Jeanette Brakewell has taken the early lead at Blenheim International Horse Trials. With the sun attempting to make an appearance, Brakewell produced a stunning 46.9 pen dressage score with Equinox Sidewinder – proving she is every bit a champion rider. The 32-year old Olympic medallist has recently got engaged to event rider Brook Staples and will also be competing Running On Empty at Blenheim this weekend.

But Brakewell has not been left much room to manoeuvre. Scottish rider
Olivia Haddow started as she means to go on, riding a stylish and accurate test with the 15.1hh Patris Filius, to take second place behind Brakewell with a score of 47.9 pen. Haddow, who is just 22-years-old finished fifth in the under-25 CCI three-star at Bramham earlier this year.

William Fox-Pitt, fresh from WEG, clocked up a respectable 55.1 pen with the relatively inexperienced Gatcombe Intermediate Champion Macchiato. Rodney Powell also put himself in contention, securing a 52.1 pen score with Major Sweep.

This morning’s youngest competitor, 19-year-old Daniel Sibley kept his cool aboard the elegant Orbit Dancer. The pair produced a flowing, rhythmic test, earning 67.3 pen – not bad for a Blenheim debut.

The leader board is certain to change dramatically this afternoon with
Louisa Lockwood, Pippa Funnell and Francis Whittington all still to complete the first stage of this international competition.