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Laura Kraut named 2021 International Equestrian of the Year at USEF Pegasus Awards

Friday, 14 January 2022

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson/WoSJ Laura Kraut has been named the 2021 International Equestrian of the Year at the USEF Pegasus Awards. Here with Baloutinue at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Laura Kraut has been named the 2021 International Equestrian of the Year by US Equestrian. Kraut received the most votes from US Equestrian members, and was last night recognized along with other award winners at the 2022 Pegasus Awards Dinner Celebration at the USEF Annual Meeting. Kraut's name will be engraved on the Equestrian of the Year Perpetual Trophy.

About Kraut's award, USEF stated:

"Laura Kraut’s 2021 season was highlighted by a team silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games aboard Baloutinue. Kraut took over the ride on Baloutinue in early 2021, and they captured their first win together in the $137,000 Bainbridge Companies Grand Prix CSI3*. The pair then helped the NetJets® U.S. Jumping Team take fifth place at the Nations Cup of Rome CSIO5*, followed by second place in the Rolex Grand Prix of Rome CSIO5*.

Kraut was selected for the U.S. Jumping Team for the Tokyo Olympics—her third Olympic team—and became the oldest U.S. female athlete to win a medal since 1904 with the team silver medal. Kraut and Baloutinue then helped the U.S. team capture the win in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup CSIO5*, the first U.S. win since 2005, and finished fifth in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen."

Furthermore, Kathy Kusner and Howard Simpson were both recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards. About Kusner and Simpson's awards, USEF stated:

"Kusner is renowned as a true pioneer who broke barriers for other women in horse sports. She was one of the first women selected to the United States Equestrian Team to compete at the Olympic Games. She represented the U.S. at the Tokyo Games in 1964, the Mexico City Games in 1968, and the Munich Games in 1972, where she was part of the silver medal-winning team. Kusner is the founder of the nonprofit Horses in the Hood, which works with inner-city communities in Los Angeles to introduce young people to horses and their care.

A member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, Kusner also has conducted numerous clinics and lectures around the world, has served as a course designer and jumping commentator, and authored articles for equestrian publications.

Simpson is recognized for his contributions to major equestrian events in the U.S. He and his wife, the late Martha Smith Simpson, hosted the first American Continental Young Riders Championship at their Temple Farms in 1985. In 1988, the competition became the North American Young Rider Championships, now called the North American Youth Championships. He served as the director of the NAYC for more than 20 years.

Simpson was instrumental in the creation of the Kentucky Three-Day Event as the first CCI4* (now CCI5*) in the country, and later led the evaluation team that recommended the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill as the second CCI5* in North America."

For an overview of all the award winners, click here.

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