"Alby is nearly 17.2hh and I am nearly 5ft 2in, so we wouldn’t be the perfect match size wise..."
Ros came to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials last spring but after completing the dressage phase on Allstar B was forced to withdraw before the cross country, when lying in 20th place. The pair has, however, completed Burghley twice (best first timers in 2015) and represented Great Britain on the Nations Cup Eventing squad. Here is the first of a series of Badminton blogs from Ros.
Hello everyone. I’m Ros and my lovely (but rather large!) Badminton bound boy is Allstar B, or Alby as he is known to us at home. Alby is co-owned by myself and Caroline Moore, who is the coach for the British Junior team, and a great mentor and friend to me.
I took over the reins on Alby when he was 8 years old and he is 12 this year, so we have had time to build a good partnership. He is nearly 17.2hh and I am nearly 5ft 2in, so we wouldn’t be the perfect match size wise, but Alby is a bit of a gentleman and, fortunately, has only ever been evented by ladies so I can manage his strength and power (just).
He is unlike a lot of fit event horses in the dressage where he finds the whole occasion quite boring, regardless of the crowds watching him. This is a massive advantage for me as I can generally ramp up the power and he doesn’t fizz up or get tense.
He is an amazing and super careful jumper, but he likes to jump high so I have to have a good cross country position in order not to get pulled forward in the air. Chris Bartle has been helping me with this over the winter as at Burghley I felt a little out of balance, and so far it has been a revelation. Fingers crossed I can remember it all on the big day.
I have dressage training with Ian Woodhead who has played a huge part in turning Alby from a rather heavy footed giant in to a horse that has balance and spring. We have started practicing the test in front of Ian – it went quite well on the third attempt so hopefully after a bit more fine tuning it will go well on the one and only attempt we get at Badminton.
At home Alby is treated just like any of the other horses, although the girls affectionately call him the King, and I think he rather likes the title! He goes out in the field everyday which he loves, as long as he gets to come in first. For a big hunky looking horse, he is a complete woos about being left on his own. He loves human attention and affection and so enjoys living in the stable block where we also tack up, groom etc so that he feels secure.
I am really lucky to have incredible family support. Our yard is on my parents farm, and my Mum manages to run the farm, livery business and help run my business too. She is super human and makes us all feel lazy, but I would be lost without her. Dad is chief lorry cleaner and arena leveller, and my sisters also rode a lot as children, and are now busy being Mums themselves. My nephews and nieces do a great job at de-sensitising the horses as they career around the yard in their tractors and on their bikes.
I am also very fortunate to have a completely horizontal partner, who although being non horsey manages to understand the silly hours we work, but also put food on the table and generally be fairly domestic. Last night, he did, however, suggest that we set our moving house date to the Monday of Badminton week…
…Having said that, it could work in my favour and act as a distraction – or even an excuse to get out of of the packing…
You can find out more about Ros on her website.
Photo of Ros and Alby at last year’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton © Trevor Holt