Britain’s Ros Canter was the final rider into the Pau Horse Trials dressage arena this afternoon (27 October), but she put in a sterling performance with Rehy Royal Diamond to take the lead after the first day of competition.
Riding Christopher Makin’s 11-year-old, who is making his debut at five-star level, Ros posted a score of 27.5.
“I’m really delighted with him as he’s not the easiest horse to get his brain right,” Ros said after her test. “He just has a bit of a jolly and has a look at the crowd usually and does things he’s not supposed to do, misses a change when he’s not supposed to and then wrangles around in his halts – he’s just a jolly fellow.”
Ros explained that Rehy Royal Diamond benefits from a three-day format.
“We need a three-day because his one-day results aren’t anything to go on because he just needs to be in a place for a bit longer and get a bit bored by the atmosphere. He pulled off a completely mistake-free test, which is pretty much unheard of for him.”
Ros said that her halts were a highlight for them in her Pau Horse Trials dressage test, as it is something this gelding has struggled with in the past.
“He stood in his halts with his head so still, which is something we struggle with the most, and it’s quite a difficult thing to train with a horse – not doing great halts has become a bit of a habit for him,” she explained. “Also his rideability and flying changes were good and the fact I had my leg on all the whole way around is a massive achievement for him.”
Ros explained that this week is a “fact finding” mission for her with this horse.
“I have no doubt about this horse’s scope and ability and generosity, it’s just his build and shape that mean sometimes he runs out of balance. He’s very long striding so I’ve struggled in the past towards the end of the course to hold him, not because he’s wanting to gallop off with me, but because his stride gets a bit too big and I feel like I have to compensate and slow down quite a lot.
“So I’m fairly realistic. If we have a great experience, that will do for us. I’ll go as fast as I can in a safe way, and hopefully he comes home enjoying the experience.”
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Credit: Gemma Redrup
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