Top British rider holds Bramham four-star long dressage lead with ‘clever as a cat’ horse

  • Ros Canter took the lead in the CCI4*-L on the first day of Defender Bramham Horse Trials dressage today, scoring 29.9 in the session before lunch.

    The European champion piloted MHS Seventeen – owned by Lady Milnes Coates and Deirdre Johnston – to a consistent test, which was solidly rewarded by the judges throughout.

    “I’m absolutely delighted with him – he went and did a real personal best at Bicton and I think we weren’t far off that again today,” said Ros.

    The diminutive rider pilots a lot of big horses, but says the 16hh “Vinnie” is just her size.

    “We fit each other really well,” she said. “He’s clever as a cat to a jump, so careful and thoughtful, but he does really enjoy galloping so he’s a great mix. In his younger years, he just wouldn’t be 100% committed unless I was 150% committed. But now it’s levelling out a lot more and he’s really enjoying the job.

    “He’s changed so much on the flat – he would like to think he’s quite high maintenance and busy, but actually, he’s quite normal and if you can persuade him of that, he stays with you. He’s getting so much better as he gets older.”

    MHS Seventeen was initially produced by Sara Bowe and then spent a couple of months with Nicola Wilson before her serious accident at Badminton Horse Trials 2022. Ros took him on later that season.

    “He’d missed a bit with Nicola’s accident and chopped and changed riders,” said Ros. “Last year was a massive learning curve for him. We did a few runs, then there were lots of cancellations and then we moved up to this level, and it shocked him. He came here for his first four-star last year and we were swimming in deep water.

    “Then we ran him quite a lot to get him used to it and by the end of last year, he felt like a little iron and he’s come out this year really meaning business – a little bit too much at the start of the season as he was fairly wild, but now we’ve found a kind of mutual level ground.”

    Ros Canter has her potential Paris horse Lordships Graffalo here in the CCI4*-S and he will do his Bramham Horse Trials dressage tomorrow. The world number three is keeping all her options open on whether “Walter” runs here or at Luhmühlen Horse Trials next week – where he is also in the CCI4*-S, Ros confirming today his appearance on the CCI5* entry list was an error – as his final showing before selection.

    Selina Milnes holds second in Bramham’s Defender CCI4*-L on Angela and William Rucker’s 10-year-old Cooley Snapchat, with whom she won the CCI4*-S here last year, and Tom Jackson is third on Mary Harris and Ruth McMullen’s Plot Twist B.

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