Badminton horse trials: Britain's Ros Canter leads after dressage day one

Ros Canter celebrates a personal best dressage test on All Star B. Image by Kit Houghton

Ros Canter celebrates a personal best dressage test on All Star B. Image by Kit Houghton

A British rider is out in front following the first day’s dressage at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, Ros Canter taking the lead on Allstar B. Their score of 23.9 is a personal best.

“I can’t quite believe it,” said Ros. “I was trying to keep in the zone, thinking prepare every movement and ride every movement — [dressage trainer] Ian Woodhead’s words were in my ears.

“I’m proud of my horse because dressage isn’t what he was born to do, but he’s a trooper.”

This is the horse Ros rode at the European Championships in Strzegom, Poland, last year and they helped Britain to team gold. He’s a tall horse and at 17hh he towers over Ros, who drafted in her farrier to present him at yesterday’s first horse inspection due to her finding the horse quite strong.

Ros said of the cross-country course:

“There are lots of lines but he’s a great cross-country horse, it will be down to whether the jockey can get the lines right.

“I’m hoping the start will be kinder to me this time. Last year he ran away down the hill — that’s where we lose the time, in the first few minutes — so I’m hoping he will settle more quickly.”

Michael Jung and his two-time Olympic individual champion La Biosthetique Sam FBW currently lie second on 24.7.

“He’s 18 now but he still feels young and like he’s enjoying himself,” said Michael, who added this may be his superstar bay’s final season competing in top-level eventing.

Japan’s Yoshiaki Oiwa is in third after pulling off a career best of 24.9 on The Duke Of Cavan.

“We were chased by a dog at lunchtime and he was quite unsettled,” said Yoshiaki. “I didn’t expect him to be so quiet in the arena, but he was and that allowed us to do our best test.”  

Four more British riders are inside the top 10, including Oliver Townend with Cooley SRS lying seventh on 25.9. Oliver is in the running to land the Rolex Grand Slam — worth a cool US$350,000 to the winner — if he can win here, after netting the Land Rover Burghley CCI4* title last September and the four-star in Kentucky, USA, last weekend.

Oliver’s second horse, Ballaghmore Class, is due into Badminton’s dressage arena tomorrow (Friday 4 May).

The remaining top 10 is America’s Lauren Kieffer (Veronica, in fourth), Pippa Funnell (fifth), New Zealand’s Tim Price (sixth), Canadian Selena O’Hanlon (eighth), Flora Harris (ninth) and Gemma Tattersall (10th).

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