Laura Kraut finally added a title she has been coveting to her record at the 61st Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Riding Fleurette, Kraut jumped to victory in the $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC for the President’s Cup, on Saturday, October 26.
“It’s been a class that I wanted to win for many, many years,” said two-time Olympian Kraut, who was fifth in the class in 2018 riding Confu. “I think I’ve been jumping in the international division [at WIHS] since the late ’80s. I’ve had quite a few seconds and thirds and fourths, but it’s just always seemed to elude me. I said at the beginning of the week, ‘I think this is going to be my week.’” Kraut first competed at WIHS in 1978 in the pony hunter divisions.
As the seventh to go, Andrew Welles and Primo Troy were the first pair of the 30-horse field to find their way clear over Olaf Petersen Jr.’s first-round course. The packed crowd in Capital One Arena waited to see another clear round until Kraut and Fleurette came into the ring as the final horse to jump, and a massive cheer went up when she made the jump-off.
In the jump-off, Welles ran into trouble on an early turn with Primo Troy, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Clinton x VDL Arkansas) owned by the Itasca Group. The stallion stopped, and after Welles circled and finished the course, they had accumulated 12 faults in a time of 45.69 seconds. “I tried to lay down the best round I could,” Welles said. “With a rider like Laura behind you, you want to take a shot. I tried to do that. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but I’m thrilled with my horse tonight.”
Kraut knew the score she had to beat. “When you know you have [a buffer of 12 faults], that’s a breather. If it’s four faults, there’s pressure. Eight faults, you think, ‘I’ve got to go a bit.’ But with 12, I thought, ‘Just don’t muck this up!’” Kraut and Fleurette, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare (Verdi TN x Concorde), did have one rail in the jump-off, but with four faults in 40.99 seconds they secured the win.
Brianne Goutal Marteau finished in third with Viva Columbia, a 14-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Rose Hill Farm. They completed the first round with one time fault. “In the beginning, I have to be a bit conservative, but then I really felt her open up. She was much quicker throughout the rest of the course,” Goutal Marteau said. “It was a tough test, but it was great sport. It’s one of the few indoor shows where you really get that city feel with the huge crowds. It’s a gem we want to hold onto.”
Petersen noted that he changed seats a few times as the class went on. “I was thinking each seat was bad luck,” he joked. “I think it was a fair class. It was very exciting. We saw some really good rounds.”
Fleurette joined Kraut’s string in May, and Kraut has high hopes for the mare owned by Barb and David Roux of St. Bride’s Farm. “She’s one of these horses that I think has all the jump, all the scope, is careful, is brave, is sensible, and lets you ride her. The only thing she’s missing at this point is the mileage at this level,” she said.