Wellington, Florida— Hosting the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions in Wellington, Florida may be new for the Global Dressage Festival show grounds, but it's practically home court advantage for Florida-based international dressage trainer and rider Katherine Bateson-Chandler. After beginning 2015 with award-winning scores at one of the largest CDI weeks of last winter's Global Dressage Festival, and then competing successfully throughout Europe this summer, Bateson-Chandler has qualified to return to the scene of her conquests in Wellington to wrap up the year. She will compete in the U. S. Dressage Festival of Champion’s Grand Prix division on December 8-12.
Only a select group of riders have ranked to compete for the USA Grand Prix and USA Intermediaire Championships at the Festival of Champions, presented by The Dutta Corp. Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Contango x Polina/Ferro) owned by Jane F. Clark, have qualified (with 68.821 percent) for the USA Grand Prix Championship division. They will compete in front of an international-standard ground jury, including Gary Rockwell and Linda Zang (USA), Hans Christian Matthiesen (DEN), Peter Holler (GER), and Christof Umbach (LUX).
“It feels fantastic to qualify for the Festival of Champions this year,” said Bateson-Chandler. “Of course this is a big year, coming up to the Olympics, so Wellington is where our winter goals will be set. It will be a long season, so we will try to pace ourselves. I'm looking forward to getting Robert (Dover)'s input and training with Debbie (McDonald). We're looking forward to a busy and successful season in Florida.”
Bateson-Chandler, a U.K. native who divides her seasons between Wellington and Europe, where she trains with 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Carl Hester, has partnered with the bay gelding Alcazar for five years. She originally took over the ride from Robert Dover, for whom she first started grooming after the U.S. Olympian retired from competition.
Under Bateson-Chandler’s hands, Alcazar has had a truly outstanding competition record. The pair earned the Adequan USDF Dressage (Intermediate II) Horse of the Year title, and most recently wrapped up their European tour as the highest-placed American pair in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the Comite Equestre De Saumur CDI3* in France. They are eager to continue furthering their talent this winter at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions and then at the Global Dressage Festival.
Bateson-Chandler offers training and coaching services to horses and riders across the U.S. and Europe. She has also worked with acclaimed trainer and U.S. Olympian, Debbie McDonald. Her experience at the international Grand Prix level gives students a competitive edge, whether through coaching as an eye on the ground, bringing young horses up the levels, or campaigning seasoned FEI competitors. KBC Dressage offers training, lessons, clinics and coaching, as well as scouting and prospect selection for clients. For more about Katherine Bateson-Chandler, visit www.kbcdressage.com.