Not only does she have one of the most unforgettable names in the horse business, Rosalind Canter is a serious contender.
Having come up the ranks on a combination of hard work, guts, and talent (if not stature—she’s only 5’2”!) the 37-year-old British rider already has a trophy case full of championship gold medals—and she just added two more. This month, Canter took home individual and team gold with Lordships Graffalo at the 2023 European Championship in Haras du Pin, France.
Currently seated at no. 3 in the world—and rising—Canter has hardly hit her peak. Here are a dozen things to know about eventing’s current it-girl.
- Canter’s victory at the 2023 Europeans was one for the record books. According to Equiratings, Canter is one of only six riders in history (five of them British women!) to win both World and European Individual titles.
- Ros is a farm girl at heart. Canter grew up riding ponies on the family farm in the Lincolnshire Wolds countryside in Eastern U.K. In 2011, she returned to set up her yard at her family’s “Hallington,” where her mother still farms and runs the stable, and her father works as an estate agent and surveyor.
- She has always been an athlete. A serious hockey player, cross-county runner, and tennis player in her early years, Canter went on to play first-team hockey in college, where she studied Sports Management.
- Allstar B was the horse that made her career. In 2013, the petite Ros brought the 17-hand KWPN onto her string, and they immediately hit it off. Together, the pair earned multiple, top-five 5* finishes at Badminton—the first of which, as the top-placed woman and Brit in the standings—marked a turning point in her career. In 2017, they won team gold at the European Championships in Strzegom, Poland; in 2018, they took Individual and team gold at the World Championships in Tryon, North Carolina.
- Canter reached World #1 in 2019. At age 33, she became the first female eventer to earn the title since her countrywoman, Mary King, held the honor back in 2011. “I didn’t think it would ever happen, in the main because I’ve not had a string of horses at the top level,” Canter said. “However, we have been improving. We have gone from fairly average results to very competitive in recent years.” You can say that again.
- Canter lost Allstar while representing Great Britain at CHIO Aachen. “There are no words for the love and respect that I have for ‘Alby,’” said Canter after the gelding was euthanized when he suffered a serious injury on cross-country in 2022. “Time after time, he has shown his generosity, kindness, and love of our sport. He has been such a huge part in building my career, and will be missed by many.”
- In 2019, Canter and longtime partner Chris McAleese welcomed a daughter. Ziggy Grace was born in July. Just three (!) months later, Canter and Alby won the CCI4*-L at Ballindenisk, in County Cork, Ireland.
- Her Europeans-winning partner, Lordships Graffalo, is a bit of a character. The 11-year-old British Sporthorse gelding currently sits #1 in the Hippomundo Eventing ratings and finished second and first at Badminton in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Another accomplishment: licking a vet’s car entirely clean while she was tending to another horse. ‘Walter’ also eats tack, hates purple flowers, and loves to be cuddled in his stall.
- The pair crushed the competition at Haras du Pin. At the European Championships this month, Canter and Walter were the only pair to finish clear-inside-the-time, with a sub-30 score, and a 6.7 victory margin. It’s the third-largest winning margin at the Europeans since 2005, according to Equiratings. Get. It. Girl.
- Riding in the Olympics is Canter’s ultimate goal. When asked if she could have three wishes back in 2018, Canter said one would be to go the Olympics. The British rider technically achieved that goal in 2020/21, earning team gold as the non-competing traveling reserve with Allstar B—a position she’s called “unenviable.” Will Paris 2024 be Canter’s year to shine?
- Ros and her hubby share another intense hobby. Married in the summer of 2022, Canter’s non-riding husband, Chris, is a scuba diving instructor and the two enjoy diving together in their spare time.
- A “lack of confidence” is actually Canter’s secret weapon. It may sound counterintuitive, but despite being “very competitive,” Canter says she is naturally shy and sometimes lacks confidence. The latter, she says, is actually what inspires her to improve, by constantly analyzing her performances, finding fault, and working that much harder to do better the next time around.