Ros Canter has the distinction of competing sibling horses at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian.
The younger brother, Lordships Graffalo, 11, is probably the better known of the two, having already represented Great Britain at last year’s World Championship and finished second at Badminton in 2022, but his sister, Pencos Crown Jewel – an appropriate name for Coronation weekend – is also making her mark.
Ros chatted about the similarities and differences of the pair, who share a dam in Cornish Queen.
“In many ways they are complete opposites, you wouldn’t know they were siblings. ‘Jasmine’ [Pencos Crown Jewel] likes her own space and is a strong, independent woman. She doesn’t like too much fuss and would rather be left alone. She’s a fussy eater and generally more introverted. Walter [Lordships Graffalo] is the annoying younger brother. He’s in your face constantly, he licks, chews and nibbles, and craves attention.”
Ros backed both horses as three-year-olds, but says: “They have been on very different journeys. From the word ‘go’, Jasmine was quite plain and ordinary. She was one of the first horses I started to produce after setting up my business. Even though I wasn’t picky, she didn’t massively excite me, but moving up she has taken things in her stride. She clears the jumps by a little bit and is the same at every level.
“Walter was more outwardly talented from the start – I loved him from day one. He excelled at the four-year-old Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier at Houghton in 2016, where his owner, Michele Saul, had come have a look at him, subsequently buying him from Pennie Wallace, who had bought him from his breeder, Lordships Stud.”
Originally unconcerned which order the horses were drawn, Ros definitely now thinks it has worked in her favour, with Jasmine first up. “Walter is still quite wild,” she said after Jasmine’s test. “He’s wilder than last year when he settled after the first hack. Once they start doing prize givings horses do change. They know what it is about – he’d rather skip the dressage and just go cross country now.”
With contrasting personalities, each horse is warmed up differently for each phase. “Jasmine doesn’t cope well with too long in a dressage outline. She’s croup high so her balance isn’t always in the right place. She did a bit of loose lunging this morning, so her brain was exercised but her body wasn’t tired. Walter can cope with more – and he’s proving this week that he’s going to need it!
“For the cross country Jasmine is better kept quiet – we’ll probably only do two or three jumps. She tends to feel a bit un-scopey in the warm up so I don’t jump anything too big, but she’s fine as soon as we get going. Walter is more laid back, although a bit buckey and squealy.
“Jasmine is quite keen, and stronger to ride than Walter, but she would be a bit out of balance as well. She will probably need more help along the way, particularly when she starts to tire. Walter you can gallop to a point literally just in front of a fence and he’s there ready.”
The differences carry through to the final phase, with the mare insecure over coloured poles, and quite claustrophobic. “She doesn’t like people around her so we have to manage where people are standing to keep her confidence up. Walter is more of a lazy gelding and needs some sharpening up.
“There are similarities though. Both are very game and brave. They have the same work ethic and the same desire to be competitive, but the way they get there is totally different.”
Pencos Crown Jewel
Bred by Pennie Wallace
By Jumbo out of Cornish Queen
Stepped up to 5* at Bicton in 2021, finishing 4th
Placed 11th at Burghley last year
Bred by Lordships Stud
By Birkhof’s Grafenstolz out of Cornish Queen
Stepped up to 5* at Badminton last year, finishing 2nd
Placed 4th at 2022 World Championships, Pratoni del Vivaro