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Kraut and Cedric Remain Untouchable in USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping

Kraut and Cedric Remain Untouchable in USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping

Release: March 9, 2008
By Joanie Morris

Wellington, FL _ - As Cedric and Laura Kraut jumped the final fence of the fifth leg of the USEF Selection Trials for Show Jumping they cleared another hurdle toward the USEF Short List for Show Jumping which is one step closer to a trip to the 2008 Olympic Games.

Photo credit: Ashley Yanke)

The International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL hosted the final leg of the Selection Trials which was part of the $150,000 CN US Open CSIO 5* on March 9 _- and again showcased the country's best riders. The Selection Trials, sponsored by Equine Motorcoach and Hong Kong Tourism, ran over 10 days after which 10 horse and rider combinations will be named to the Short List. These 10 riders will spend the summer in Europe preparing for the Olympic Games. Four riders will then be named to the team to represent the U.S. in Hong Kong.

The Grand Prix course, designed by Jose Gamarra, proved challenging for the 42 riders, 20 of which were still in contention for selection. Clear rounds proved difficult to jump, and of the Selection Trials riders, only Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Kraut left all the fences up.

Happy Hill Farm's 10-year-old Dutch-bred Cedric had jumped clean in the first leg of the Trials and never relinquished his lead, he picked up two time faults and had one rail down throughout the first four rounds. The diminutive grey gelding jumped another clear on Sunday adding just one time fault.

"He's just an amazing animal," said Kraut. "Like I said he knows the sport. He knows not to knock any poles down and if I stay out of his way he manages not too. He's amazing. The one rail he had was for sure my fault. He's an unbelievable horse. I don't know if he is an Olympic horse but he's grown up a lot through this experience and I couldn't be happier."

They have a final score of seven in the Selection Trials, giving them a comfortable margin of victory for their impressive efforts. This is the third Selection Trial Kraut has won, she represented the U.S. at the Sydney Olympics with Liberty and knows that having the right horse on very good form is imperative to being competitive at the Olympic Games.

"I think jumping here in Wellington day in and day out in the same ring... you get a false sense of security," said Kraut, who resides in Wellington. "I don't have my heart set on going to Hong Kong if he's not right and he's not the one to go then I definitely don't want to go. I've been there and you don't want to go on a wing and a prayer. You want to go thinking you can do well. If he continues along the lines he's going now I would feel somewhat confident. He's been an amazing horse from the beginning. Just when you think he might throw the towel in he digs in and figures things out."

Nicole Shahinian-Simpson from Thousand Oaks, CA and SRF Dragonfly Silver (owned by Silver Raven Farm) continued to impress, jumping another quality clear round - their third of the competition. Shahinian-Simpson and the 11-year-old mare finished on a final score of 12 - good enough for second place in the Selection Trials.

"She felt great, I really called on her in the first round and she was right there for me," said Shahinian-Simpson. "The combination was quite testy and scopey, the water was tricky right off the bat. The rest were careful and wide. All and all I thought it was good."

Simpson chose to jump-off and ended up sixth overall in the class.

Anne Kursinski, an Olympic medalist in 1988 and 1996, jumped into the picture for the Short List with both her horses, Kursinski steadily rose up the trials leaderboard and finished the five rounds in third on Champ 163, who is only nine years old, and tied for fifth on Roxana 112.

"I'm happy it's over," said the savvy 49-year-old veteran rider. "Its very intense and thankfully I have two great horses to ride at this moment."

Will Simpson and El Campeon Farm's Carlsson Vom Dach reaffirms the adage that with horses: anything can happen. They handily won the second and third legs of the Trials and were tied for second going into the final leg but the horse sustained a freak injury in his stall on Saturday which kept the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding out of today's competition. Simpson is hoping that he will be granted the final subjective slot on the short list from the USEF selectors.

"Saturday morning at about five there was a thunderstorm and Carlsson had some sort of trauma in his stall," said Simpson. "We think he flipped over and hurt his neck and his withers and probably actually knocked himself out. When we got there at six he was almost neurological. He was backing up and almost falling down. Since then, through all kinds of acupuncture and chiropractic treatment he has made a remarkable recovery. He's 100% sound and has 90% mobility to the right in his neck and 100% to the left. I actually jumped him at 12 pm today and he jumped 1m combination. He jumped it beautifully except for the fact that he is exhausted and has no energy whatsoever and was not ready to jump a championship course today. We're going to do the jog with him... he just wasn't ready to jump today."

Three horse/rider combinations have already been named to the USEF Short List for Show Jumping: Sapphire/McLain Ward, Authentic/Beezie Madden and Armani/Jeffery Welles before and during the Selection Trials. Six more horse/rider combinations will be named objectively from the ranking in the trials. There is one more subjective discretionary choice available for the selectors to use for a total of ten. The Selectors will meet Monday, the USEF veterinarians will evaluate the horses and the Short List will be named on Monday evening.

McLain Ward, who is already named to the Short List with Sapphire, let the veteran mare stretch her legs in the class after her winning contribution in the CN Nations Cup on Friday night. The pair had the middle part of the triple combination down in the first round.

"She feels great," said Ward. "My circuit has sort of been a four-fault circuit. She's jumped great all season. She jumped great on Friday night and I thought she jumped great again today. So many people were struggling through the triple in the beginning of the class and I overrode a little bit. As the class went on and it got down to some of these fancier horses they were jumping it a bit easier and I was kicking myself because I certainly made more pressure that I needed. It really wasn't her fault. She's been four or clear every time out jumping very easy and we had the luxury of the bye. I'm trying not to pressure her too much yet."

Kent Farrington and the hard-trying Up Chiqui continued his winning ways that brought him tremendous success in 2007. Farrington bypassed the Trials but won the class. The 11-year-old gelding is aimed at the FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden at the end of April. They were also part of the winning Nations Cup on Friday night.

"I think obviously that the Olympics are a really special thing and I hope that one day I have the opportunity to go," said Farrington. "I really didn't think that it was right for that horse. If you're going to go do that you want to go and think that you can be competitive when you get there. And I didn't really think that was for him. He jumps a lot out of shear will and his heart and to ask him to do five rounds in a row like that would maybe take that away. In those conditions with really big scopey jumps - that might take that away. It wouldn't be fair to him, he's never shown me what he can't do and I think that would be hard for him. He's a great horse and I want to keep him happy."

For complete Trials standings and the USEF Selection Procedures, please see www.usef.org. For more information please contact Joanie Morris, USEF High Performance Communications Manager at: jmorris@usef.org.

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