Laura Kraut and Fleurette Fly To Washington International Horse Show Win


Laura Kraut Adds $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC for the President’s Cup, To Her Resume

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.

Earlier in the evening, 17-year-old Canadian rider Sam Walker claimed the coveted Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals riding Waldo. 

Laura Kraut and Fleurette. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

“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.” 

Laura Kraut and Fleurette topped the $136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC for the President’s Cup at WIHS. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

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.

WIHS was Kraut’s first indoor show outing with Fleurette. The mare shipped across the Atlantic to show, as Kraut is based in England. “She flew to New York on Sunday, was in quarantine on Monday and Tuesday, and then got on a truck and came straight here.  She’s just amazing because not a lot of horses could put up with that,” Kraut said. 

“I didn’t know how this show would suit her,” Kraut continued. “I don’t know how much she has done indoors. One thing I do know is that she’s just such an intelligent horse. She takes everything in stride; nothing really bothers her. She’s handled jumping in a big ring like Aachen beautifully. She’s handled pretty much anything I’ve asked of her so far, and that’s just a little bit her personality. She’s a work horse.” 

Kraut makes a point of adding WIHS to her schedule even though she’s based in England. “This is a fantastic horse show,” she said. “I come back for it every year. Normally I’m in Europe, going full throttle, but I always have taken the time to come back and jump at Washington because I think it’s one of the shows we don’t want to do without.”

The show’s president, Vicki Lowell, noted that the spectator numbers were strong. “I think it was a super exciting class,” Lowell said. “I’m just awed by these riders and what they’re able to do and these horses. I think we had fantastic crowds. The enthusiasm here is building. There were a ton of people here and a lot of buzz, and I think it shows how much D.C. loves equestrian sport. I can’t wait for 2020.”

For her victory, Kraut was presented with The President of the United States Perpetual Cup, donated by Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961. Additionally, she collected The Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy as winner of the $10,000 Leading International Rider Award and the Leading Lady Rider Award, sponsored by Longines. Fleurette’s owners, Barb and Dave Roux, were presented with Leading Jumper Owner Award.

For her two wins earlier in the week, Sydney Shulman of Israel was presented with the Juliet Weber Reid Trophy as winner of the $10,000 Leading Under 25 Award. Shulman also was awarded the Leading Foreign Rider Award.

$136,300 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington Results
1. FLEURETTE: 2009 Selle Français mare by Verdi TN x Concorde
LAURA KRAUT (USA), St. Bride’s Farm: 0/4/40.99
2. PRIMO TROY: 2009 Irish Sport Horse stallion by Clinton x VDL Arkansas
ANDREW WELLES (USA), Itasca Group LLC: 0/12/45.69
3. VIVA COLUMBIA: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Couluer-Rubin x Landor S
BRIANNE GOUTAL MARTEAU (USA), Rose Hill Farm: 1/57.19
4. CATOKI’S SON Z: 2009 Zangersheide gelding by Catoki x Aldo du Reverdy
ERYNN BALLARD (CAN), Ilan Ferder: 4/57.48
5. CREEDANCE: 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Lord Z x Notaris
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Kent Farrington & RCG Farm: 4/57.48
6. ARMIK: 2009 Oldenburg gelding by Armitage x Justinian xx
CAPT. BRIAN COURNANE (IRL), Bob and Christine Stiller and Brian Cournane: 4/59.34
7. CHAQUI Z: 2006 Zangersheide stallion by Chacco Blue x Quinar Z
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 4/59.34
8. BACARA D’ARCHONFOSSE: 2007 Swedish Warmblood mare by Asca Z x Kannan
CASSIO RIVETTI (BRA), Sloan Barnett: 4/59.40
9. CASPAR’S LASINO: 2009 Holsteiner stallion by Caspar x Lasino
DEVIN RYAN (USA), Market Street Inc: 4/59.75
10. ENJOY LOUIS: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Coriano x Kannan
CATHERINE TYREE (USA), Mary Tyree: 4/60.23
11. TOULAGO: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Toulon x Carthago Z
ADRIENNE STERNLICHT (USA), Starlight Farms LLC: 4/67.06
12. BULL RUN’S RISEN: 2006 KWPN gelding by Utopie x Indoctro
KRISTEN VANDERVEEN (USA), Bull Run Jumpers Inc.: 4/60.85 

Sam Walker Walks Off With Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals 

Sam Walker simply could not be beaten in the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals on Saturday. Walker, 17, and from Nobleton, ON, led the three-phase competition from start to finish riding Waldo, becoming the first Canadian rider to win the class.

A field of 40 started the competitive, year-end equitation final, which spanned two days. Riders started with a hunter phase held on Friday, then completed a jumper phase held on Saturday afternoon, and then 10 riders qualified for a final work-off held during Saturday night’s featured session. Riders’ average scores from the first two rounds were combined, with the 10 top-ranked competitors then swapping horses in the work-off. The highest combined total score won the class.

Sam Walker and Waldo. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Walker joked that his preparation for this year’s win began immediately after the class last year. “I was 10th place here last year and third the year before, so I was a little bit hungry to get back in the ring here,” Walker said. “I just wanted to say thank you to the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund for sponsoring this class and always making it a great event every year.” 

Walker set the tone early with Waldo, a 12-year-old warmblood gelding owned by Missy Clark and North Run. The judges, Chance Arakelian, Laura Kraut, Timmy Kees, and Sue Ashe, scored him with a 93 in the hunter round, giving him the blue in that phase. In the jumper round, Walker finished second with a score of 92, but retained his lead in the overall standings with a 185 total. Ava Stearns, who won the jumper phase with a score of 93.5, was hot on his heels in the standings with a 182.5 total.

In the work-off, Walker and Stearns switched horses, with Walker getting on Stearns’ mount Acer K, an eight-year-old gelding also owned by Clark and North Run, and Stearns getting a leg up onto Waldo. Walker and Stearns both train with Clark, John Brennan, and their team at North Run, so they were familiar with each other’s horses. 

“I think that knowing the person in your barn whose horse you’re swapping onto and seeing the horse every day is a big advantage,” Stearns said. “I watch [Waldo] go all the time, and Sam watches mine. I know that Sam has my best interests at heart, as I do for him, and he’s going to tell me what I need to know. They’re both such top-notch horses that you really couldn’t go wrong.”

Stearns put the pressure on Walker with a solid round with Waldo. It was a bit of redemption, as the year before, she had also switched horses with Walker and did not have as good a round, leaving her in ninth in the class.

Sam Walker and Waldo. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Walker answered her challenge with a seamless round of his own as the last to go. The judges rewarded him with another score in the 90s, a 93. Stearns posted a score of 86.5 in the work-off, giving the win to Walker with a 278 total score and putting her in second place with a score of 269.5. For the win, Walker was presented with the WIHS Equitation Classic Trophy, donated by Mr. & Mrs. G. Ralph Ours, III, and, as the winning horse, Waldo was awarded the Lugano Memorial Trophy, donated by Stoney Hill.

“When the scores get as good as they got at the end, that’s so much fun to watch, and it’s a pleasure to judge,” said Kees. 

“I’ve been very, very grateful to have the ride on the same horse each year,” said Walker. “I always look forward to coming to this horse show. It’s extremely well organized. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s a real show. In regard to my horse and preparation, we just kept it simple and tried to stick with the plan. I’m just really happy with how today went.” 

Walker has had the ride on Waldo for three years, while Stearns, of Chilmark, MA, has just been showing Acer K since March. “These two are so well schooled, and in the whole scheme of things, veterans of equitation,” Clark said of the two riders. “I’m so proud of them. Ava’s horse is only eight years old; this was his first year doing [equitation finals], and Sam has helped develop Waldo, another horse that we also own. Waldo had never done equitation at this level until Sam started with him. It’s been fun working with both kids and both those horses.”

Judge Arakelian addressed Walker and Stearns after the class. “I’m a big fan of Sam’s,” he said. “I think he rides so forward and light with a great hand. Sam, your third round was absolutely beautiful. Ava, your second round was unbelievable as well. You’re a very strong rider, and you ride that horse beautifully.”

Finishing in third with a total score of was Dominic Gibbs, 16, of Colorado Springs, CO, riding Cent 15, an 11-year-old Hanoverian owned by Mountain King Ranch LLC. Gibbs is in his first year of the prestigious fall indoor equitation finals, and trains with Stacia Madden and the Beacon Hill team.

Paige Matthies Makes Clean Count in $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic

Last year, Paige Matthies had to settle for second in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic with the fastest four-fault round. This year, there was no stopping her as she claimed the title, and the Ambassador’s Cup Perpetual Trophy, donated by Ambassador and Mrs. Marion H. Smoak, with the only clean round in the class riding Climbus.

“He has a heart of gold,” Matthies said of Climbus, a 13-year-old Holsteiner by Cartani and owned by Barbara Smith. “He wants a clear round and to win. He’ll put his all into it if he feels like you need it, and he did that today.”

Paige Matthies and Climbus. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr., set a tough course for the class, and Matthies was glad she went first in the class and didn’t watch the problems later riders encountered. “A lot of people don’t prefer that because you don’t get to watch other riders go and see how the course rides, but with as many tricks as showed up on the course today, I felt like it was almost better that I wasn’t thinking about them,” she said.

“I just went out and rode the course. There were a lot of blind turns. That just continued throughout the course, with different tests. It was also a test of the horse’s scope because it was a big, wide course,” Matthies said.

Matthies, of Lake Leelanau, MI, has been riding Climbus for two and half years. He was her first high junior jumper, and he’s helped her gain confidence in the division. “He’s kind of an unconventional horse,” she said. “He goes with his head up, and he’s very quick on his feet. You have to ride him. He wants a polite rider, but you have to be effective and tell him what you want. If you do that, he’ll do the job for you.” 

This is Matthies’ last year as a junior rider, so she was a bit nostalgic about her last junior jumper class at WIHS. “This has always been one of my favorite shows, with the setting,” she said. 

Finishing second in the class with the fastest four-fault round in 58.44 seconds was Elizabeth Lang riding her own Zephyr. Sophie Gochman rode Gochman Sport Horse’s Carola BH into third with four faults in 59.05 seconds. 

Competition at the 2018 WIHS concludes on Sunday, October 28, with the Pony Hunter division championships, the WIHS Pony Equitation Classic, and the Regional Hunter Finals. 

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WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition, and holds the highest rating,  CSI5*-W, awarded by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, as well as a US Equestrian 6* Jumpers and  Premier Hunters. It is recognized by the US Hunter Jumper Association, Maryland Horse Show Association, and Virginia Horse Show Association. WIHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.