USA’s Katherine Bateson-Chandler to Compete Wellnetta in Europe
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Katherina Bateson-Chandler has been competing Wellnetta at international level for less than six months but describes the 11-year-old mare as the “best horse I’ve ever ridden”and will get a chance to show it in Europe this summer.
Katherine, based in Wellington, Florida missed the United States championship cut to be selected among the combinations going to Europe to battle for a place on the American team at the World Equestrian Games at the end of next month.
However, with backing from owner Jane Forbes Clark, Welnetta is among the horses that Katherine has taken to work out of the training center of Great Britain’s team gold medalist Carl Hester for the sixth year.
She hopes the pair will be chosen for the American team at the Hickstead, England CDIO3* that will wrap up the 2014 series of six Nations Cups and where the U.S. won silver in 2013.
Katherine saw Wellnetta while being competed by Dutch trainer Laurens van Lieren at a handful of shows in early 2013 and Jane added her to the string of mounts that she has ridden for Team Clark in the past decade.
This year’s Global Dressage Festival in Wellington was the first season for Katherine competing Wellnetta at Grand Prix.
By the time of the championships in Gladstone, New Jersey last month, the horse was showing “serious consistency” that along with a “fabulous temperament” were the biggst attributes.
”She’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden,” said Katherine.
“She goes and tries not to make mistakes–she could be a real asset to the U.S. team.”
Katherine rode Nartan for the United States at the 2010 WEG just months after Jane Clark bought the horse as a team prospect. The 2010 team placed fourth to qualify the U.S. for the Olympics in London two years later.
She admits she would have loved to make this year’s team with Wellnetta but it’s their first season at Big Tour and she believes it takes a year for a new combination to become a partnership.
The options for Katherine this year “are all so positive”–having a chance to try out for the WEG team but being able to train and compete in Europe no matter what.
Alcazar, the nine-year-old KWPN gelding that she has been riding for Jane for two years, is on the list to move up to Grand Prix this year after small tour in Britain and the U.S.
”I’m a bit of a chicken,”she laughed. “I want to be sure he feels confident. He’s only nine so I don’t want to overface him.
”He’s an exciting prospect and he gets to travel with his big sister. It will be lovely to have two horses at Grand Prix.”