Rosalind 'Ros' Canter has gone from being a relatively unknown rider for the past seven years to being one of the biggest stars in eventing right now. As we approach next year's Olympics, the former FEI ranking leader has a goal of participating in the event in Paris.
Ros Canter comes from a sports-oriented family, and as a child, she participated in various sports, including hockey and tennis. Of course, there were also horses. In contrast to many other successful riders, Canter did not have a youth career filled with major international competitions. Instead, she had to wait relatively long for her breakthrough in the riding arena. This breakthrough happened when a particular horse became part of Canter's career.
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Canter's sports career had taken a back seat when she first pursued a degree in sports science and later worked for 4 years in the stable of the respected rider, judge, and horse producer Judy Bradwall. Afterward, she returned to her family's farm and started her own business. Two years later, Canter began riding the horse that elevated her from being a skilled rider to being a great one: Allstar B, also known as Alby. After that, Canter's career seriously gained momentum, and two years later, in 2015, she participated in Burghley, her first Grand Slam event. The pair continued to deliver significant results over the next six years. In 2017, they were part of the British team that won the European Championships, and the following year, they took the success to new heights. They won their grand slam medal, bronze at Badminton, but it was at the World Championships that they truly solidified their names among eventing enthusiasts. The British team was crowned world champions for the sixth time in the history of the competition. Canter and Alby were the only pair on the British team at the World Championships, having also represented their nation in the European Championship victory the previous year. Furthermore, it was impressive that in both their first World Championship appearance, they also won the individual competition.
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The subsequent years were a bit quieter as Canter gave birth to her first child in 2019, and the next two years saw most major competitions canceled due to Covid-19. Nevertheless, Canter reached a significant career milestone in the spring of 2019 when she was ranked number 1 on the FEI ranking for the first time. In 2021, Canter and Alby were again part of the British team that won the European Championships, while they finished only 45th in the individual competition. That same year, they were also selected as reserves for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Unfortunately, their story takes a tragic turn from there. In June last year, the 17-year-old Alby had begun to wind down his sports career but was still able to perform at the highest level. He participated in CHIO Aachen with Canter but sustained an injury that resulted in him being euthanized a few days later. It was a sad ending to the life of a special horse.
Over the past two years, Lordships Graffalo, also known as Walter, has taken the position as Canter's star horse. After several promising performances, Canter and Walter have established themselves as one of the best pairs in eventing this year. In May, they won the Badminton Horse Trials, Canter's first grand slam victory. Three months later, the pair won both the individual and team competitions at the European Championships, briefly sending Canter back to the top of the FEI rankings. Now, the next goal is to qualify for the Olympics in Paris next year. Ros Canter has quickly gone from an unknown rider to one of the best in her sport, and it seems that her career is far from peaking yet.