Laura Kraut & Haley Fly the Highest at the Winter Equestrian Festival

Wellington, Florida – January 26, 2022 – An exciting week of four-star competition at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began on Wednesday, January 26, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) during week three, sponsored by NetJets. All 12 rings buzzed with excited riders and horses, but the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI4* class was the featured event in the International Arena. The USA’s Laura Kraut (USA) piloted Haley, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, ahead of 24 entries for the first victory of the week. 

Sixteen horse-and-rider combinations managed to secure themselves a spot in the jump-off round over Peter Grant’s (CAN) track but six fell victim to an unfortunate downed rail in the short phase while one suffered a time fault. Kraut brought her best as she always does in top competition and found the fastest way around to clock in at 38.12 seconds.

“I’ve had this mare for about a year and a half now, and she is just an extremely fun and good horse,” said Kraut of the 10-year-old KWPN mare by Quality Time TN x Manhattan. “She absolutely loves to win classes. She is a really quick horse, and often she is quicker than I even think. I didn’t do anything particularly special today; she just has extra footspeed.

“To win today was especially nice because her owner happened to be there as well, so it was really great for her to see,” continued Kraut. “I am not jumping too much this week, but any time I have a win is a good time in my book, so I am definitely happy.”

Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and successful partner Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC’s 13-year-old Hanoverian mare Venice Beach (Voltaire x Escudo I) were hot on Kraut’s heels, only missing the lead by two-tenths of a second as they rounded out two clear rounds with a final time of 38.31 seconds. Young rider Natalie Dean (USA) shot to the top and landed herself a spot in the victory gallop with the Marigold Sporthorses LLC’s nine-year-old BWP gelding Nespresso Van’t Laekhof (Cicero Z x Grandeur) after finishing clean in a tidy 39.34 seconds. 

While the day culminated in the feature class, competition in the International Arena was hot from start to finish with Lorenzo De Luca (ITA) stealing a win in the $1,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m CSI4* class and Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire earning the honors in the $6,000 Helgstrand Jewellery 1.40m CSI2* class. De Luca bested an impressive field of 65 with the Poden Farms’ nine-year-old Selle Francais mare Dirka De Blondel (Very Berlin De Castel x Lauterbach) by besting all 25 of his jump-off challengers with a blazing time of 36.14 seconds. Derbyshire, in turn, started her morning off right by leaving the rails up and skirting past the time of the 16 other double-clean entries on her own nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare MHS Cardenta (Cardento 933 x Diamond Serpent) in 30.87 seconds. 

Exhibitors will return to PBIEC on Thursday, January 27, 2022 for another action-filled day in hunter, jumper, and equitation disciplines and the $50,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round Three will be the featured competition with 67 combinations. 

Laura Kraut (USA) & Haley during the awards ceremony

Final Results – $6,000 Bainbridge Companies CSI 4*

1) Laura Kraut (USA) & Haley – 0 / 0 – 38.12

2) Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Venice Beach – 0 / 0 – 38.31

3) Natalie Dean (USA) & Nespresso Van ‘t Laekhof – 0 / 0 –  39.94

Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood / Jennifer Wood Media, Inc for PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center

Photos: © SportFot