On March 5, 2022, two-time show jumping Olympic medalist Laura Kraut of Royal Palm Beach, Florida, was awarded the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation’s 2022 Whitney Stone Cup at a special ceremony during the $150,000 Nations Cup CSIO4*, presented by Premier Equestrian in Wellington, Florida, during the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival.
The Whitney Stone Cup is awarded annually by the USET Foundation to an active competitor whose consistent excellence in international competition and whose standard for sportsmanlike conduct and contributions as an ambassador for the sport and for the USET Foundation exemplify the Team’s highest ideals and traditions.
“The Whitney Stone Cup is something that I’ve known about forever,” commented Kraut. “I have watched some of the people that I most admire in our sport win it, so to be that person and to be given this award is humbling. I’ve never thought of myself as being the person receiving the awards, so it’s really gratifying.
“There are so many people I would like to thank,” continued Kraut. “US Equestrian’s Director of Sport Will Connell, U.S. Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland, USET Foundation Executive Director Bonnie Jenkins, and all of the people making sure that we have the support we need. I would like to thank the veterinarians and physios who allow us as riders to be able to concentrate on our job. I think they need to know that they are very much appreciated, and without all of them, I don’t think the United States would have the success that it does.”
Notably, in 2021, Kraut represented the United States on several Nations Cup teams, as well as at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, where Kraut and Baloutinue, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by St. Bride’s Farm, helped the U.S. earn its second consecutive Olympic team silver medal. After a successful summer, Kraut and her Olympic mount were selected to be the anchor combination of the NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team at the Mercedes Benz Nations Cup CSIO5* in Aachen, Germany. The pair’s efforts helped the U.S. earn the victory for the first time since 2005.
In addition to focusing on her own goals, Kraut is dedicated to working with and mentoring younger generations of riders in an effort to help them successfully represent the U.S. on the greatest international stages.
“I have absolutely loved being a part of U.S. equestrian teams, and I’m passionate about inspiring young riders to do it as well,” said Kraut. “It’s important for me that the U.S. stays at the forefront of the sport worldwide. It’s been a lot of fun to be a part of a rider’s first-time experience on a team. For example, this year in Aachen, to ride on the team with essentially all young riders, and to be there with them for that experience, was as much fun as the first time that I went.”
Going forward, Kraut hopes to continue to develop young horses, compete at the highest level of the sport, and be a candidate for championship and Nations Cup team events.
The Whitney Stone Cup, which was presented to the Team by the Officers and Directors of the USET Foundation, is given in honor of the late Whitney Stone who served as President and Chairman of the Board of the USET, and who was instrumental in the creation of a civilian team when the Army retired from competitive horse sports after 1948.
Source and photo by USET