Shane and Niki Rose with their six-month-old daughter Olivia. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Shane Rose started the year with Olympic gold as his target but after a nightmare in London the Werombi rider is aiming for a perfect finish to a roller-coaster 2012.
Rose, who won a silver medal at the Beijing Games, is in Canberra for the international horse trials at Equestrian Park.
More than 230 riders and horses are competing at the event with Rose joined by fellow Olympian Stuart Tinney and Yass-based Natalie Blundell.
Rose is using the event as part of his preparation for the Australian three-day event in Adelaide next month, and while triumphs will not deliver the gold medal he desperately craved, it will help to soothe the pain of missing a chance to ride in London.
Rose was devastated when his horse Taurus damaged muscles in his shoulder, which rendered him unfit to compete at the Games.
It was deja vu for the 39-year-old. In 1996, the year of the Atlanta Games, he was left shattered when his mount Mr Joe Cool went lame.
Rose was too heart-broken to remain in London, but returning home to daughter Olivia helped to ease his frustration and he is determined to end the year on the best possible note.
''It's certainly been a crazy year with a great start to the year, the amazing feeling of Olivia being born and then what happened in London,'' Rose said. ''I always try to find the positives … I've had a very, very successful year with the majority of my horses.
''On the horse front, I've only had the one setback and it just happened to be for the big event. If I got a couple of gold medals at the Olympics it would have been a perfect year. It's not quite perfect, but it's still pretty good.''
Five-and-a-half-month-old Olivia and wife Niki joined Rose at Yarralumla yesterday for the dressage events with showjumping and cross-country today.
Rose decided against rushing Taurus back for the two end-of-year events but is confident the 10-year-old will be at his peak for the world titles in two years, and for the Rio de Janeiro Games.
With Taurus ''on a holiday'', Rose is using his time to work the other horses in his stable.
He is riding some of his more experienced horses Moritz and Virgil and working up-and-comers CP Qualified and Shanghai Joe.
Rose has had no time to look back on his London disappointment. He has been competing for the past 10 weeks with the aim of strong results in Canberra and Adelaide to finish the year.
''I've certainly moved on from London, when I first came back it was a bit raw but I've put it behind me,'' Rose said. ''You can't change the outcome or a bit of bad luck. I'll just get better prepared for next time and hopefully have two horses [as good as Taurus].
''We're fortunate in our sport in that you can have more than one shot, but it doesn't make [what happened in London] any easier. I'm looking forward, not back.''
AT A GLANCE
Dressage: 3-star class: 1st Stuart Tinney 42.2 penalties, equal 2nd Nat Blundell and Craig Barrett 48.6 penalties. 2-star class: 1st Shane Rose 39.2 penalties, 3rd Annabel Armstrong 44.7 penalties, equal 3rd Nat Blundell and Emma Mason 47.2 penalties.