Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar Capture Final “Friday Night Stars” Freestyle of the 2019 Adequan Global Dressage Festival

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In the final “Friday Night Stars” of the 2019 Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar captured the win in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI4* presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate on Friday, March 29. It was a night full of freestyle competition with two classes held under the lights with a full crowd of spectators.

With the final Grand Prix Freestyle win of the season, Bateson Chandler and Alcazar, Jane Forbes Clark’s 14-year-old KWPN gelding by Cantango, have shown growth and potential through the circuit. Their win garnered a final score of 75.850% from the judges, a personal best for the pair. “This is the fourth time I have done this test and the other three times I’ve always done something wrong,” said Bateson Chandler. “I’ve either been off with the music or done something that was not supposed to happen. [In] this test I got a tiny bit behind my music but pretty much stayed on and I’m really happy. I have tweaked my choreography and upped the degree of difficulty a little bit, so I’m happy that now we are starting to pull it off and get the scores higher and higher each time. I’m really happy he came in today and went around and did his business.

“I’m thrilled that now he is way more confident,” she continued. “He always really suffered from nerves, but I think as you grow in a partnership—I’ve had him a long time now—you learn to really trust each other. When you feel that trust, there’s no feeling or drug in the world that can compare to an amazing ride and connection. It’s something not really describable.”

Second place went to Michael Klimke on Royal Dancer 33, his 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Royal Blend, on a score of 73.300%. His choreography was designed by Nicole Penzig. “Time is flying, and the season is over. From the riders’ point of view, we had perfect circumstances; the ground and the organization,” said Klimke. “We got a lot of money today, which is also helpful in this sport. I have been here five years and for me it was more or less the most successful season from a sport point of view, and I will come back next year with three horses that are close to grand prix. I hope Royal Dancer can go [back to the] Special again because under the lights is really a challenge because he is really nervous. But tonight he handled it very well. Thank you to everyone who makes it happen.”

Karen Lipp and Whitney, Kathleen Oldford’s 14-year-old Hanoverian mare by White Star x Hauptstutbuch Grace, rounded out the top three with a score of 71.875% with music and choreography by Karen Robinson. Lipp and Whitney competed at the 2018 AGDF and a CDI3* test event in Tryon, NC, in April 2018, but then did not return to the CDI show ring until the 2019 AGDF. “I haven’t really been doing the CDI ring in a really long time,” said Lipp. “She’s a very hot, nervous red head. I felt like this was the first time that I have gone in there and she worked with me. I stayed with my music, I didn’t make a lot of mistakes, I didn’t get nervous and sit there paralyzed. I liked that I actually rode the piaffe/passage tonight. I tried really hard to make it clear and crisp and did a really good job with that. She tried really hard for me, so I was happy. She gives red-headed mares a good name.”

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