Kraut, Tosh Named 2021 USEF Equestrians Of The Year

Jan 14, 2022 - 8:00 AM

Naples, Fla. – Jan. 13

Olympic show jumper Laura Kraut was named the 2021 International Equestrian of the Year and leading hunter rider Hunt Tosh was named National Equestrian of the Year on Thursday, Jan. 13 at the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s annual Pegasus Awards Dinner Celebration, held as part of the USEF Annual Meeting in Naples, Florida. USEF members voted over the past month to determine the winners.

Kraut’s 2021 season was highlighted by a team silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games aboard Baloutinue. She took over the ride on Baloutinue in early 2021, and they captured their first win together in the $137,000 Bainbridge Companies Grand Prix CSI3* in Wellington, Florida. The pair helped the NetJets U.S. Jumping Team take fifth place at the Nations Cup of Rome CSIO5*, then finished second in the Rolex Grand Prix of Rome CSIO5*.

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Laura Kraut and Baloutinue at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Lisa Slade Photo

Kraut, Royal Palm Beach, Florida, was selected for the U.S. Jumping Team for the Tokyo Olympics—her third Olympic team—and became the oldest U.S. female athlete to win a medal since 1904 with the team silver medal. Kraut and Baloutinue then traveled to Aachen, Germany, where they helped the U.S. team capture the win in the Mercedes-Benz Nations Cup CSIO5*, the first U.S. win since 2005, and finished fifth in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen.

Other nominees for the International Equestrian of the Year were Roxanne Trunnell, who won two individual gold medals and team bronze with the U.S. Para-Dressage Team at the Tokyo Paralympics, and Sabine Schut-Kery, a member of the silver-medal U.S. Dressage Team at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Kraut and Schut-Kery were awarded the William C. Steinkraus Trophy for their achievements in Olympic disciplines, while Trunnell received the Becky Grand Hart Trophy for her international achievements in a non-Olympic discipline.

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Hunt Tosh and Cannon Creek at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October, where the pair won the high performance hunter and the grand hunter championships. Mollie Bailey Photo

Tosh, the National Equestrian of the Year, claimed victory at several of the most prestigious hunter competitions in the country with a relatively new horse, Cannon Creek, owned by the Wheeler family. Their first big victory of the year came at the Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship (Kentucky) where they dominated the field of 103 entries from the get-go. Tosh also won the 2021 Pennsylvania National Horse Show Grand Hunter Championship with Cannon Creek, as well as taking home the title of 2021 Leading Hunter Rider.

Tosh also had standout showings in the 2021 Platinum Performance USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships, winning the 3′ to 3’3″ championship with Twain and the first round of the 3’6″-3’9″ championship on Chorus, as well as placing in money-winning positions on three other mounts. Tosh was awarded the 2021 Kenneth Wheeler Style of Riding Award for his classic riding style.

Tosh was awarded the Emerson Burr Trophy, which is presented to an equestrian competing with any horse or pony breed shown in over-fences hunter classes.

Also during the awards ceremony, Kathy Kusner, Playa Vista, California, and Howard Simpson, Lake Forest, Illinois, were recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Kusner is renowned as a true pioneer who broke barriers for other women in horse sports. She was one of the first women selected to the United States Equestrian Team to compete at the Olympic Games. She represented the U.S. at the Tokyo Games in 1964, the Mexico City Games in 1968, and the Munich Games in 1972, where she was part of the silver medal-winning team. Kusner is the founder of the nonprofit Horses in the Hood, which works with inner-city communities in Los Angeles to introduce young people to horses and their care.

A member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, Kusner also has conducted numerous clinics and lectures around the world, has served as a course designer and jumping commentator, and authored articles for equestrian publications.

Simpson is recognized for his contributions to major equestrian events in the U.S. He and his wife, the late Martha Smith Simpson, hosted the first American Continental Young Riders Championship at their Temple Farms in 1985. In 1988, the competition became the North American Young Rider Championships, now called the North American Youth Championships. He served as the director of the NAYC for more than 20 years.

Simpson was instrumental in the creation of the Kentucky Three-Day Event as the first CCI4*-L (now CCI5*) in the country, and later led the evaluation team that recommended the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill as the second CCI5* in North America.

A complete list of honorees, including a list of the 2021 Pegasus Award recipients, is available on the USEF website.

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