USA showjumper Laura Kraut has been one of the sport’s leading riders throughout a glittering career spanning several decades. She has been selected to represent USA in the Olympic showjumping at the Tokyo Olympics with a relatively new horse, Baloutinue. Laura will be bidding for her second Olympic medal at her fourth Olympic Games, having won team gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Born in South Carolina, USA, in 1965, Laura Kraut had her first riding lesson at the age of three. She and her sister Mary Elizabeth spent their childhood on ponies.
“We groomed them, iced their legs, cleaned stalls, rode them bareback in the field with no halter or bridle. We’d take them swimming. As I got older, I drove the truck and trailer. We learned every aspect of it, which made you appreciate the horses, not just the competition. And that’s important. In our world,” she says.
Laura and her sister still work together today with Mary Elizabeth acting as head of operations for the business.
Laura’s big break came when she was selected to join the US squad for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona but the 27-year-old had never left the US and had to obtain her first passport in order to compete. She has since gone on to represent her country at championship level, also winning some of the most prestigious grand prix titles all over the world.
Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton
Laura Kraut splits her time between her base in Florida, USA, and her home in Warwickshire which she shares with her partner, the double Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton.
“Nick is very motivated to see me succeed and go forward, which is great,” she says.
Laura has a son, Bobby, from her first marriage, who competed in international showjumping for several years. As well as competing at a different event nearly every week of the year, Laura is a very respected trainer, taking in students from all over the world.
Laura Kraut facts
Laura has been to four Olympic Games – 1992, 2000, 2008 and 2016
Laura dropped out of college after one semester to pursue a career with horses
Laura’s Olympic horse Baloutinue, was bought by her sponsor St Bride’s Farm on 9 April 2021, the last day horses could be purchased to be eligible to compete for the US in Tokyo. He is an 11-year-old by Balou Du Rouet and the pair won the first major competition they entered. Laura describes him as “one of the best in the world”.
She has also enjoyed success top horses including Confu, Deauville S, Zeremonie, Nouvelle, Simba Run, Anthem, Miss Independent and the great Cedric, with whom she won the Olympic team gold medal in 2008.