It was a reverse one-two at CHIO Aachen last night where Tokyo Champions Sweden were beaten into second place by a very strong US team of Jessica Springsteen, Brian Moggre, Lucy Deslauriers and RED MILLS Rider Laura Kraut.
It was the first time since 2005 that the United States has won the Nations Cup in Aachen’s iconic main stadium, finishing on a team total of four faults in front of a crowd of 18,000. Sweden, which took gold over the U.S. silver in team competition at the Tokyo Olympics and won this event in 2019—the last year it was held due to its COVID-19- had to settle for second place after notching eight faults in the two-round event. France finished in third on 12 faults.
The pressure to keep her team on top for the finish was on the anchor combination Kraut—who also was a member of the last U.S. team to win the Aachen Nations Cup in 2005 with Miss Independent—and Baloutinue. They would be the final combination in the ring, and they needed to cross through the timers fault-free to ensure the U.S. beat Sweden.
The Swedish team of Petronella Andersson on Castres Van De Begijnakker Z, Jens Fredricson on Markan Cosmopolit, Annika Axelsson riding Cleo Z and Angelie von Essen with Alcapone des Carmille had four faults in both rounds, so they finished on a total score of eight faults.
For Kraut, that meant if she jumped clear, the U.S. would win; if she had a rail down, there would be a jump-off; and if she had two or more, Sweden would claim the victory.
“When Brian told me if I didn’t ride clear there would be a jump-off against Sweden, I couldn’t stomach that, so I made sure I didn’t knock a pole,” said Kraut, who was part of the team in Tokyo who jumped off against Sweden.
Using her years of experience navigating difficult tracks at Aachen, and with Baloutinue still feeling fresh after the first round—“I don’t think he has ever been in such a situation with so many spectators before,” she told the press later—the pair finished fault-free to clinch the team victory. After she had jumped the last fence clear, her teammates hugged each other and cried for joy on the rider’s stand.