Raleigh CDI-W/Y/J Capital Dressage Classic

Rainier Decides Retirement Is Not for Him and Rider Katherine Bateson-Chandler Obliges
By Lynndee Kemmet for DressageDaily

After a two-year hiatus, Rainier has returned to the Grand Prix circuit and at the Raleigh CDI-W/Y/J Capital Dressage Classic he was busy collecting ribbons, including a blue for his performance in the FEI Grand Prix Musical Freestyle.

Rainier, who first gained Grand Prix fame with rider Robert Dover, started out competition at the Raleigh CDI with a second place in Friday’s FEI Grand Prix “B” competition with a score of 65.958 percent. He and rider Katherine Bateson-Chandler finished just behind winners Lars Petersen and Success with their final score of 66.625 percent.

Rainier who is owned by USET President Jane Clark, and Bateson-Chandler returned to the Grand Prix ring for Saturday evening’s Grand Prix Freestyle where they earned a score of 69.750. Following on their heels was Susan Dutta and Gumshoes DC with a score of 68.700. When Bateson-Chandler stopped showing Rainier two years ago, she had no plans to return him to the show ring down the road. But the now 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Jane Forbes Clark, had his own plans.

“I didn’t really have a plan when I stopped showing him,” Bateson-Chandler said. “I had thought maybe Jane Clark ride him, but he’s a little bit of a pistol. He’s got a side to him. And then all of a sudden, he seemed ready to go back and show. So, I asked Jane and she said,’ absolutely.’ So I took him back out and he’s doing great.”

Bateson-Chandler believes that Rainier (Rolando out of Elenora) is even better now than two years ago – and so is she. “When I first had him, he was my first real Grand Prix horse. So, I did a lot of learning and made a lot of mistakes. But I’ve learned a bit more in these two years and so I’m hoping I’m riding him better and that we’re a better team.”

In a way, the two have been paired for eight years because when Rainier first went to Dover, Bateson-Chandler was his groom. “I know him so well. I’ve taken care of him since he was eight years old when Robert first got him. And I’ve taken care of him all the way through now, first as his groom and now as his rider and I know him inside and out. And he’s just special.”

When asked if she ever imagined eight years ago that she’d one day have the ride on him Bateson-Chandler quickly said, “No. Never. You always hope and you dream. Everything I have in the last couple of years is amazing. I’m a lucky girl”

During the two-year break, Bateson-Chandler and Rainier mostly “just hung out.” “I rode him a bit and his owner rode him a little. We just sort of let him down a little bit. I just played around with the moves at home and he just had a good time out in the fields, being a horse and relaxing.” She said she gave Rainier a break two years ago “because he had been going since he was eight years old – going and going and going for a long time. So, we just played and had a good time. And then all of a sudden, he felt he was ready so I showed him at the end of the season in Florida, just sort of on a whim, and he got a 68 in Grand Prix. And I thought, ‘alright.’ So I brought him here and he just felt awesome.”

When asked her future plans for the big gray, Bateson-Chandler said she didn’t have any. “My goal with him is for him to keep having a good time, enjoying his life. He’s like my pet, the love of my life. I’ll take him to Gladstone, maybe to Devon – some fun stuff. But, it’s up to him.”