Rising eventing star Ros Canter has been rewarded for a stunning season with a call-up to the British team for the FEI European Championships.
The Hallington rider was named in a six-strong squad who will travel to Strzegom in Poland for the prestigious competition later this month.
The championships, which take place from Thursday to Sunday, August 17 to 20, stand alongside the Olympics and the World Equestrian Games as the pinnacle of international team eventing.
“I’m really excited; it’s something we have been aiming for since my good run at Badminton,” she told the Louth Leader.
“It’s massively important, and not just for me. Getting a horse and rider to this point requires a huge amount of effort from a lot of people.
“It takes years of training and a lot of time. You have to drop your social life at certain times to do something like this, but this makes it all worthwhile.”
Canter and her star mount Allstar B will be making their debut at the event alongside experienced campaigners such as former Burghley and Badminton champion Oliver Townend, and Tina Cook who will be making her eighth appearance at the Europeans.
“It will be a good team,” she added. “I’m the least experienced rider, but they are nice people and I already feel welcome.
“Hopefully I can go and put a good performance in and learn from them as well.”
The 31-year-old rider, who is in her third year with British Eventing’s World Class Podium Potential Programme, has been in the form of her life this season.
She believes re-evaluation over the winter has helped her to build on an impressive 2016.
The highlight came at Badminton in May when she finished fifth in only her second stab at the world-famous four-star competition.
The placing marked her out as the leading British rider among the elite international field.
“I tweaked a few things in training over the winter,” she explained.
“Last season was my best results-wise, but I knew I could ride better and be better.
“This has definitely been my best year, and a lot of it comes down to confidence.”
Canter is busy building up a string of horses to compete at the highest level, and also has Zenshera on the reserve list for the European Championship squad.
But 12-year-old Allstar B, or Alby, as he’s more commonly known, is deservedly taking centre stage for now after four years of working together.
“He is strong in all three phases and very level-headed at dressage which is a bonus,” she added.
“He’s an amazing jumper and really brave, but he’s also careful so I have just have to make sure I get the best out of him.”