Ros Canter leads two classes after dressage at Blair Castle Horse Trials

  • Reigning world champion Ros Canter is leading two classes after the dressage at the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials.

    Ros and the nine-year-old Lordships Graffalo, owned by Michele Saul, took an early lead in the CCI4*-S with 25.2 on Thursday (26 August) after a confident test. Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir are currently second on 27.6, while Selina Milnes and Iron IV are provisionally third on 28.2. Ros is also 10th with Jane and Christopher Makin’s Rehy Royal Diamond.

    “I was over the moon with Lordships Graffalo,” said Ros, who was today (27 August) named on the European Championship squad with Allstar B, and has Lordships Graffalo as a reserve.

    “He is a really lovely horse and I’m very privileged to have him. I’ve had him since he was three and I’ve loved him from day one. He’s really starting to strengthen up and what’s more exciting is there is more to come.”

    Ros noted the gelding’s flying changes were a highlight in the test.

    “He’s had his changes for a while, but they’ve been a bit ‘head up’ and not been very fluent – this was the first time in a test he felt really rideable,” she said.

    Ros was leading the CCI3-*L on Thursday with her own and Alex Moody’s Izilot Dhi, but on Friday she produced another stunning test, this time with Sharon Bayston’s Shannondale Nadia to take the top spot – pushing Izilot Dhi into second.

    “She’s a lovely horse, she had a win in the three-star at Houghton Hall in spring. I really nailed her dressage test there and I felt quite a bit of pressure today because I wanted to do it again,” said Ros about the nine-year-old mare.

    “She’s kind of got a 10-minute window of opportunity, sometimes that’s after 20 minutes or sometimes it’s after 30 minutes so it was trying to gauge which one she was going to give me today. But I was really pleased with her. She’s getting lots more power.”


    Sarah Bullimore leads the CCI2*-L on her husband Brett and the Seahorse Syndicate’s Evita AP on 26.5. The mare enjoyed an eventful start to her test when a jet fly-by took place as the pair began to walk around the outside of the arena.

    “I did wonder whether that was going to send her over the edge. She was like ‘silly boys and their toys, we’ll ignore that’,” Sarah told H&H.

    “She’s a lovely mare, such a trier. She’s a big girl and I think everyone looks at her and thinks she looks really sweet on the ground and a real dope on a rope, but actually she’s quite sharp when you ride her.”

    Looking ahead to cross-country day, Sarah, who joins Ros on the roster for the European Championships with her homebred Corouet, said there’s just enough to catch the horses and riders out.

    “There’s a couple of things on course that are just a little bit odd. With the water at fence nine, you haven’t seen that much and suddenly there’s a huge jump in, and there’s a fence on a mound at the top of the hill that’s a bit out of nowhere. It’s almost like it’s been dropped from space. I don’t think that’s going to look so pretty to ride, or be so comfortable for the horses, but you can just hope there’s enough fences afterwards to give them a nice easy trip again, put the confidence in, and come home well.”


    The CCI*-Intro proved a popular class, making its UK debut since the FEI introduced the lower level international class in 2020.

    Grace Botterell and Diamond Pippin lead section E on 27.5, with Charlotte Cooke and Midnight Dancer II on top of section F on 27.

    Grace, 16, enjoyed making her international debut on the 10-year-old mare, who was formerly ridden by her sister Lauren.

    “She was wild in the warm-up, but she calmed down. She’s never been in this kind of atmosphere. So we’re really pleased with her she was so well behaved, I can’t fault her,” Grace told H&H.

    “I was so pleased with the leg yields because we’ve been working hard on that. My mum Claire is our dressage trainer, which really helps. I’m excited for the cross-country, the track looks nice – there’s a few questions, but it’s what you’d expect. She loves her jumping, I think I’m going to need to take her for a canter tonight to make sure she’s not too excited!”

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