USA veteran Laura Kraut said the atmosphere at the Dublin Horse Show is “infectious” and that is what keeps her coming back to the Ballsbridge venue, as well as the great food outlets in Dublin and the party atmosphere.
But what makes the Dublin Horse Show a party? “Well because, I mean, there is people drinking Guinness at 9 o’clock in the morning. I mean, you know, it’s crazy,” Kraut said on Thursday.
“I love to warm up in that back (beside the Long Bar) because they are drinking alongside the warm up area and having a great time first thing in the morning. People are just so happy and excited to be here and it is just infectious, the atmosphere.”
She might be avoiding the Dublin’s iconic Copper Face Jack’s however. After last year’s Aga Khan win some of the American squad partied at the Harcourt Street nightclub. “The younger ones went to Coppers, I am getting too old for that. If we have a good day tomorrow (Friday) I am sure we will manage something,” she said with a laugh.
So far this week she has been to Shanahan’s On The Green, which she described as “amazing”.
The American team are hungry for another win in Dublin’s most famous class. This year’s team consists of three first timers to Dublin - Jamie Barge, Lucy Deslauriers, Adrienne Sternlicht – alongside Kraut.
Sternlicht (25) came to the show four years ago to support one of her best friends, Jessica Springsteen, who was on the winning USA team in 2014. Her other link is both of her grooms, Emma Chapman and Sean Kissane, are Irish.
“They’ve been together for four years and their families have never met so I think it’s a super special occasion for them and an important event for us so we are all very excited to be here,” Sternlicht said.
Nineteen-year-old Lucy Deslauriers is one of the youngest rider’s in tomorrow’s Aga Khan, but she grew up listening to her show jumping parents, Mario and Lisa, talk about Dublin.
“I have heard a lot about the Dublin Horse Show with two parents growing up in the sport. My mom competed here 33 years ago on the US team, so she told me about her experience. And obviously I’ve heard about this show being one of the most prestigious in the world so I am really excited to be here. Walking into the arena yesterday was pretty special, definitely something I will remember.”
Kraut fears the Irish team the most in tomorrow’s Aga Khan Nations Cup. “They always thrive here. I think they are pumped up for the WEG and they have some amazing horses and riders. They are hard to beat here in Dublin so they are the test.
Ireland and the USA have been drawn last and second last in the Aga Khan.
Speaking at the draw, US chef d’equipe Robert Ridland said: “We enjoyed (winning) last year a lot. Dublin is one of the highlights of our season when we are lucky enough to get an invite.
“We have an all-female team again but I have three young riders, Laura will be our anchor.”