meet Ros Canter’s characterful Badminton runner-up

  • Which five-star runner-up once licked the vet’s car completely clean when she parked it in front of his stable while she was tending to another horse? The answer is Lordships Graffalo, the characterful 10-year-old who has jumped firmly into the five-star rankings with his second place finish at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials ridden by Ros Canter.

    ‘Walter’, as he is known, is out of the same mare, Cornish Queen (by Rock King) as another of Ros’ riders, Pencos Crown Jewel, who finished second at the Bramham Horse Trials earlier this month.

    Breeder Pennie Wallace sold Penco’s Crown Jewel as a foal to Kate James and Annie Makin who went to the Burghley Young Event Horse Final to choose a rider for them and chose Ros. Because Ros had Pencos Crown Jewel, Pennie decided to send me Lordships Graffalo – bred while the Cornish Queen was on loan to Lordships Stud – to breed with me.

    “I loved him from the day I got him and he was always for sale so I approached Michele Saul who was looking for a young horse and asked her if she would buy him”, says Ros about the Grafenstolz son who is on the cover of Star horse & dog this week (23 June 2022 edition).

    “He’s kind of untrainable on the ground. He’ll attack you if you try to put the bridle on and he’s not very good at social distancing.

    “But he was easy to break in and never bothered about the driver. He was pretty lazy at first – he was totally left behind when he sauntered around while chopping – but out of the blue he could slouch or rear up or do something fun.”

    Ros says that Walter’s entire family are artists and always pull their best work out of the bag at competitions. He had a number of good results in 2021, finishing first in two CCI4*-S at Aston-le-Walls and Blair Castle Horse Trials and second in two CCI4*-L at Bicton Horse Trials and Blenheim Horse Trials.

    Speaking of preparing for badminton this spring, she says: “I thought he was ready for badminton but I don’t have much experience – I only rode for the British five-stars with Allstar B before riding badminton with Walter – also because of covid he hasn’t seen events like Bramham which you would normally do before badminton. But he had made the four stars he made feel light, so I had no reason not to take him.

    “His eyes were everywhere at badminton on Tuesday, but the longer we were there the more he enjoyed it. He was unfazed by the award ceremony and stood there with his ears perked up, not worrying for a moment.”

    Georgie Frow, who is the second rider at Ros’ stable, says: “Walter is always entertaining – fun to watch if you’re not trying to tease him! He eats the bridle, throws halters across the yard, tries to grab brooms. If left in the bow ties for too long, he’ll dribble and throw to see how far he can get his spit across the court.

    “He’s snuggly in the stable, especially when he’s lying down. In winter, when the horses are indoors more, he takes a nap every day around 3 p.m..”

    Georgie adds that Lordship’s Graffalo wouldn’t worry about a giant truck hacking, but he doesn’t like purple flowers.

    She adds: “One day last winter he turned a corner and just bronzed himself. Then he stood there and looked at me as if to say, ‘Why are you lying on the floor?’”

    Find out what badminton judge Christian Landolt liked about Lordships Graffalo this week horse & dog Magazine (dated June 23).

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