Change in tactics pays dividends for Ros Canter as she storms into Burghley dressage lead

  • New crowned European eventing champion Ros Canter has taken the lead in the Defender Burghley Horse Trials dressage, scoring 26.9 with Pencos Crown Jewel – the first combination to break the 30 barrier at this stage.

    The 14-year-old mare, known as Jasmine at home and owned by Kate James and Annie Makin, performed a polished test under Ros. They scored predominantly sevens with a nine from judge at M, Anne-Mette Binder, for their final halt.

    “Jasmine maybe not as conventional as some of my other horses on the flat. She’s quite croup high and finds it quite difficult to stay in balance, but I couldn’t be more delighted with her today,” said Ros, who credited today’s performance with a change in warm-up tactics.

    “The plan I had for Badminton didn’t quite come off, so I knew exactly what I wanted to do today. I worked her for five minutes too much at Badminton and then she got a little bit less enthusiastic about doing a flying-change – she has to do flying-changes because she thinks it’s her decision – and at Badminton off the counter counter, I lost all momentum.

    “During my warm-up today I did a huge amount of walking – I probably picked her up for 30 seconds at a time and then walked her again and repeated that, and it meant she had a bit more about her when she went in.”

    Ros explained she had to be tactical in what she did with Jasmine first thing this morning too, in order to get the best out of her when it mattered.

    “She has got an ability to jog in her walk so I brought her out this morning and she worked amazingly, so I put her back after 10 minutes. I thought ‘that will do’, but then wondered whether I should lunge her but I decided that might light her up. Short and sweet seems to be the way forward with Jasmine.”

    Emily King, who is making her Burghley debut despite having a reasonable amount of five-star experience under her belt, has slotted into second aboard Valmy Biats. They scored 30, with their flying-changes marring an otherwise smart test.

    “There were parts that were the best work he’s done,” said Emily of the 14-year-old gelding, owned by Philippe Brivois and the Valmy Biats Syndicate. “We’ve been trying to change things and improve his whole way of going, which with that, some parts were fantastic, but then a few little blips came as well. But generally, for his progression long-term, I was really pleased with how he was.”

    Emily explained that she has had to work hard on Valmy Biats’ way of going.

    “I’ve had him over the past three and a bit years and he was really downhill and quite strong when he came to me, so I’ve been slowly trying to get him more and more uphill and lighter.

    “He’s always had a good bit of knee action, but then it’s been a case of getting that into cadence and lift and softness. We’ve been really trying to get a bit more lift, but then obviously that rattles a few things and some other things come out the woodwork. As he’s strengthening up and finding it easier, I can feel that it’s going to be really, really good, but it was just a case of keeping it all together today.”

    Zara Tindall was another rider to throw her hat into the ring ahead of the lunch break on day one of Burghley Horse Trials dressage. She scored 31.3 with Class Affair, who is owned by Gleadhill House Stud, which puts them into fifth.

    “We got a better score last year and I think bits of it were better this year. He was really good in some bits, but also some of it wasn’t quite as sparky as it should have been,” said Zara, who scored the first nine of the day for her final halt from the judge at M. “If we finish on that score, I’ll be taking that.”

    Zara explained she has experimented with riding Class Affair in a double bridle this year, and he was ridden in that during his Burghley Horse Trials dressage test today.

    “I’m trying the double bridle this year because he’s so tricky in his head. It’s better in some ways and maybe not in others, but it’s worth a try.”

    Early leader Tom McEwen has dropped to third with Luna Mist on 30.5, while Oliver Townend and the first of his three rides, Tregilder, are in fourth.

    The dressage resumes at 1.45pm.

    Horse & Hound has a team of reporters covering all the Burghley action. To keep reading on our website after five articles, readers will need to buy a subscription. Visit horseandhound.co.uk/join to buy a Horse & Hound website unlimited subscription or, for great value, visit magazinesdirect.com for a combined magazine and website subscription. If you are already a magazine subscriber, the cost to upgrade your subscription to include full website access is minimal – call 0330 333 1113 to find out more.

    You might also be interested in:

    You may like...