Five years ago, Nayel Nassar (EGY) was a student of US show jumping veteran Laura Kraut.
“I thought that he was one of the most talented young riders to come along in a while. He came to me with Lordan and two other horses that he rode brilliantly,” said Kraut.
Nassar won the U25 Final on Lordan whilst training with Kraut. But his skills in the saddle are not what sticks out in her mind.
“The thing that I remember most about him is that he qualified for the half million dollar Grand Prix at the end [of the Winter Equestrian Festival circuit] and he didn’t make the course walk!” laughed the Olympic gold medalist.
“He was commuting from Stanford. He was jet lagged. He was so tired and he didn’t know that they closed the course walk early, so he completely missed it! He still rode beautifully around the toughest track that year.”
Today, the former student and teacher faced off at the CP Palm Beach Masters, in Wellington Florida for the $216,000 Longines World Cup Qualifier. This time, Nassar didn’t just make the course walk, he won the class with the very horse Kraut trained him on.
“Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this. [Lordan] is such a trier. I know him like the back of my hand at this point,” said the Egyptian rider.
Nassar’s plan for the jump off: “Give it a go.”
“I was planning to do an extra stride down the first line already and an extra stride down the second line to the double. But I just caught a nice triple bar and I didn’t want to get handsy, just like Laura taught me,” he smiled.
The class marks Lordan’s first show ring appearance in 2017 and Nassar’s debut at the Palm Beach Masters.
“I just heard so many good things about this event I decided to come out East this winter because I have the right horses for it. The reviews are definitely accurate. It’s a fantastic event!”
As for Kraut, she finished more than a second and half behind the 26-year-old rider. The reason:
“I think it’s because I’m getting old,” she quipped.