Ros Canter leads the British charge at Pau CCI4*. The 31-year-old rider, who helped Great Britain to team gold at the European Championships in August, is in second after dressage aboard Zenshera. Ros is only one penalty adrift of the leaders, Australia’s Shane Rose riding CP Qualified.
Ros, who is competing at the French event for the first time, pulled off a solid test to earn mainly 7s and 8s from the judges, Les Smith (at C), Alain James (M) and Katrin Eichinger-Kniely (E).
Zenshera, a 13-year-old KWPN, earned a nine for his final halt from Les and the horse’s lowest mark was a six on two occasions, both given by Alain during the walk.
“Zenshera has been capable of doing this test for the last four years, but this is the first time he’s actually pulled it off in the arena,” said Ros. “I was really impressed by how relaxed he stayed and he seemed to be enjoying himself.”
Michael Jung, bidding for his first Pau title, is out of the running after withdrawing La Biosthetique Sam FBW from the competition ahead of his dressage test. The German rider reported that his reigning Olympic champion was found to be “a little lame in trot” when he brought him out to warm up this morning.
Shane confessed he was initially disappointed when he rode out of the arena, having been penalised for an error of course during the trot work and feeling that CP Qualified, his team bronze medal-winning ride at the Rio Olympics last year, hadn’t produced his best work.
“I’m happy that although we weren’t at our best, we still did well overall,” he said pragmatically.
New Zealand’s Mark Todd (NZB Campino) is tied in third place with last year’s winner, France’s Maxime Livio (Opium De Verrieres), on 40.2.
“He did as good a test as he can do,” said Mark of NZB Campino, whose only blip came in the first change when he earned a four from C.
Maxime said that his horse’s walk is a weak area — marks dropped as low as a five — but “I’ve had this horse a number of years and I still haven’t found a solution for it”.
Mark also has Kiltubrid Rhapsody — a 10-year-old making his debut at this level — lying fifth, on an equal score of 40.4 with Britain’s Franky Reid-Warrilow (Dolley Whisper).
Belgium’s Karin Donckers (Fletcha Van’T Verahof), Australian Emma McNab (Fernhill Tabasco), France’s Gwendolen Fer (Romantic Love) and Australia’s Samantha Birch (Hunter Valley II) complete the top 10.
Look at the full leaderboard here.
Cross-country kicks off at 12.45pm tomorrow (11.45am BST).
Don’t miss the full Pau report in next week’s Horse & Hound, on sale Thursday 2 November.