May 27, 2023 – Ocala, Fla. – Katherine Bateson Chandler (USA) and Haute Couture captured another victory during the WEC May Dressage CDI3* sponsored by Hampton Green Farm and Discover Dressage in the Grand Prix Special CDI3* on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at World Equestrian Center – Ocala (WEC).
After their win on Friday in the Grand Prix for Special CDI3*, Bateson Chandler regrouped with Haute Couture and felt she was able to improve on mistakes from the first day. The judges – Kristi Wysocki (USA), Maria Colliander (FIN), Isobel Wessels (GBR), Cesar Torrente (COL) and Jane Weatherwax (USA) – agreed, awarding the pair with a score of 73.085% in their first-ever Grand Prix Special together.
“I’m super thrilled with my test,” said an elated Bateson Chandler. “I felt like she rose to the challenge. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a feeling like that in the arena before. Today she was completely on my side and fought for me every step of that test. I was honestly almost in tears at the end of it. No matter what my score was, that feeling is something else.
“She was so in front of the leg,” she continued. “All dressage riders are always looking for that really flowing, in-front-of-the-leg feeling. She was 100 percent there for me. Every correction I made she was right there for me. I felt like the weaknesses that I had yesterday, I didn’t have today, which was my main focus.”
Expanding on their partnership, Bateson Chandler noted that while she wants “Merrie” to be her friend, the mare also has to respect her rider. “She’s a bit of an alpha mare,” she explained. “She has to respect me but love me as well because they have to fight for you in the ring. In my experience, they won’t fight for you in the ring if they don’t really care about you and trust you. I feel like I found that mix of trust and respect. There’s nothing like it.”
Katie Duerrhammer (USA) and Paxton, a 12-year-old Westphalian stallion by Dante Weltino OLD x Don Marco 3 owned by Kylee Lourie, were second with 71.489%. Slotting into third place were Lehua Custer (USA) and F.J. Ramzes, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding by Juventus x Rampal owned by Wendy Sasser, with a score of 69.766%.
The World Equestrian Center May Dressage CDI3* concludes on Sunday, May 28, with the Intermediate 1 Freestyle CDI1* at 8 a.m. along with a full roster of international classes for amateurs, Under 25, juniors, young riders, children, and young horses. For more information, visit www.wec.net.