‘I haven’t come here to be middle of the pack’: Ros Canter leads the way as Brits dominate Luhmühlen CCI5* dressage

  • Ros Canter and Izilot DHI stormed into the lead of the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI5* – with the dressage concluding today (14 June) with a British top four.

    The judges awarded Ros and her own and Alex Moody’s 11-year-old 24.9 for their efforts, just a fraction off their personal best of 24.3 (at Pau last autumn) – despite a blip in one of their flying changes, where they were given two fours and a five.

    Izilot DHI, who is named with Ros on the British potential entries list for Paris alongside Lordships Graffalo, looked relaxed in the arena and his growing confidence is evident in the dressage phase.

    “He’s become a real professional,” said Ros. “Bar being a bit spooky, which he wasn’t today, he’s actually a very quiet natured horse.

    “He’s always been great at walking and things like that, so I’m really delighted with him.”

    Ros put the late flying change down to “rider error”.

    “I really went for it in the extended canter and I probably just needed another half-halt,” she reflected, adding that Izilot was “fantastic” and “been on great form all week”.

    “He gets older every year which helps. He’s much more settled in his brain than he used to be. He is now very established with the movements, so I’m able to really train the brain – rather than having to go ‘I’ve got to teach him’. I can keep him in a happier place much easier.”

    Ros Canter: “Giving it a good shot”

    Ros has made no secret that Izilot can sometimes be sensitive. He won his five-star debut at Pau last year, but retired during the cross-country phase at Badminton last month. They had gone into the cross-country phase in the lead after the dressage, but Izilot spooked at fence dressing and ran past the final element at fence 10, at the Lake.

    But Ros has put this firmly behind them as she looks towards tomorrow’s cross-country.

    “I’m certainly going to go out with the intention of being fast and clear. I haven’t come here to be middle of the pack, so hopefully I can give him a good start,” she said.

    “It is quite nice here at the start in that it’s not overly dressed – it’s going round things that often he finds a little bit worrying, and there isn’t any of that in the start anyway.

    “I’m going to go out and give it a good shot. He had a run at Little Downham (31 May) and he was good there. I don’t feel he’s lost any confidence from jumping at Badminton, so we’ll go and give it a good shot.”

    Ros said she has prepared for tomorrow by walking the course four times.

    “The benefit of having only one horse with you to ride is you can do plenty of course-walking!” she said.

    “I know it relatively well, I’ve got a good plan, I know my horse well. I will watch the first few, it’s always tempting to change your plan because of watching somebody else that might be sitting on a completely different horse, so I’m pretty clear in my mind how I think ‘Isaac’ might react to certain combinations, and hopefully I can give him a good ride.”

    British top four after Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI5* dressage

    Tom McEwen’s second CCI5* ride, 15-year-old gelding Brookfield Quality, lies in second overnight, having scored 28.3. Yesterday’s (13 June) overnight leader Laura Collett and Hester, are now in third ahead of the cross-country, and Tom’s other ride CHF Cooliser is fourth.

    Tom said he was “delighted” with John and Chloe Perry and Alison Swinburn’s Brookfield Quality, who is making his five-star debut at Luhmuhlen.

    “He was mega. He listened all the way through, he never lets you down. He always tries his hardest and that’s all you can ever ask for,” said Tom.

    “The preparations went really well. We waited to start a little bit later in the season, which unless you went abroad, there wasn’t much to do in the UK anyway. We had a really good run at Bicton so that was a fantastic prep for coming here, and we had a few open intermediates.

    “He doesn’t tend to need too much, he knows what he’s doing so we got all the work done at home and hopefully we can show it all off tomorrow.”

    Tom believes cross-country course-designer Mike Etherington Smith’s track should suit Brookfield Quality well.

    “We came here because it’s obviously a bit flatter than the UK-based five-stars. The ground is always good, especially considering how much rain we’ve had out here,” he said.

    “I’ve got three different rides; two very different in the five-star (plus JL Dublin in the CCI4*-S), so I’ve got to reevaluate between horses and assess what I need to do on each one. For Brookfield Quality, I think it suits him really well, I just need to build him up into the course and then let him flow. There’s plenty of questions all the way round, power questions, technical questions, so there’s a lot to do.”

    The top five of the Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI5* dressage results are rounded off by home-side rider Nicolai Aldinger and 14-year-old gelding Timmo.

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