Katherine Bateson-Chandler & Alcazar Win Wellington World Cup Grand Prix Special for 1st CDI Victory
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar.14, 2015–Just a week after launching their international Grand Prix career, Katherine Bateson-Chandler rode Alcazar to victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Special Saturday night.
Katherine, the English-born rider who trains with Carl Hester but has been an American citizen for the past decade, rode the 10-year-old KWPN gelding to a score of 71.255 per cent.
Katherine said that after their debut Grand Prix earlier in March that she described as “horrendous” with a score of 67.340 per cent she received a well-deserved “kick in the ass, a wake up call to get it together” from Debbie McDonald, a long time friend who was coaching her.
The pair came back to the competition arena determined to do better and did.
United States team rider Cesar Parra of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey was second on Van the Man with a score of 70.569 per cent that was their best result at the Special in two years as the rider has tried to deal with the spookiness and insecurities of the 13-year-old KWPN gelding, similar to Alcazar.
Sweden’s top Olympian Tinne Vilhemson Silfvén on Divertimento was third on 70.569 per cent–the same score as Cesar and Van the Man but broken by the collective marks–in what was their last competition for the 2015 winter season at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s tadium complex where the Global Dressage Festival is staged.
Tinne, who rides for Antonio Ax:son Johnson’s Lövsta Stuteri which is a major sponsor of dressage events including the Central Park Horse Show in New York and the Falsterbo Horse Show in Sweden, wrapped up her fifth Florida season as she leaves for home next week.
The 39-year-old Katherine took over riding dressage horses for Jane Forbes Clark, one of America’s most prominent sponsors who supports British team Olympic jumping gold medalist Ben Maher and top American four-in-hand driver Chester Weber in 2007.
Alcazar’s Saturday performance, Katherine said, was “really amazing.”
“He’s been a tricky horse in a lot of ways. It’s taken him a long time to get over his own show nerves, the tension thing.”
She spent last summer with Carl Hester working through the issues. Over the last three years Alcazar has changed from not being “really cuddly” and reserved to beigaffetionate to Katherine and her husband, Carl, who take care of the horse.
“The relief is overwhelming,” she said. “I’m honestly overwhelmed. I’ve always believed in the horse.
He was a “tricky small tour horse.. there were a lot of naysayers.
“Carl has always said he will work out and Carl knows what he’s talking about. Then I knew it was going to be alright when Charlotte (Dujardin) rode the horse and called me afterward and said, ‘Oh, my God. I love this horse. He’s going to be amazing.’
“I thought then if these guys think he’s going to be good enough then he will be good enough.
“You can feel it. It’s a huge thing believing in something and having it work out, it makes me overwhelmingly happy. I want to quit now. He’s like my child who you believe in who has stepped up. You realize he’s a big boy now and I trained him myself.”
And she is thankful to Jane Clark who has supported and given her opportunities even through what she says have occassionally been “rough times.”
Her plan is to compete at the end of March in the seventh international event of the Global circuit of seven CDis over the winter then go back into training with Carl in England at the end of April and competing in Europe over the summer.
Cesar Parra said that Van the Man has been the “most challenging ride in my life.”
He has kept the 13-year-old Dutch gelding out of the competition arena this season until there was a transofrmation. from an insecure horse to one that will be consistent day to day.
“I’m looking forward to the future with him,” said Cesar who will continue to compete Van the Man and some other horses owned jointly or wholly by Michael Davis whose daughter, “Bebe,” plans to stay in Florida after Cesar moves north to his New Jersey base.
‘Bebe” Davis who has been coached by Cesar to success at bith national and international levels, plans to remain in Palm Beach year round and will work with another trainer.