Haute Couture, Dutch Olympic Team Reserve, Bought for American Katherine Bateson Chandler

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Dinja van Liere of the Netherlands and Haute Couture in the 2021 European Championships. © 2021 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Nov. 30, 2021

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Haute Couture, the nine-year-old mare that was reserve for the Netherlands Olympic team, will be competed by Katherine Bateson Chandler of the United States with the world championships nine months away.

The KWPN mare that was developed by Dinja van Liere through 2017 and 2019 World Young Horse Championships before moving to Grand Prix earlier this year has been bought by Jennifer Huber, a longtime friend of Katherine, 46 years old. Both are based in Wellington, Florida.

Haute Couture (Connaisseur x IPS Krack C) was bred and owned by Joop van Uyter and Albert Drost.

Haute Couture is the second top European horse to have been acquired for an American rider in the past month–Fiontini, the triple World Young Horse Champion now an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood mare, was bought a month ago to be competed by Anna Buffini, 27, of San Diego, California.

Both Fiontini and Haute Couture will compete in the winter-long Global Dressage Festival in Wellington

Katherine is coached by Great Britain’s Carl Hester who told dressage-news.com he planned to be in Wellington in February.

Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Alcazar winning the 2020 Global Dressage Festival CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2020 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Katherine first tried Haute Couture the middle of October.

“Haute Couture is lovely,” Katherine said. “Dinja has done a beautiful job riding. It was one of those horses I could get on and feel like she was my ride rightaway. She’s a real ladies’ ride. She’s not a big horse and not the biggest natural mover but she’s lovely, lovely to ride, really nice and hot and in front of the leg that I really like. Super in the bridle. She’s just what I like in a horse.”

The horse is scheduled to arrive in Florida about the middle of December but U.S. quarantine means it could be near the end of the year before Haute Couture arrives in Wellington.

“If everything is up and running and going well,” she said, “it would be fun to do a championship this year. There’s no pressure on that. She’s a young horse and a new partnership.”

A goal is to compete Haute Couture at this winter’s Global Dressage Festival in Wellington.

Then, she plans to go to Europe with several horses in the summer to work with Carl.

Her program with Haute Couture, Alcazar and other horses, she said, “is to do it well, not do it fast.”

Jennifer Huber, originally from Maine, and Katherine have been friends for about 25 years and a client for the past decade. Jennifer competes in CDIs as an amateur.

“This opportunity came about and she said she would love to be involved.”

Competition records for Katherine go back a quarter century when she was an assistant to Robert Dover. In 2003, she began competing Rainier, the horse Robert rode on the U.S. bronze medal team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and then in 2005 with FBW Kennedy that Robert rode at the 2004 Games, also for team bronze.

In 2010, Nartan, a KWPN gelding 15 years old at the time, was acquired from the Netherlands for Katherine to successfully earn a start at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, and that qualified the U.S. for a team start at the 2012 Olympics.

In 2012, Alcazar a KWPN gelding then aged seven, was bought by Jane for Katherine to ride.  The duo initially competed at Small Tour and moved up to Grand Prix in 2015.

The competition career of Katherine and Alcazar include 88 international starts including nine American Nations Cup teams, seven of them in Europe and two at Global in Wellington, the most ever by an American combination, according to records researched by dressage-news.com.

Dinja described Haute Couture, the only mare she rode and is nicknamed “Merrie” (mare in Dutch), as “the sweetest horse you could ever wish for because she’s sweet but not with the bitchy things you don’t like in a mare.

“She’s a princess, now starting to be a real queen. She’s a princess, but not a typical mare, she feels a little bit stallionish. In some ways a tomboy. She always wants to do her ultimate best and she likes to work and likes the attention and really likes to cuddle.

“In Tokyo she absolutely loved it there because all the attention was for her for two weeks. I think she didn’t want to go home. She’s very safe and doesn’t want to make any mistakes. She always does her best even when she’s a little bit scared, ‘OK, I’m doing it, I’m doing it for you’. We have a special bond. She is focused on me. When I walk by she turns her head and says, ‘That’s my girl’. She’s lovely and loveable.”