Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) made it two wins from two starts in week seven of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida. Last to go on a blustery and unseasonably cold night under lights, Bateson Chandler and her faithful partner Alcazar won the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, putting 76.105% on the board. This is the only CDI5* competition held in the Western Hemisphere, and AGDF 2020 runs for 12 weeks, through March 29.
The Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos De Muñiz danced her way to a 75.115% second place riding her bouncy bay mare Aquamarijn, a 15-year-old by United. Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) improved one place from his finish in the qualifying grand prix to round out the podium aboard his father Juan Matute Sr’s Don Diego to 72.76%, despite a challenging ride in the windy conditions.
Bateson Chandler was a groom for Robert Dover for 16 years and is now aiming to catch the eye of selectors for a place on the USA team for the Tokyo Olympics with Jane Forbes Clark’s Contango gelding. She said: “Yesterday, I don’t think I’ve ever been that hot before, and today I don’t think I’ve ever come out of a test still being cold. We had the most extreme differences. I’ve ridden in very cold weather, and I’ve ridden in very hot weather, but not usually in the same show. So for the horses, it was challenging.
“I’m really happy because two or three years ago, my horse used to have a real issue with anything that moved – he’s a little bit of a spook that way. He went in there and didn’t look at anything and won the class,” added Bateson Chandler, who rode to a Tom Hunt compilation with a high degree of difficulty.
“Tonight was the first time that I’ve actually done my floor plan to my music correctly and not been behind or ahead. I do a double pirouette and then a one-and-a-half pirouette. In Olympia, I did a double and then a double, and then I was facing the wrong way, so I’ve had some issues with that.”
Bateson Chandler travels to the UK to train with Carl Hester every summer, and with his help she continues to get the best out of 15-year-old ‘Lonsie’, who has been competing at international grand prix for half a decade and survived a colic operation in the summer of 2016 while in Germany. They are now unbeaten in their last four starts.
Second-placed Losos de Muñiz showcased Aquamarijn’s spectacular capacity for one-time changes, riding strings of them all around the arena. “I lost count!” she said. “I was ecstatic with the test.
“Having to ride in total heat yesterday, and then we got this weather today – just being able to learn to time the warm-up, not do too much but do enough is hard. There were a couple of moments there where I just sat quiet and she stayed with me, and it was amazing. But I was frozen at the last halt,” added Losos de Muñiz.
Always one to find the positive in any situation, Matute Guimon said of his ride on Don Diego: “We’re out here to have a good time, even on days like today. I had quite a challenging ride and from that first exercise, I already had an issue and my horse was not entirely focused on me. He was a bit too maybe uncomfortable in the arena with all of the external factors. It’s not an excuse. I could have ridden a bit more focused.”
The busy rider, who was due to fly out to Doha the following day to compete his other grand prix horse, Quantico De Ymas at the CDI there added: “This is the year to try to do our best; we have big goals. I’d like to make it to the World Cup Final in Las Vegas and also go to Tokyo. After performances like today, I think I will have to look at the video and polish certain things.”
Judge at C Mike Osinski said: “I think congratulations go to all of these competitors. To deal with the adversity of the heat yesterday and the icy winds tonight is impressive. There were beautiful rides and it’s great for the sport.”
Despite the AGDF being a well established show, there are possible plans afoot to continue its expansion after the popularity of the Thursday night classes, in addition to Friday under the lights.
Director of Sport Thomas Baur explained: “We will look into expanding some Thursday nights for the future. Maybe for the five-star week next year and maybe also for the Nations’ Cup. I’d love to do it, because it was really nice atmosphere here both last night and tonight.”
It was only the previous day that Kiichi Harada recorded his first ever win outside his native Japan, topping the FEI Grand Prix CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, but he wasted no time in following it up. Last to go in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* under lights, he captured the top spot on his long-time ride Egistar — Hanuka Taguchi’s 17-year-old KWPN gelding by Cabochon.
Their 73.525% put them ahead of second-placed Kelly Layne (AUS) and her own Samhitas (72.625%) and Ashley Holzer (USA), who rode Diana Rose’s lightly-competed Blue Hors Romanov gelding Radondo into third with 72.605%.
Kiichi Harada (JPN) makes it two wins from two starts in week seven on the 17-year-old Egistar, winning the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3* with 73.525%. ©️Susan Stickle.
“I am targeting a higher level, and the horse is also improving, so I am really happy,” beamed Harada, who has his own barn in Japan. “I have been riding Egistar for six years and we have been improving together so I am very proud of the horse. Everybody in Japan will be happy with this result, I hope. So much excitement!”
The Japanese team trainer Christoph Koschel, added: “I’m really proud of him. We are here with a big team and we are trying to get good scores and it is a perfect preparation [for the Olympics]. It’s a very intense time here where you have shows coming up every weekend, so you are focused the whole time on one goal together. That is really nice to have that team bonding.”
Kiichi Harada with his groom, Adequan®’s Allyn Mann, judge Susie Hoevenaars and Craig Martin of Wellington Equestrian Realty. ©️Susan Stickle.
It was tight at the top in the FEI Intermediate I CDI3*, presented by Restylane, with Cesar Parra (USA) winning the tussle with Canadian rider Ariana Chia. Parra rode Karen Blank’s 12-year-old Mr Bumblebee, by Sting, to the pair’s first international victory with 69.608%, with two of the three judges awarding over 70%. Chia was just 0.29% behind, riding her own 10-year-old Fiderflame, by Fidertanz, to 69.314%. Swedish rider Ida Mattisson filled third place on Edison Van Twinwood (67.353%).
In the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI1*, presented by CabanaCoast, the USA’s Günter Seidel was untouchable, breezing away with the win by more than 5%. Riding Beltano, Louise Leatherdale’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Bellissimo M, he recorded 73.922%. He was last to go in the 16-strong class and relinquished Katie Johnson (USA) and Quartett into second. Canada’s Diane Creech (Robbie W) finished third. This was Beltano’s second win of the 2020 AGDF, having also led the same class in week five.
Week seven of the 12-week AGDF continues on Saturday with two hot FEI Grand Prix Special classes, one three-star (presented by Wellington Agricultural Services) and one five-star, supported by Palm Beach Equine Clinic. In the latter, home rider Steffen Peters will be bidding to extend his unbroken run of wins on Suppenkasper in 2020 to eight, facing stiff competition from Sabine Schut-Kery (USA) and Canada’s Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu. AGDF 2020 runs for 12 weeks, through March 29. For more information and results, visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors
1. Katherine Bateson (USA) on Alcazar, Jane Forbes Clark’s 15yo KWPN gelding by Contango: 77.75, 77.15, 73.05, 77.3, 75.275, 76.105
2. Yvonne Losos de Muñiz (DOM) on Aquamarijn, her own 15yo KWPN mare by United: 72.1, 76.75, 75.375, 75.5, 75.85, 75.115
3. Juan Matute Guimon (ESP) on Don Diego, Juan Matute Sr’s 17yo Hannoverian gelding by Don Frederico: 74.375, 72.775, 70.95, 72.975, 72.725, 72.76
4. Dongseon Kim (KOR) on Belstaff Dongseon, his own 13yo Hanoverian stallion by Brentano II: 71.575, 72.15, 69.225, 69.85, 71.3, 70.82
5. James Koford (USA) on Adiah HP, Sherry Koella’s 13yo part-bred Friesian mare by Nico: 70.75, 70.3, 72.15, 71.225, 68.925, 70.67
6. Micah Deligdish (ISR) on Destiny, Diamante Farms’ 17yo Danish Warmblood gelding by Diamond Hit: 65.9, 68.575, 66.25, 67.025, 67.6, 67.07
7. Karen Lipp (USA) on Whitney, Kathleen Oldford’s 15yo Hanoverian mare by White Star: 63.025, 61.275, 67.675, 65.025, 64.15, 64.23
FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty
1. Kiichi Harada (JPN) on Egistar, Hanuka Taguchi’s 17yo KWPN gelding by Cabochon: 65.725, 75.875, 75.25, 75.8, 74.975, 73.525
2. Kelly Layne (AUS) on Samhitas, her own 11yo Oldenburg gelding by Sir Donnerhall: 70.175, 72.225, 71.025, 73.675, 76.026, 72.625
3. Ashley Holzer (USA) on Radondo, Diana Rose’s 14yo Oldenburg gelding by Blue Hors Romanov: 70.85, 75.1, 70.375, 72.55, 74.15, 72.605
4. Jan Ebeling (USA) on Indeed, Vantage Equest Group II, LLC’s 12yo Danish Warmblood by Hofrat: 66.275, 66.525, 62.7, 67.35, 72.8, 67.13
5. Sahar Daniel Hirosh (ISR) on Whitman, Jane Suwalsky’s 17yo KWPN gelding by Rhodium: 62.05, 68.625, 68.325, 66.25, 68.55, 66.76
6. Bent Jensen (USA) on Chance, his own 13yo Danish Warmblood gelding by Cassidy: 62.75, 61.025, 64.35, 67.325, 68.225, 64.735