Katherine Bateson Chandler and Wellnetta Excel in FEI Grand Prix 3*

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Welnetta Photo: SusanJStickle
Katherine Bateson Chandler and Welnetta Photo: SusanJStickle

Kathrine Bateson Chandler (USA) rode Wellnetta to the top of the FEI Grand Prix 3* class. The pair won with a 69.280% while Australian rider Kelly Layne narrowly finished second with a 69.240% on Udon P. Michael Barisone (USA) rounded out the top three on Ellegria. The pair finished with a 67.200%. Bateson Chandler admitted she's still getting to know Wellnetta, an 11-year-old KWPN mare owned by Jane Clark, but the two have meshed well so far. Thursday's test was only the second grand prix test the pair had ridden together and thanks to Florida's ever-changing weather, Bateson Chandler has had to learn to adapt quickly.

"I'm really happy with my horse. We're still getting to know each other. Last time I rode her in the test, it was very cold, very windy. Everything was a bit wild everywhere. This weekend, it was quite hot and humid, so it's a sharp learning curve for me with her, knowing how she's going to be in different temperatures and environments," Bateson Chandler explained.

After only six months, their relationship is still new, but Bateson Chandler used to ride Wellnetta's father and can see the similarities between the horses.

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Welnetta Photo: SusanJStickle
Katherine Bateson Chandler and Welnetta Photo: SusanJStickle

"[Hexagon's Louisville] had such an incredibly sweet temperament, and she definitely got that from him," Bateson Chandler smiled, "She's the sweetest, snuggliest horse."

"That's an interesting thing," she continued. "With a mare, it takes a bit longer I think, than with a gelding. She's getting to know me and I'm getting to know her."

Bateson Chandler most appreciated Wellnetta's always eager-to-please attitude, which she credited with getting them through the test today.

"I have the flu, which isn't helpful. But you know what, you gotta toughen up and ride through it. I thought about scratching for a minute and then thought, 'No. What if this happened at the World Equestrian Games? You'd just have to get over it.' So that's what we did. She helped me out a lot," Bateson Chandler acknowledged.  

Second place finisher Layne was also feeling under the weather during Thursday's competition, although she was still quite pleased with Udon P's performance.
"He was so focused on me in the test. There is always room for improvement, but there really is the feeling that he's becoming a combination with me. This was our seventh grand prix; we've done three international. He really trusts me in the ring. I just have to keep asking the right questions," Layne detailed.
The biggest milestone for the pair was their full completion of the required piaffe steps for the test. "I really was happy with my piaffes. They were on the spot. I could make all 15 steps. This was a very big step for us. The feeling was good, and I was happy," Layne remarked.
Layne, who trains out of the Palm Beach Equine Sports Complex across the street from The Stadium, was especially appreciative of her entire team's hard work at in getting her and Udon P to the big tour.
"So many things have to come together to make this work. That's the hard part. I had to pull out of the CDI two weeks ago because I had a bell boot rub. You just keep focusing forward and I have a great team behind me; I have really supportive people. It makes it really cool," Layne commented.
Layne is happy to have reached the grand prix, but is ever-eager to continue to improve. "I think our results have shown that each time our score is going up a little bit by little bit. Next time I hope we crack 70%! I would like to get into that club," Layne concluded.
Competition for AGDF 5 will continue Friday morning with the FEI Prix St. Georges, presented by Havesafe Farm, followed by the feature class of the week, the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle 3* and the 4*.
Final Results: FEI Grand Prix 3*
Rider, Country, Horse: Judge E%, Judge H%, Judge C%, Judge M%, Judge B%, Total%
1 Kathrine Bateson Chandler, USA, Wellnetta: 70.500%, 69.400%, 68.300%, 68.300%, 69.900%, 69.280%
2 Kelly Layne, AUS, Udon P: 70.600%, 69.700%, 69.400%, 68.100%, 68.400%, 69.240%
3 Michael Barisone, USA, Ellegria: 66.900%, 65.800%, 67.400%, 66.600%, 69.300%, 67.200%
4 Michael Barisone, USA, HF Victor: 66.900%, 66.400%, 67.400%, 67.200%, 67.100%, 67.000%
5 Kim Jesse, GER, Charming 8: 63.200%, 71.100%, 66.100%, 63.700%, 64.800%, 65.870%
6 Shawna Harding, USA, Come On III: 64.800%, 65.500%, 64.900%, 65.900%, 66.800%, 65.580%
7 Susan Dutta, USA, Currency DC: 65.000%, 64.700%, 64.900%, 65.900%, 65.800%, 65.260%
8 Gary Vander Ploeg, CAN, Degas: 63.700%, 64.900%, 66.800%, 63.800%, 64.600%, 64.760%
For more information go to: www.globaldressagefestival.net