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European gold medal-winning eventer Ros Canter went back to her roots last weekend (15 October) to take part in a Pony Club hunter trial.

Ros, who was on the British gold medal-winning team in Strzegom in August, took young mare Polly to the competition, run by her old branch South Wold Hunt North, to take part in the intermediate class.

The youngster jumped clear round the 85cm course and Ros believes she finished in second place.

“One of my liveries said I came second, but that’s a bit embarrassing as I didn’t mean to do that!” Ros told H&H.

“She’s been schooling a couple of times but this was her first competition and she took it all in her stride. She was a bit wobbly the first time, then we went again HC and she was very confident.

“I was probably just as nervous [as at the Europeans] as I don’t want to give [young horses] a bad experience and there’s quite a lot of pressure, with people thinking: ‘Well, she jolly well ought to go round that!’ but she did go clear.

“Youngsters make you work just as hard; you certainly have to come out, get going and kick on a bit or they don’t have a clue what they’re doing.”

Ros said the mare, who was bred by Penny Wallace, is half-sister to Pencos Crown Jewel, whom Ros rode at in the Blenheim eight- and nine-year-old CIC3* this year, and Lordships Graffalo, with whom Ros finished fourth in the five-year-old championships at Osberton last month.

“Her dam’s got Ben Faeire lines – good old-fashioned breeding – and she’s by [Darco stallion] Parco,” Ros said.

“Both her half-siblings have amazing temperaments and so has she. They’re real performers. Hopefully next year she might do some [young horse] classes and BE100s and just have fun.

“She’s a bit small, 15.2hh and compact, but she’s got a huge stride so I don’t think that will hold her back.”

Ros said it was good to see those at her former branch, many of whose members she has taught over the years, “so it was so nice to see them all competing”.

Graham Davidson, who is on the Pony Club branch committee and built the hunter trials course, told H&H it was a “nice surprise” to see the former member, and a bonus for the young competitors.

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“It must have been really nice for the riders; to say they’ve competed in the same class as a European champion,” he said.

“It would have meant an awful lot to me as a child, and given me encouragement.”

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