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LONGINES FEI JUMPING WORLD CUP™ NORTH AMERICAN LEAGUE
The Washington International Horse Show: An Event That Puts Horses in the Heart of the City
Olympian Laura Kraut finally claims the President’s Cup and the $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington.
NANCY JAFFER UPDATED: OCT 27, 2019 ORIGINAL: OCT 27, 2019
It was an evening of dramatic tension at the Washington International Horse Show yesterday, culminating with a gripping two-horse jump-off in the $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington qualifier for the coveted President’s Cup trophy.
The show, presented by MARS Equestrian, wraps up today with pony classes, but a week of competition and exhibitions reached its peak last night when Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut, one of the most celebrated riders in the sport, faced off against rising star Andrew Welles after 28 other competitors failed to conquer the demanding first-round course at the Capital One Arena.
Photo© 219 by Nancy Jaffer
Laura Kraut made it through heartbreak alley to win the the $136,300 Longines
FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington and President’s Cup on Fleurette.
That was Fleurette, a long-striding French-bred mare Laura started riding only this summer, and who was imported into the U.S. from Europe just days ago.
Laura was trying to match the achievement of Andrew’s Irish sport horse, Primo Troy, a 10-year-old who is “stepping up” into the higher ranks of the sport. He was seventh in the order, and the first to post a clear round, drawing high-volume cheers. The crowd was hungry to see success, having gotten a little taste of it when Brianne Goutal Marteau, fourth to go, left all the rails in place with Viva Colombia. As she tried to avoid having her horse get flat over the fences, however, a slightly slow start left her with a single time penalty, which would put her in third place.
Olaf told me he was surprised only two were clear, and after hoping for a jump-off, he chuckled, “I think I have much more grey hair.” He noted, “I think there was a chance for many more (to be fault-free).” There were nine who had 4 penalties for dropping a single pole. “For me,” Olaf observed, “the key was from 7 (the Longines vertical) to 8 (a Chinese red vertical.) If you rushed too much, it got you too much going and in the turn to the Liverpool (the fence before the oxer/vertical/oxer triple), if you have too much speed there, it gets you somehow. I still think it was a fair course. Would I want to have more in the jump-off? Of course,” said the German, who will be designing the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals course in Las Vegas next year.
In the tiebreaker, a determined Andrew started off at a gallop, but had his hopes for victory dashed early when his mount stopped at the second fence and slid into it, sending rails tumbling.“With a rider like Laura behind you, you want to take a bit of a shot,” said Andrew, explaining his mishap. “I tried to do that from one to two, and unfortunately it didn’t work out.”
Noting the President’s Cup was “a class I’ve wanted to win for many, many years (since the late 1980s), Laura commented, “It’s always seemed to elude me.”
She had a bit of a comfort zone after Andrew accumulated 12 faults, but there are many ways to lose a sure thing, so she was thinking, “For God’s sake, don’t fall down.” Laura didn’t, but her trip still wasn’t perfect. Fleurette “jumped well and got to the double and she got a little behind the bit and jumped really high over A and then jumped even higher over B and had it down,” Laura recounted.
“I thought, Don’t mess this up.” And she didn’t, finishing with four faults to win. She came over from Europe especially to try for the Cup, and the show’s leading international rider was heading back to her base in England with Fleurette after the show.