first place.
Once again there will be a feast of equine entertainment taking place throughout Sunday with performances carrying on into the early evening, including the Musical Ride of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and the Musical Drive of The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.rwhs.co.uk.
Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place on 13-17 May 2015. Over 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the 72nd year of the Royal Windsor Horse Show which offers its audience astounding displays in the main Castle Arena, such as The Musical Ride from the Household Calvary and The King’s Troop Musical Drive, the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National. As well as the equestrian competitions and activities, there are over 230 shops in the Shopping Village, with a wide range of goods for sale, from jewellery and fashion, to food and drink. HM The Queen has attended every year since it started in 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. Royal Windsor Horse Show is organised by HPower Group, also organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show www.hpower.co.uk.
Royal Windsor Horse Show’s official charity is the ABF Soldiers Charity. The show was first set up in 1943 by King George VI in order to raise funds for the war effort and has ever since continued to donate thousands of pounds to veterans and serving soldiers in need of help.
Ocala, Florida (February 15, 2015): Five days of FEI jumping classes boasting over $400,000 in prize money came to a close today at HITS Ocala CSIO4*, but not without a nail-biting finish in the $150,000 FEI Ocala Grand Prix. Laura Kraut of Wellington, Florida, aboard Cedric, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, cruised through the jump-off besting six to take home the blue ribbon and this week’s largest individual purse.
Featuring 15 efforts set at an impressive 1.60m, a field of 40 took on the course designed by Martin Otto of Muenster, Germany. The first seven to go left the ring with faults until Juan Pablo Bentacourt of Colombia, aboard Troya Retiro, co-owned with Daniela Grana, took center stage. It was smooth sailing for the pair who finished with the first clean round of the day.
Bentacourt remained uncontested throughout the first half of the order but that changed when Mexican FEI Nations Cup™ rider Sofia Larrea and Aplicatia, owned by Andres Gonzalez, jumped their way to a clean round securing a jump-off. A lucky streak was on for Mexico, as the country’s number one ranked rider since 2010, Nicolas Pizarro and his own Barbaro followed with a clear trip.
2014 Great American $1 Million Grand Prix winner Andre Thieme of Germany riding his own Conthendrix challenged the Latin riders with a clean round making it four for the jump-off. Next up was FEI Nation’s Cup™ Irish team rider, Kevin Babington, of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, and Shorapur LLC’s Shorapur who got the job done bringing the jump-off count to five.
Kraut and her 17-year-old grey were 34th to go and in a fault free trip the pair was back on their A-game.
“Cedric was more like he normally is. He was on form and I felt as confident as I could feel,” said Kraut. “I’m not going to lie I was shaken up from the other day – it was out of character for him to misjudge a triple. I was relieved it was a one to a one today so he couldn’t miscount. I’m so pleased and lucky to have him.”
“He’s a veteran. That horse knows how to get out of jail. He came out today and made up for the other day,” Kraut continued.
Riding for Gotham Enterpizes, Georgina Bloomberg of New York, New York, with her FEI Nations Cup™ superstar mount, Juvina, made it two-in-row for the U.S. riders with a clear trip to lock in the seventh jump-off spot.
Betancourt was first to return for the abbreviated jump off course and succumbed to two downed rails for a total of eight faults in a time of 41.03. Larrea was next, but she and her 10-year-old grey had one down rail for four faults with a time of 40.26. The race for a podium finish was on as Pizarro sped through the seven efforts clean setting a time to beat of 39.67. Ready to one-up Pizarro, Thieme did just that with a clean round in a time of 37.64.
Spectators were on the edge of their seats when Babington and his Nations Cup mount entered the ring. The pair cleared the course in a time of 36.45, one full second faster than Thieme.
“She’s unbelievably careful and I’m very pleased with her today,” said Babington of Shorapur. “Even though she jumped a double clean round in the Nations Cup there were a few sticky moments. I went to a much softer bit today and I still had plenty of control. She’s on track for where I want her to be.”
The crowd went silent as Kraut navigated her way through the ring and upon the final obstacle, with zero faults in her tracks she flew through the timers clocking in at 36.04 to take the top spot bumping Babington to second and Thieme to third.
“I didn’t think I had it. The seven from 1 to 2 was so forward. I cringed when he left the ground because I thought he was going to hook it behind. It was my lucky day,” said Kraut.
“I thought this weekend was brilliant. The Nations Cup Friday was absolutely perfect. The footing was great,” added Kraut. “I thought the jumps were beautiful. Each day was great. We really enjoyed ourselves as a team.”
The pressure was on for Bloomberg who was the final competitor of the day. Smooth at the start the pair soon faced a down rail for four faults in a time of 42.25 for fifth place.
“It was a great weekend for HITS. We’ll run 80 Grand Prix this year, and we run the three biggest prize money classes in the United States – but I still think we needed to make a statement with the Nations Cup this week. And I think we accomplished that,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “It was a great success for us and it was wonderful to have this group of horses and riders here. Hopefully we’ll put the pieces together to be able to do it again.”
Ocala, Fla. – Following an uncharacteristic performance in Friday’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup presented by Edge Brewing Barcelona, Laura Kraut and Cedric got redemption on Sunday as they blazed to victory in the $150,000 Ocala Grand Prix at CSIO4* Ocala. The Team Gold medalists from the 2008 Olympic Games were one of only four combinations to go double clear on Sunday, and as the penultimate pair in the seven horse jump-off they could not be caught after posting a time of 36.04.
“Today Cedric felt more normal, more like himself. Friday was out of character for him, but I felt as confident as I could going into today and he was really on form,” said Kraut of the Cherry Knoll Farm’s 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding.
Finishing in fifth place for the U.S. were Georgina Bloomberg (New York, N.Y.) and Gotham North Enterprizes, LLC’s 14-year-old Austrian Warmblood, Juvina. As the final pair in the jump-off, they lowered a single rail in a time of 42.25.
Fellow Hermès U.S. Show Jumping teammates Beezie Madden (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Abigail Wexner’s 16-year-old KWPN gelding Simon had the final rail down at fence 13 to finish on a score of four faults in ninth place. Finishing in 14th place were Lauren Hough (Wellington, Fla.) and Laura and Meredith Mateo’s 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding Reconnaissance, who also finished on four faults.
Rounding out the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping entry on Sunday were Todd Minikus (Loxahatchee, Fla.) and the Quality Group’s 12-year-old Oldenburg mare Quality Girl in 20th place on eight faults.
By Helen Murray
Results for the Ocala Grand Prix can be found here.
Sophie Simpson and HC Woopy 14 Top $5,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Class
Palm Beach, FL – January 4, 2015 – Show jumping superstars Laura Kraut (USA) and Cedric jumped to the top of an exciting competition Sunday afternoon in the $125,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. Held at Donald Trump’s scenic estate, The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, FL, the third annual event featured international show jumping at its best with top finishes for Kraut, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Brianne Goutal (USA).
Anthony D’Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY, set the course for Sunday’s competition, which featured 35 horses and riders jumping in a one-of-a-kind setting. With the backdrop of blue skies, palm trees, and sunshine on Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, the course saw 13 clear rounds that led to an exciting jump-off with seven double clear entries and a race to the finish.
Callan Solem (USA) and the Torlando Group’s VDL Torlando were the first pair to clear the jump-off course without fault and finished seventh in 43.10 seconds. Alexander Zetterman (SWE) and his own Flecu were faster in 41.83 seconds to place sixth. Margie Engle (USA) and Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek and Gladewinds’ Indigo took the lead in 40.74 seconds to eventually place fourth, and Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Vanilla followed with the fifth place round in 41.48 seconds.
The final four riders were some of the fastest in the world and fought hard for a win in the prestigious competition where the option of a very tight inside turn and a gallop to the final fence was the final deciding factor. Darragh Kenny made that turn with Oakland Venture LLC’s Fantasy and was fast and clear in 40.12 seconds to take over the lead from Engle, but he eventually settled for second place. Brianne Goutal (USA) and Remarkable Farms LP’s Ballade van het Indihof were next, and did their best to catch the pair. They stopped the clock in 40.62 seconds to take third place. It was down to the final two.
Back-to-back Trump Invitational winner, Kent Farrington (USA), returned to defend his title after winning the inaugural event in 2013 with Amalaya Investment’s Dynamo and also topping the class in 2014 with Robin Parsky’s Blue Angel, but today was not his day. Farrington opted for a very fast outside turn to the last fence with Blue Angel and slipped in the turn, then had a rail down at the final jump. The pair’s time of 36.31 seconds would have given Farrington his third straight win in the competition, but the unfortunate rail put them in ninth place. Last to go, Laura Kraut and Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc.’s Cedric took the inside turn and came through the timers in 39.96 seconds, just ahead of Kenny and Fantasy, to earn a big win.
Kraut and Cedric, a 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Chambertin x Carolus Z), have had a long and illustrious partnership that includes team gold in the 2008 Olympic Games and many grand prix victories over the years. Most recently, they topped the $50,000 Holiday& Horses Grand Prix CSI-W 2* at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in November, but this was a class they had not yet conquered.
“I could not be more pleased with him,” Kraut stated in the press conference. “He is 17 years old, but he feels better than ever. He won his last outing a month ago out in Wellington and he has hardly jumped a fence until today. I gave him a little jump on Wednesday and then he came today and he feels great. I thought this would be a good event for him. I targeted him for this, and he came through. He is just an amazing horse, and we have such a relationship now. I feel like I can call on him, and he is there.”
Heading into the jump-off after seeing Farrington have a rail, Kraut admitted, “Did I breathe easier? Well yes, because Kent is so hard to beat, but I had not seen Darragh and Darragh can be equally fast, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. Actually, when I went through the timers I didn’t think that I had won. Cedric jumped so high through the double that it took me a second to get through that. I was quite relieved when they said I had won.”
“I was a little worried because I knew I had to add a stride down the line, the only line in the course; I had to do six and everyone else did five,” Kraut explained. “I thought I could just make up for it by continuing running everywhere, and he was jumping so high that I didn’t think I would have a fence down. I was fortunate that I watched Kent go before me. Beezie Madden also volunteered that she went around the Rolex clock and she slipped, so when I was in the air over that I thought that if I could just turn really short and pull him almost to a stop and turn, it was probably better than running right around. When you run that fast they are going to probably slip. It was perfect, he stood right up and he turned and went, so I think that is probably what did it.”
Following a great win and a beautiful day in Palm Beach, Kraut praised Donald Trump and Equestrian Sport Productions’ CEO Mark Bellissimo for putting on a fantastic event. With footing challenges in year one, Trump put up the money to redo the turf for the 2014 event. The new footing was put to the test with terrible rains in year two, but everything came together this time around.
“I was going to lead off with how amazing this event has evolved,” Kraut acknowledged. “Finally, on the third year, they got lucky. All of the conditions were perfect. It is probably the best grass footing in the world. I went last in the class and last in the jump-off, and I think I had ground as good as the first ones did. It was perfect. It was an absolutely great event.”
“We all look forward to coming here,” she continued. “It gives us something to shoot for after Christmas to start the year off and it was beautiful today. This is a special event. It is a beautiful location and the fact that Mark and Donald have put this together and put this on right here in Palm Beach, it is absolutely gorgeous. It is a prestigious event to try to win and I am very happy to win it.”
Bellissimo spoke about the day as well, declaring, “It was another great event. The weather could not have been more spectacular given what we experienced last year. I think this event has really grown in stature. Donald has been an amazing partner in this effort, and we have had a number of conversations about how we can take this to the next level. I think we are going to introduce something a little more innovative next year with more prize money. I want to thank Rolex for again being an amazing partner and stepping up to be the title sponsor here as well as the Tisbo family with Suncast, Land Rover, and Carol Sollak at Engel & Völkers. Without their help we could not make this happen. Congratulations to Laura. This is her third year here and the third time is the charm as they say. We are very proud of watching that effort. Margaret Duprey’s horse really rose to the occasion.”
Trump also praised the winner and was thrilled with another great event. “I want to congratulate the great champions,” he stated. “I know Laura really wanted to win this and now she has done it. What a great job you have done. It is bravery and it is talent and it is great horses. It was an honor and I want to congratulate Mark and his family for the fantastic job they do in putting the event on. Likewise, we have an excellent one in Central Park, so we have a couple of beauties.”
Trump and Bellissimo put on the first ever Central Park Horse Show in Trump Rink in New York City this September with great success, and look forward to the future of that event, where Kraut along with second and third place finishers Darragh Kenny and Brianne Goutal competed as well. On Sunday, Kenny guided his horse Fantasy to a great jump-off round that just got beat.
“My horse is a little bit greener and younger than Cedric, so I was fighting an uphill battle,” Kenny laughed after the class. “She is really talented and I really think a lot of her, but I knew that when I came out of the ring with Kent and Laura going after me, chances are one of them was going to beat me. It was a great class and this it the first year I have actually jumped this class, so it was really enjoyable. The footing is fantastic. The show is brilliant. Donald and Mark do an amazing job with it.”
Goutal also had an excellent round with her mare, Ballade van het Indihof, and praised the mare as well as Trump and Bellissimo’s efforts in the event.
“It was really special for me because I haven’t shown this horse in almost two years,” Goutal detailed. “She had some time off due to injuries and it is her first real grand prix back and for sure in the United States, she hasn’t been here in almost two years. I was absolutely thrilled with her. She is so amazing.”
“The venue is incredible,” Goutal continued. “In my opinion and I think most of our opinions, the Trump/Bellissimo team now has, if not the two best shows in the world, two of the best. Tropical venue wise, nothing compares to this one, especially with the footing upgrades and the prestige and everything that’s involved. The Central Park show, when you talk about an inner city show, we jump a lot during the year and over the summer in all these big places and in my opinion Central Park is incomparable to anywhere else as well. A huge thank you for those two.”
Net proceeds from the Trump Invitational benefit the 2015 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (FTI GCC), which will be held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Saturday, February 7. The pro-am team competition, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo and their daughter, Paige, has distributed more than $6.2 million to more than 100 Palm Beach County charities over the past five years. In addition to 28 charities already selected to participate in this year’s competition, four more were selected during Sunday’s event, including CROS Ministries, Take Stock in Children Palm Beach, Gratitude House, and Leadership Palm Beach County.
Following the Trump Invitational, the future stars of show jumping took their turn in the spotlight. The brightest among them was Sophie Simpson, who guided Riffle Hitch Bloodstock’s HC Woopy 14 to best 13 invitational competitors in the $5,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Speed Class.
One of three to leave all rails in their cups and beat the clock, Simpson and her nine-year-old Holsteiner mare crossed the timers in 57.004 seconds. Jumping to second, Addison Geirkink piloted Tiffany, owned by Kadley Holdings, LLC, to a clear trip in 58.369 seconds. Keeping the only clear rounds in the top three, Joyce Green and her own Cassidy stopped the clock at 63.919 seconds for third.
A sale horse purchased by Simpson’s mother and trainer Nicole Shahinian-Simpson, HC Woopy 14 confirmed today that she is exactly where they want her to be. “We are in a good spot for the rest of the season,” said Simpson. “She is coming along quickly and always looking for the next jump. She’s becoming a real competitor and fighter – jumping clean and going fast.”
While far from a rookie in the show ring, Simpson jumped for the first time at the Trump Invitational this year and admits she has never experienced a horse show quite like it.
“I was lucky enough to come here and have this experience – it’s an odd process to only have one horse at a one-day horse show,” she said. “It’s different than what we are used to, but so good to have these kinds of classes that bring other types of people into the sport.”
Sweetening Simpson’s first week of 2015 even further, she participated in the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session presented by the USHJA at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center just days prior to debuting at Mar-a-Lago. The experience served her well as she admits to hearing Morris’s voice reminding her “where are your feet and pick your hands up” while in the ring.
“I saw him [Morris] on the rail today and thanked him for the week,” recalled Simpson. “He said to me, ‘I watched your flatwork. It was very, very good,’ and I thought, okay – I had a successful week.”
Seventeen-year-old Simpson is coming off one of her final years as a Junior rider and has already committed to ride for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks come Fall 2016. While being signed to a collegiate team two years in advance is an honor, Simpson humbly gave credit to her team. “I have found that it takes a team to get to the ring. I am very fortunate to have great horses and tons of people supporting and getting me to the ring day to day. I am so lucky,” she concluded.
Sunday’s event also served as a kick-off to the season for the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival. The 12-week circuit, held at the beautiful Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, begins this Wednesday, January 7, and runs through March 29, 2015. During week one, the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes will be held on Saturday, January 10, with gates opening at 6 p.m. The first grand prix of the circuit, featuring $30,000 in prize money, will be held on Sunday, January 11, at 2 p.m. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.
Lauren Fisher and Lindsay Brock for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.