Katherine Bateson Chandler & Alcazar Win Tryon CDI3* Grand Prix, USA Kickoff Olympic Qualifier

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Katherine Bateson Chandler on Alcazar at the Tryon CDI3*. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

MILL SPRING, North Carolina, Sept. 13, 2019–Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar won the CDI3* Grand Prix Friday, the kickoff dressage team qualifying event for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

Katherine of Wellington, Florida and the 14-year-old KWPN gelding scored 69.196% in the first competition for the pair since returning from Europe and team bronze at the the Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany two months ago.

Seven combinations–four from the United States, two from Australia and one from Ecuador–were in the Grand Prix that is the first in the U.S. qualifying process that is focused on the Grand Prix Special to decide dressage team medals at Tokyo in late July.

Alcazar (Contango x Ferro) was bought by Jane Forbes Clark in 2011 following Nartan that Katherine rode for the U.S. at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.

The duo competed at Small Tour in 2013 and moved up to Grand Prix two years later. Since then, the pair has been on seven Nations Cup teams in Europe that are key to developing American high performance dressage. And this year, she was the leading money winner with $49,500 at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival of seven CDIs in Wellington.

Katherine Bateson Chandler riding Alcazar in the Aachen CDIO5* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2019 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Katherine, 44 years old, came to Tryon to get a jump on the 2020 Global circuit beginning in January which could see all of America’s top contenders for the Olympic team of three horses and riders as the CDI5* in February will be a centerpiece selection event. Among them: Laura Graves on Verdades, Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet, Adrienne Lyle on Salvino and Harmony’s Duval, Steffen Peters on Suppenkasper, Sabine Schut-Kery on Sanceo, Nick Wagman on Don John and Sarah Lockman on First Apple.

Katherine has worked with Carl Hester in England for many years and in Florida with Ashley Holzer, who is based in Wellington, and also gets advice from team coach Debbie McDonald

“I’ve got to get my scores up, keep improving,” she said, admitting that competition to make the team will be “extremely tough.”

“I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t have mistakes and today we didn’t have any mistakes, which for me is a big thing. He was with me the whole time so I couldn’t be happier with him.

“I know the horse has the quality that we can do it. I believe that 100%.

“Here was a little bit hot and there wasn’t a ton of environment. As he’s matured, he’s been better at shows where there has been environment. The best he’s ever been was at Aachen (in July). This is a bit more of a challenge; I have to be a little more inspiring for him. I know that so I can give myself a kick in the butt for that.”

She thinks all the contenders “will come out guns blazing.”

“We have an amazing group. We’re known as a powerhouse in the world” after team bronze at the 2016 Olympics and team silver at the World Games at these show grounds a year ago.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge, but I seem to do better when there’s a challenge and pressure on. I’ve had my best scores when the challenge is on the most.”

Katherine on Alcazar leaving the arena in tears after their first competition since the horse underwent emergency colic surgery. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Aachen’s World Equestrian Festival has been one of the most intensely challenging–both the most stressful and the most rewarding for Katherine and Alcazar.

In 2016, Alcazar suffered colic after the Grand Prix in which the American team took silver behind the powerful German squad. The occurrence was so severe that there were fears for the horse’s life.

However, by the time of the Global winter circuit six months later, Alcazar came back stronger than ever.

“I know the horse has the potential to be one of the top 10 in the world,” she said. “Carl has been one of the people who has always told me you have to believe the horse has the quality. You just have to get it all together at the right time.

“In the last year he has been pretty darn consistent. Now I have faith he can really do it.”

Results:

CDI3* Grand Prix
Judges:
Christof Umbach-LUX Jane Weatherwax-USA Carlos Lopes-POR Monique Peutz-Vegter-NED Kari McClain-USA
Pl. Total Nat. Rider Horse E H C M B
1. 69.196 USA Katherine Bateson Chandler Alcazar 69.022 71.087 68.587 69.891 67.391
2. 63.630 USA Michael Pineo Farrington 64.674 60.761 62.826 66.413 63.478
3. 63.587 ECU Julio Cesar Mendoza Loor Rosali 62.935 63.261 64.239 63.370 64.130
4. 62.652 USA Karen Lipp Whitney 63.913 63.804 62.935 61.957 60.652
5. 62.000 AUS Kelly Layne Furst Amante 61.630 64.457 61.196 63.152 59.565
6. 60.369 AUS Kelly Layne Samhitas 57.500 60.978 61.196 60.543 61.630
7. 57.848 USA Pamela Aide Bon De Niro P 59.348 58.043 58.478 56.087 57.283