Britain is lying in bronze medal position after two great tests on the first day of the team competition at the European Dressage Championships, Hickstead, West Sussex.

The bronze position means that Britain is on track to secure Olympic qualification for Athens 2004. Only Germany and Spain are ahead of the home squad, in gold and silver places respectively.

The team competition will culminate on Friday 15 August when the remaining two members of each team will ride.

Emma Hindle, 28, riding the Hanoverian stallion, Wie Weltmeyer, produced a mature test, breaking through the 70% barrier to score 71.08%.

“For me, the highlights were the piaffe/passage programme — it’s so much improved,” said Emma who admitted to being “pretty strung out” before she entered the arena.
Earlier, former European individual bronze medallist, Emile Faurie (pictured), riding the Danish gelding Rascher Hopes, scored a solid 66.4% in front of the supportive home crowd.

Richard Davison (Ballaseyr Royale) and Nicola McGivern (Active Walero) will ride for Britain on Friday, when the medals will be decided.

Leading the first day of the team competition are current European champions, Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber and Rusty, who gave a magnificent display of cool under pressure. The pair scored 78.25% —7% clear of Spain’s Rafael Soto and Invasor.

Rusty tested positive for testosterone at the World Cup in March this year and the case has not yet been resolved.