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Veteran U.S. Olympic Show Jumping Team Is “Laser-Focused” On Paris


Call it a roundup of the “usual suspects” if you will, but this year’s U.S. Olympic Show Jumping squad is veteran in the very best sense of the word.

Among them, the three mainstays have a combined seven Olympic medals in their trophy cases—nearly half of them gold.

And while more than one American rider is fielding a new or less-seasoned mount, the lineup more than makes up for it in their years of experience not just at the Olympics, but multiple World Championships, FEI World Cup Finals, and Pan American Games.

In other words, if you’re looking for a national team that’s likely to crack under the pressure of a major championship, Kent Farrington, Laura Kraut, and McLain Ward ‘ain’t it.

“We are very lucky to have three of the most experienced athletes in the sport riding horses that are in top form heading into the Games. Additionally, we have a strong alternate athlete horse combination in Karl [Cook] and Caracole [De La Roque] who have shown great recent form,” said Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland.

“Now that selection is complete, we are 100% laser-focused on Paris.”

This time around, Rio 2016 Team silver medalist Kent Farrington will saddle the 10-year-old OS mare Greya, cared for by Denise Moriarty. Despite her relatively young age, Greya has proven her worth on the world stage before.

She helped Farrington to a fourth-place finish at FEI World Cup Finals earlier this year, and recently took her first, big, international win in the CSIO5* 1.60m Rolex Grand Prix Ville de La Baule.

In 17 rounds at 1.60m, Farrington & Greya jump clear at 41% and finish in the top 10 71% of the time (Jumpr).

Laura Kraut will return to the Games with her Tokyo 2021 Team silver medal-winning partner, the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Baloutinue, groomed by Margo Thomas.

In 2023, the pair took home the $425,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI5* in Wellington, Florida. Months later, their three, consecutive, clear rounds (including a jump-off) helped Team USA to victory in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Mexico.

Kraut & Baloutinue jump clear at 49% in 41 rounds at 1.60m, finishing in the top 10 71% of the time.

Finally, five-time Olympian McLain Ward leads the pack for experience, though in Paris, he’ll bring forward a relatively unproven entity. That would be the ultra-athletic 11-year-old KWPN gelding, Ilex, groomed by Virginie Casterman.

A former ride of Brazil’s Fabio Leivas Da Costa, Ilex officially joined Ward’s string this winter and quickly made himself at home.

The pair jumped 0/4 for the USA in their first big test, the CSIO4* Nations Cup of Wellington, and took 2nd place in the CSI5* Rolex Grand Prix, also in Wellington. Most impressive, however, was their recent, foot-perfect performance and 2nd place finish in one of the world’s toughest classes: the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.

Though they’ve only jumped five rounds together at 1.60m, they jump clear at 60%, finishing in the top 10 50% of the time.

Traveling reserve is Karl Cook, making his first Olympic appearance with the 12-year-old Selle Français super-mare, Caracole De La Roque (cared for by Tessa Falanga).

Show jumping coverage takes place August 1-6 at the equestrian grounds of Versailles.

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