Rosalind Canter has been named in Britain’s squad for the European Eventing Championships in Strzegom, Poland next month (17-20 August). If you're not familiar with the eventer, here's everything you need to know about her
1. Ros is on the cusp of making her senior squad debut
The 31-year-old will make her senior squad debut at the European Eventing Championships in Strzegom, Poland next month (17-20 August), with Caroline Moore’s and her own Allstar B.
2. This year’s Badminton was a big moment for her
The diminutive Ros finished fifth at Badminton in May and was best of the British with Allstar B. Prior to this, her best previous four-star result was 25th at Burghley last year.
3. Christopher Bartle has been a big player in her success so far
Last autumn Ros turned to Great Britain’s eventing performance coach when — with just two four-stars under her belt — she felt frustrated at being “a long way off being one of the big boys though I was on a horse that could do all three phases”.
Christopher worked his fabled magic, scrutinising videos and tweaking her position on his giant training seesaw, known as “Rock-on Ruby”.
“We found that my reins had got shorter as Albie [Allstar B] got keener, and begun pulling my body forward,” explains Ros. “I wasn’t always ready for the next element.”
4. Ros has worked with plenty of other big names as well
Ros first established her (let’s face it, wonderfully fitting) name winning young horse classes when — having “done juniors fairly badly and young riders really badly” — and completed a sports science degree, she joined Burghley winner turned trainer and young horse producer Judy Bradwell for a summer and stayed four years.
“I felt for a long time I was getting left behind [doing that],” says Ros. “In hindsight it was the best thing that ever happened. I would not have been ready to set up a yard myself without that education.”
Other trainers have played a part too. Ros trains with Ian Woodhead now on the flat, but pays particular credit to Team GB junior coach and former four-star rider Caroline Moore, who owns Allstar B (Albie) with her.
5. She’s proof that bigger isn’t always better
At eight stone and not quite 5ft 2in, she looks tiny aboard 17.1hh Albie, but beyond “liking my horses quite polite”, she doesn’t bat an eyelid about this. Her size has clearly never held her back — she was a talented cross-country runner as a child, a first-team hockey player at college, and still plays hockey and netball.
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6. Her Lincolnshire base will give you yard-envy
It’s easy to see why Ros headed back to the family farm (her mother is the farmer, her dad is an estate agent and surveyor) in the Lincolnshire Wolds to set up her yard in 2011. The facilities are formidable. A 20x40m arena was supplemented by a 40x60m one with the help of an EU grant as the on-site livery side-business grew, and Ros one day had a “lightbulb moment” to link them, with a few extras thrown in. She therefore has ditches and a water fence to play over from a surface — plus a gorgeous cross-country area in a lush grass valley.
“I used to travel over an hour to some gallops before Burghley — then I realised that our own hills, grass and valleys are all I need. It’s variety that’s key,” she says.
7. Family comes first
As wonderful as her set-up is, another clearly important factor is being surrounded by her family. Ros’ two older sisters still live locally and she glows about the fact that her small nephews now blast round the farm in their plastic tractors — “it’s so fantastic here for children.”
Ros lives off-site nearby with her non-horsey but sporty partner, Chris. “He’s a scuba diving instructor and would happily get up at 3am to go off diving — so my eventing habits are not alien to him,” says Ros.
The relationship has improved her focus and life balance.
“I now go to work and have a reason to stop, whereas before there was a shady line between the beginning and end of my day,” she explains.
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