Event rider Ros Canter insists there is still room for improvement despite ending the year sitting proudly in the world’s top 10.
Canter enjoyed an outstanding season which elevated her to sixth place in the FEI eventing rankings, and second Brit in the list behind Gemma Tattersall.
The Hallington-based rider also finished seventh in the British Eventing rankings, while two of her horses finished on the BE’s top 10 for 2017 - Allstar B in fifth, and Zenshera in ninth.
The 31-year-old showed remarkable consistency to finish in the top 10 of all four-star events she entered this season, including a highest-ever Badminton finish of fifth with Allstar B in May.
“The world rankings came as a very pleasant surprise, but I think that was based on my positions at four-star,” she said.
“Being in the top 10 for every four-star was a massive achievement and I’m very proud of the horses.
“I was very lucky this year that I could continue my run of good form; in our sport it doesn’t take much to knock your balance. A few bad runs can knock the stuffing out of you.”
Aside from her individual exploits, it was an assured performance in August at the European Championships - one of the sport’s major team events - that gave her most cause for satisfaction.
Selected in a four-strong team, Canter and Allstar B finished fifth to help Britain to the team gold medal.
“The Europeans was the biggest achievement,” she added. “Badminton was amazing and a real turning point for me, but it did come slightly out of the blue.
“There was definitely more pressure on me at the Europeans so to perform there was really pleasing.”
She will continue to work with the British set-up either on the podium potential or podium programme when training resumes in January as preparations begin towards her next big goal.
“Badminton is in May and I will need a good result there to get on the longlist and then hopefully the shortlist for the World Equestrian Games team.
“That is the big one for next year, but primarily I need a good run at Badminton first.”
While it would be easy to rest on your laurels after such a stellar season, Canter remains focussed with the knowledge that only continued improvement can maintain your place at the top table.
“It’s been my best season by far, but I think next year will be hard to keep that level up,” she added.
“I knew going into this season I had to make some changes to get better and I was surprised how quickly I could make those changes and how much of an impact they had.
“But there is still lots more I can do to get better and hopefully next year I will keep on improving.”