Sunday, May. 26, 2024

Konyot Collects First Leg Of U.S. Selection Trials For Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

August 7, Gladstone, N.J.

Tina Konyot, North Stonington, Conn., captured a commanding lead in the Grand Prix test, the first class of four in the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Grand Prix National Dressage Championship and the Selection Trials for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Her 74.89 percent put her 3 points ahead of Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Nartan (71.87%) and Todd Flettrich on Otto (71.40%).

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August 7, Gladstone, N.J.

Tina Konyot, North Stonington, Conn., captured a commanding lead in the Grand Prix test, the first class of four in the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Grand Prix National Dressage Championship and the Selection Trials for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Her 74.89 percent put her 3 points ahead of Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Nartan (71.87%) and Todd Flettrich on Otto (71.40%).

Calecto came into the Trials with seven Grand Prix wins on his record this year. Although this was Konyot’s best score to date, she said it was not her best Grand Prix ride.

“I was in Europe, and I’ve been riding less than a week,” said Konyot. “I came home on Wednesday (July 28), and that was the first night I rode him. I just went out in my jeans and my Crocs. I went to work on Thursday. It’s been a short time and a lot of travel. It wasn’t my best test, but I couldn’t ask more from him.”

Calecto, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion (Come Back II—Bahera), did peak in Aachen, Germany, at the CDIO in the beginning of July according to Konyot. He placed 10th in the Grand Prix Special (70.33%) and eighth in the freestyle (73.64%) behind Europe’s top riders.

“You don’t want to slam him back to work,” she said. “I’m not going to drill him the first week of the trials.”

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Konyot wasn’t the only rider in the Grand Prix who spent time in Europe this year. Bateson-Chandler, Wellington, Fla., flew over in May to begin riding Nartan, formally the Grand Prix mount of Dutch rider Jeannette Haazen. Jane Clark purchased the experienced 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Jazz—Tanja) gelding, and he made his second trip to the United States after competing in just two CDIs in Europe with Bateson-Chandler in the tack. His first trip occurred last year when he contested the FEI World Cup in Las Vegas, Nev., with Haazen and finished seventh.

“The horse is as honest as the day is long, and he tries the whole test for me. As long as I don’t screw it up, we’re in good shape. We’re a new partnership. It’s my fourth Grand Prix on him,” said Bateson-Chandler. “With horses that you’ve made yourself, you know them so well, and that’s been the challenge with this horse. I have his trainer/rider [Haazen] who’s been working with him his whole life helping me.”

Bateson-Chandler, who is 5’8”, said Nartan had difficulty at first getting used to the length of her legs. Haazen is just over 5’ tall.

“My legs are in such a different place than hers. I had to adjust myself a little bit to him, and he had to adjust to me. Now we’re starting to meet in the middle,” she said.

Flettrich, Royal Palm Beach, Fla., had a tense beginning to his test, which he blamed on a warm-up plan gone awry. “I was expecting to warm-up in the indoor, but they were watering the footing,” he explained. He’d intended to make his warm-up short after a hard workout yesterday in the heat, but the time spent walking up and down the hills of Gladstone to the outdoor arena gave him much less time than he’d anticipated.

“I was concerned,” said Flettrich, “but he’s a sensible horse. I had to be patient and ride through the beginning. He came back to me after the halt and reinback.”

Flettrich joined Konyot in the CDIO at Aachen with Otto, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood (Rambo Dve 373—Jubel).

Full results on Foxvillage.com.

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Observations and Tidbits

– Of the top five riders in the Grand Prix, only winner, Tina Konyot initially stayed in the ring for the honor round. However, Katherine Bateson-Chandler said she thought the others were leaving to start the victory lap, so she quickly turned around when they headed out of the ring and joined Konyot for a sedate trot around the ring.

– Haazen traveled over from the Netherlands to cheer on Bateson-Chandler and give her some last minute coaching for her ride.

– The riders in fourth through seventh place—Lauren Sammis on Sagacious HF, Sue Blinks on Robin Hood, Pierre St. Jacques on Lucky Tiger and Catherine Haddad on Winyamaro—all finished within a half point of each other ranging from 70.72 percent to 70.25 percent. Consistency is going to be key to earning a spot on this year’s WEG team.

– Tina Konyot said she’s been offered well over $1 million for Calecto, but she would never sell him. She has three retired horses ranging from age 15-28 that travel with her as well as a donkey. “I will feed them before I’ll eat,” she said.

– Two riders donned helmets for their Grand Prix rides—Blinks and Sammis.

Check out more stories from the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Dressage Festival Of Champions.

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