WELLINGTON, Fla.--Adrienne Lyle and Salvino, who finished second in the Grand Prix on Feb. 8, rode an error-free test to win the Grand Prix Special CDI5* on Feb.y 10 at the Global Dressage Festival, while Katherine Bateson Chandler on Alcazar won the Grand Prix Special CDI3* on Feb. 11, the final day of week five.
Lyle and 11-year-old Salvino scored 75.319 percent, a new personal best high score for the pair.
The top three in the class represented a clean podium sweep for the U.S.A.
“I was thrilled with him today,” said Lyle, who trains with Debbie McDonald. “It means a ton to win the five-star special. This is huge, especially on a horse who we haven’t even been competing a full year at this level. In the grand prix he was running a little bit through my aids, so today we took the time to make him stay back and wait. He felt like he was right with me throughout the whole test. If he understands what you want, he always does it for you. He has tremendous potential that we’re only just beginning to tap into.
The winner of the grand prix, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, was second on her own Lonoir on a score of 72.851 percent.
"THE GOAL is clean rides, but I left the ones [the one-time changes] in the warm-up,” said LaGoy-Weltz. “We did a super line right before we went in, but I think we were both a bit over-heated. I was super proud of him. The quality level is coming up, and everyone has full confidence that the consistency is going to fall into place. When it does, it’s going to be pretty cool.”
Third placed Arlene ‘Tuny’ Page put two sub-70 percent scores on Woodstock in January behind her, and her ever-improving performances elevated her from seventh in the grand prix.
“I was happy with how my horse presented himself and with the quality of his gaits,” said Page of the 15-year-old gelding. “This is only our fourth test back this season and it’s taken four rides to get him back and for him to wait for me. Now it’s a question of developing more inner calmness in the next two months as he settles into the routine again.”
FOR THE second day in a row, it was an all-American podium in the Grand Prix Special CDI3*, which was won by Bateson Chandler on Alcazar. who, like Lyle, moved up from her second place finish in the Grand Prix.
Shelly Francis, who won the Grand Prix, was second.
It was extremely close between the top two, with just 0.17 percent separating them.
Uncharacteristic mistakes in Francis and Danilo’s test curt their usually high score to 69.298 percent.
Anna Marek and Dee Clair, who at 10 was the youngest horse in the field, were third with their highest yet international grand prix score, 68.085 percent.
Bateson Chandler and the 13-year-old Alcazar, who is owned by Jane Forbes Clark and survived a colic operation in July 2016, were recording their first win since topping the CDI4* freestyle class at last year’s Festival.
The pair spent the summer, as they do each year, at British Olympic gold medalist Carl Hester’s barn in Britain, with Bateson Chandler even lending Alcazar to Hester for him to win the British national grand prix champion title on him in September.
“I was second in the grand prix on Thursday, and that always makes you dig a little deeper,” said Bateson Chandler, 42. “It’s been a long journey with ‘Lonzie’. I’ve been riding him since he was 6, and he’s been a fun horse to bring to grand prix. The biggest thing we’re always striving for as riders is to find that positive tension in the ring. You get negative tension or not enough tension and I’m finding that I’m starting to get there now with the positive tension, but it takes years.”
Although Forbes Clark was able to watch her horse win, Bateson Chandler’s trainer, Carl Hester, had to fly home before the special on Sunday.
“They changed the schedule, so I ended up being a bit on my own today, but he (Hester) gave me my marching orders , to make sure Lonzie is in front of the leg, to not go too fast, and to win,” said Bateson Chandler. “Carl is my go-to guy. I’m lucky to have him as a very good friend as well as a trainer. I whine to him a lot, and he’s my sounding board. He’s so cool and sensible and always has the right answers that makes sense. He gets it because he’s had his own ups and downs over the years and knows how it is to be both at the top and the bottom. I can’t thank him enough.”
THE NEXT stop for the pair is the Palm Beach Dressage Derby, which runs March 1-4 during the Festival's week seven.
“I’ll probably do the two other shows after that at Global, too,” said Bateson Chandler. “Then we’ll go back to Carl’s in April for the summer and make a plan with him from there. I would love to make the World Equestrian Games team, of course. That’s everybody’s goal this year. But we’ve also had a lot of fun doing Nations Cup teams. And now Lonzie’s getting quite consistent, I think he makes himself a good candidate. It’s pretty exciting for the future.”
Jennifer Baumert made it a clean sweep of the week’s small tour CDI3* classes by winning the Intermediate I Freestyle on Handsome on a score of 75.958 percent.
They have not been beaten in their last six competitive starts.
And all 14 of the international tests in their career, which began a year ago, have been at the Festival.
Their test featured inventive lines, including both sets of flying changes on a steeply curving line.
Baumert finished almost 5 percent overf second placed Yvonne de Haan, who scored 71.125 percent on Winter, and Canada’s Tom Dvorak finished third, riding Cyrus to 71 percent..
It was the first-drawn rider in the 17-strong Intermediate I CDI1*, Tina Konyot on Diamantino II, who won on a score of 69.657 percent.
This was only the fifth international test for Diamantino II and his first win.
Germany’s Michael Klimke on Harmony’s Diabolo was second on a score of 68.676 percent, and third place went to the Norwegian rider Alexandra Gamlemshaug Andresen, who scored 68.235 percent Empire B.