Badminton first-timers: Rosalind Canter — ‘I am stepping into the unknown’

Rosalind (Ros) Canter, one of the British debutants at next week’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (5-8 May 2016), had a typical horsey childhood.

She grew up in a farming family and was a keen member of South Wold Hunt North branch of the Pony Club.

“My two older sisters and I spent the summers doing Pony Club activities and competitions, liking eventing the most,” she explains. “We then did juniors and young riders on young home-produced ponies, but in very amateur way,”

Fast forward some years, Ros, 30, is now on the World Class Podium Potential Squad, has been a successful member of Nation Cup teams and was 36th in the British Eventing rider rankings last year. She has a yard of talented horses, including her Badminton ride Allstar B.

Ros says: “I got the ride in 2013 when his previous rider, Emily Parker, moved to Scotland and his owner, Caroline Moore, wanted him to stay locally in Lincolnshire.

“He is large at 17hh and I am only just over 5ft so when I first started riding him I thought, ‘Oh God, are we really the right combination?’ But he is such a gentleman with a good brain and great jump.”

Using the Burghley experience

Ros and Allstar B quickly moved up the levels, finishing 21st at Bramham last year and then going on to be the best first-timers at Burghley. They are now focusing on this year’s Badminton.

“I got a lot of confidence from Burghley,” says Rosalind. “Before, you can never quite imagine coming down to jumps like the Cottesmore Leap, then you do and you just jump it. I am feeling the same way about The Lake and other fences at Badminton.

“I am not as familiar with Badminton as I am with Burghley and, not being experienced at four-star, I am stepping into the unknown really.”

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Ros has had a quick look at the course preview video, but at the moment her focus is on a good preparation with her ride, who thinks a lot more of himself since Burghley.

“He thinks he is a bit of king now and he is not the easiest to get to the start box as he knows what’s coming,” she says. “I am excited, but there is some time to go yet and I am focused on getting our preparation right. We want him to be fit and raring to go, but not over the top. It’s all on track at the moment.”

After a pleasing run at Belton, Ros has thought about how she hopes to fare in the competition.

“He is very capable in the dressage and if we pull out a good test, I hope to be in the mix,” she says. “I will set out cross-country with my minute markers and try and take the tighter lines. I am not going hoping just to get around, I am more ambitious than that.”