Laura Kraut is no stranger to success at the very top of her sport.
Not only has the American rider amassed over $1.3 million competing in equestrian’s most prestigious competition, the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT), she is also an Olympic champion after winning Team Gold at Beijing 2008.
Having started riding at the age of three, few on the global tour can compete with the 53-year-old in terms of experience.
After being encouraged to take up the sport by her mother, Kraut began building relationships with horses from an early age.
This ability to understand the personality of her mount has enabled her to get the best out of every horse she has ridden on the world’s biggest stage.
“Whatever it is, I try to ride my horse the way he wants to be ridden rather than have him go the way I want to ride,” she told CNN’s equestrian EQ show.
Kraut’s career as a world class rider is very much a family affair.
Her sister still manages the horses and staff back in the US whilst Kraut travels the world, competing in some of the most spectacular cities in the world.
“Most of the horses on this circuit handle the travel really well, they’ve grown up doing it,” she said.
“As a community, we take extra special care to make sure they’re comfortable all the time. We make frequent stops to make sure they can rest and when they fly. They fly probably in a more luxurious setting than most people flying first class.”
Spending so much time caring for the horses has been an integral factor in Kraut’s success, allowing her to develop chemistry with her partner.
“You get to know what they are like when they’re nervous, when they’re anxious or aggressive,” she added.
“It’s like getting to know another person, you learn their personality and what makes them tick.”