Katherine Bateson Chandler Credits Groundwork and Building Trust for AGDF 10 CDI3* Grand Prix Win With Haute Couture

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Katherine Bateson Chandler and Haute Couture

Week 10 of the 2024 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) in Wellington, FL, continued on Thursday under picturesque skies. The CDI3* FEI Grand Prix, presented by Fair Sky Farm, lasted for more than four hours and featured a whopping 33 horses on the start list. Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) had to wait three nail-biting hours atop the leaderboard before her poignant win was confirmed.

Beson Chandler’s 71.913% test aboard Jennifer Huber’s 12-year-old KWPN mare Haute Couture (Connoisseur x Krack C) represented a new high score for the pair in this test after a rocky start to their competitive career. Their scoresheet on Thursday contained a good smattering of eights, and a high score of 74.891% from the judge at B, Janet Lee Foy (USA). 

It was a U.S. one-two, as runner-up Geñay Vaughn rode her mother Michele’s 13-year-old gelding Gino to a new personal best of 69.522%. She has owned the black KWPN by Bretton Woods since he was six, and this was the horse’s fourth CDI in his career. Rounding out the all-female podium (in fact, the top 13 in this class were all female athletes) was Canada’s Ariana Chia. She rode Coves Darden Farm’s 14-year-old PRE gelding Guateque IV to 69.022%. Chia broke up the American party, as all the other riders in the top seven were representing the USA.

Bateson Chandler acquired the ride on Haute Couture, who was reserve for the Netherlands Olympic team for Tokyo with Dinja van Liere, in December 2021, and the pair have had some bumps in the road, with their scores ranging from 61% to 71% over the past two years.

“We’ve had our ups and downs, it’s been a really challenging season for me and I really needed this,” said the 49-year-old, referring to the fact that she and ‘Merrie’ were eliminated in their only two other CDI starts in 2024. “We really put in the time and work — me, my trainer Ashley [Holzer] and Jen her owner and Alex [Garrett, her groom] — it’s been a true group effort. We put in a lot of work to get Merrie to where she was today, and she felt amazing.”

Beson Chandler trains with Holzer as well as Carl Hester, with whom she spends summers in the UK. She admits that taking on a made horse has come with its own challenges — some unexpected.

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Katherine Bateson Chandler & Haute Couture are presented as winners of the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix, presented by Fair Sky Farm by Rowan O’Reilly. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

Press release Adequan Global Dressage Festival | Photo 1: Katherine Bateson Chandler & Haute Couture, winners of the CDI3* FEI Grand Prix, presented by Fair Sky Farm. Photo © SusanJStickle.com

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