United States, Dominican Republic and Spain Represented in Top Three of CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 21, 2020 – The seventh week of the 2020 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) continued on Friday, Feb. 21, bringing another installment of the crowd favorite ‘Friday Night Stars’ to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Wellington Stadium. While the stands were filled during the earlier night class, the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle, the chilly temperatures and wind, unfortunately, sent many spectators home before the CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle kicked off. In the end, it was United States’ Katherine Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar who put on a captivating performance to impress the judges and score a 76.105% to win the CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors.

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar

Longtime partners Bateson-Chandler and Alcazar have picked up many wins in the 3* Grand Prix division and placed second during last year’s CDI5* in Wellington. With the 15-year-old KWPN gelding by Contango, Bateson-Chandler helped the U.S. Dressage team earn the bronze medal at the CDIO5* Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany last year and she is vying for one of the coveted spots on the team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. 

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar

Riding into second place for the CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle was the Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos De Muñiz and Aquamarijn, who earned a score of 76.105% in their freestyle choreographed by De Muñiz herself. De Muñiz has been partnered with the 15-year-old KWPN mare by United since 2016 and together, the duo represented the Dominican Republic at the 2019 FEI World Cup™ Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Yvonne Losos De Muñiz and Aquamarijn

Rounding out the top three was Spain’s Juan Matute Guimon and his very own 17-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Don Fredrico, Don Diego. The pair put a score of 72.760% on the scoreboard for their ‘Phantom of The Opera’-inspired music, a test Matute Guimon was not overly thrilled with after losing focus in a few parts of the test. Although one of the youngest competitors of the night, 23-years-old Matute Guimon represented Spain in the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina and also hopes he will be packing his bags for Japan. 

Juan Matute Guimon and Don Diego

Earlier in the evening, Japan’s Kiichi Harada and Egistar rode away with a victory in the CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 73.525%. On Thursday, Harada and his long-time ride, the 17-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Hanuka Taguchi also captured the class with 68.239%. His success this week marks the first time the pair has earned Grand Prix wins outside of Japan and it is sure to boost their confidence as they look towards representing their home country at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.  

Kiichi Harada and Egistar

Competition at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival will continue on Saturday, Feb. 8, with the highlight class being the CDI5* Grand Prix Special. 

Results: CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle
Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Katherine Bateson Chandler / USA / Alcazar / 76.105
2. Yvonne Losos De Muñiz / DOM / Aquamarijn / 75.115
3. Juan Matute Guimon / ESP / Don Diego / 72.760
4. Dongseon Kim / KOR / Belstaff / 70.820
5. James Koford / USA / Adiah HP / 70.670
6. Micah Deligdish / ISR / Destiny / 67.070
7. Karen Lipp / USA / Whitney / 64.230

Results: CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle
Rider / Country / Horse / Total Score
1. Kiichi Harada / JPN / Egistar / 73.525
2. Kelly Layne / AUS / Samhitas / 72.625
3. Ashley Holzer / USA / Radondo / 72.605
4. Jan Ebeling / USA / Indeed / 67.13
5. Sahar Daniel Hirosh / ISR / Whitman / 66.76
6. Bent Jensen / USA / Chance / 64.735 


Katherine Bateson-Chandler – CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle winner

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar

On her performance tonight:
“I am happy with that result. Yesterday, I don’t think I had ever been that hot before and tonight, I had never been so cold. We have had, I have to say, the most extreme differences. For the horses, it was challenging, and people kept coming back and saying, “oh the ferns are blowing everywhere. Oh, there is a bag on the camera!” We were going in with horror! [However] I am really happy. A couple of years ago my horse had a real issue with anything that moved or was blowing — he would get a bit spooked that way. He is not a spooky horse, but he is a bit funny about things moving. But tonight, he went in there and didn’t look at anything and won the class!”

On Alcazar’s improvement over the years:
I think for a lot of horses you see that happen. You have to come out and not think that their first season of Grand Prix is what they will be for the rest of their life. You see many, many famous horses that have done that. So hopefully he keeps going in that direction and keeps going for another five years!”

On what her trainer Carl Hester said:
“He was very happy. He told me to sit back and use my legs, so I tried to sit back and use my legs. So that made him happy!”

On her plans for the near future with Alcazar:
“Nations Cup Week – if I make it on the Nations Cup team then I will do that. If I don’t, I will do the 3*.”

Katherine Bateson Chandler and Alcazar

On her floor plan tonight:
“It is actually the first time I have done my floor plan to my music correctly. I might be behind or ahead or I do a double pirouette and then a one and half pirouette. In Olympia, I did a double pirouette but then I was facing the wrong way, so I did another half! I have had some issues with following the music. It has a relatively high degree of difficulty. My horse is pretty athletic and rideable, so I make it as hard as I can. You have to make your floor plan hard. If you just have a simple one and a clean ride with the new way we have our freestyle scoring, you are not going to win. We are all trying to push our degree of difficulty as much as we can. There are still things I need to tweak, but I am really happy I rode the test properly to the music. I got a better score in Aachen because I didn’t have the mistake in my twos, but I was way ahead of my music when I watched it back, so I tried to really sit behind it a little bit. Sometimes you want to chase your music when you are in these tests and I have to learn. Robert [Dover] always told me to sit behind my music. Freestyles are very intimidating for me!”

Yvonne Loso De Muñiz – CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle second place

On her test:
“I was ecstatic with it. As Katherine just said, it was having to ride in total heat yesterday and then this weather today. It was learning to time the warm-up again, to not do too much, but still do enough. There were a couple of tough moments there where I didn’t know what to do and just sat quiet. She stayed with me and it was amazing, but I was frozen at the last halt.”

Juan Matute Guimon– CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle third place

Juan Matute Guimon and Don Diego

On navigating through his test despite the weather:
“We are out here to have a good time, even on days like today. I had quite a challenging ride. I was not happy at all with the feeling actually from the get-go. From that first exercise already I had an issue with that first flying change. I could tell my horse wasn’t entirely focused on me. He was a bit too uncomfortable in the arena with all of the external factors. It is not an excuse. I could have ridden a bit more focused and I could have ridden with more determination through the exercises to take him to my side. I didn’t, so I am a bit disappointed, but it is what it is!” 

On what is next on his agenda:
“The next show for me is in Doha — we actually fly out tomorrow. I have Quantico already on his way to Belgium. That is my next stop! This is the year to try and do our best. I have big goals. I would like to make it to the World Cup Final in Las Vegas and also to Tokyo. I think after performances like today that we need to look at the video and really work hard on what went wrong. Polish some certain things, but you always stay positive. There is always a good thing in the test.”

Kiichi Harada – CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle winner (translated and discussed with Japan’s team trainer Christoph Koschel) 

Kiichi Harada and Egistar

On his ride:
“I’m feeling very, very happy. Egi was a little bit excited. He did a good job though. No mistakes even though he was a little excited.”

Kiichi Harada and Egistar

Christoph Koschel- Team Trainer for Japan

On his length of time working with Kiichi:
“We went to the Olympics in Rio together. I think [our partnership] started before the Olympics in 2015, so five years now. He is really listening to the lessons and he really wants to learn. He follows my advice, and he is also riding different horses. He has a good feeling in the saddle. He is a professional in Japan with his own stable, and so it is a great experience for him now winning this for the first time ever. He worked hard for it, and we get to harvest that.” 

On Kiichi’s horse, Egistar:
“He went to Rio and the World Games. He’s a super nice horse, super quiet at home. Tonight he was a little excited, which is good for this sport you need them a little fresh. It’s a Grand Prix horse, you take the reins, and he’s full power. [Outside of the show ring] You give him the rein, and you can hack him through the Everglades so that’s quite fun. I think he has a really good partner with Iggy. They love each other, and you can see that.”

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