Ros Canter - Journey to the TopThis 13-minute documentary features a story about facing fears, balancing priorities, and returning to competition transformed in mind and body.
The fear factor

Ros Canter has her sights based firmly on Paris 2024. She’s famous as a 5* eventer for clearing huge cross country (XC) courses filled with intimidating fences that dwarf her diminutive eight-stone, five-foot frame. However, it’s not done without weighing the risk. “The bottom line is, I don’t love going fast,” she reveals. “I have a fear of riding into a fixed fence, which is essentially what XC riding is.”

The learning curve

The path to perfection hasn’t been a straight line. “I’m extremely competitive,” says Ros. “I love winning and always hated losing. Riding was a great combination of the two. I was on and off successful with competing in the early days. At the time, we didn’t understand the amount of help and training it took to be really good. My confidence levels were up and down, and I lost heart with it all.”

The right support

“I thought Ros had natural ability,” says coach, mentor and owner of Allstar B, Caroline Moore. “She was always trying to get a little something extra out of her lessons, and that stuck out to me.” When Caroline offered Ros the ride on Dutch Warmblood gelding Allstar B, she “jumped at the chance. He came to this yard as an 8-year-old, over 17hh. I’m under 5’2”. I took one look at him and thought, crikey, he’s far too big. I took him around one XC course and thought, he’s far too strong as well. I wouldn’t say it was a match made in heaven.”

The right head on your shoulders

“To be a top-class competitor,” muses Caroline, “you have to cope with pressure. You have to be very strong in your mind. You’ve got to believe you can do it.” In the end, Ros’s competitive fire took over and she decided to have “one last attempt” to regain her confidence and begin to enjoy XC. Working with Great Britain’s eventing performance coach Chris Bartle, they employed sports psychology and changed Ros’s riding, giving her “huge confidence.” And that’s when the results started coming in.

Strong mind, strong results

“It was a fairly rapid turnaround in results,” reflects Ros. “I still felt very inexperienced at my first World Championships. But the importance of my system and my mental state really showed.” It was aboard Allstar B that results started to come in. “We had an amazing team that year [2018]. We were so invested in winning team gold that when I cleared the last show jump, I was so relieved and happy for everybody else, that it hadn’t crossed my mind I might win an individual medal.”

‘Alby’ a horse in a million

“Allstar B elevated my career. The generosity and kindness he had for all those years was amazing,” remembers Ros. But Allstar B had a bad accident during the XC phase at CHIO Aachen, and needed to be put down. “It was a terrible day. I had to stay calm and rational. I look back now with such fond memories of ‘Alby’. He took me to some amazing places. Caroline and I will always be eternally grateful for what he gave us.”

Bouncing back stronger

Ros famously took just one month out of the saddle when she had her first child Ziggy, in July 2019. “It wasn’t hard physically to step away. But it was hard mentally; I felt I was being left behind.” Learning from her experience is a key Canter trait. “Coming back into training so quickly was a very brave thing to do,” reflects Caroline. “Ros knew her capabilities. Before she had Ziggy, she was strong in her core; coming back, she had to work hard. But that’s made her a stronger person and a stronger rider.”

Enter Walter

And the future is bright. “The moment I rode Walter as a 3-year-old, I loved him. I feel very safe on him. I struggle the most with XC, and that’s where he fills me with the most confidence. I just love going XC on him.” That’s one fear faced down, then. The yard team know Walter has “a huge quirky personality.” Georgie Frow, Groom and stable jockey says, “He absolutely loves his job; he was born for it, and that’s what makes him so special.”

On a roll to Paris

Ros is positive as she reflects on her ongoing success. “With horses, you get on the right roll and it goes from there.” And things keep going right. “Everything is about Paris. I was reserve rider in Tokyo, and it’s fuelled me to want that dream even more. I’ve worked so hard and sacrificed quite a lot – as have the people around me. I would be so proud to compete knowing I’m a mother as well. It would make it all worthwhile.” Coach Caroline places her bets on the future. “I’m so proud of Ros, obviously for her riding and the competition. Seeing her grow around her horses, the way she works, and with the people around her. That’s what makes her second to none.”


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