British dressage riders are raising their game as the Aachen CDIO (17-22 June) and the European Championships at Hickstead (13-17 August) draw closer.

With the British team not yet decided, Nicola McGivern and Active Walero staked their claim at the Munich CDI, coming third in the grand prix – a qualifier for the grand prix special – with a score of 69.67%. The pair went on to finish second in the special on 72.64%.

Fiona Bigwood (Habana 3) was not far behind, finishing eighth on 65.71% in the grand prix, and fifth on 68.48% in the special.

Meanwhile Carl Hester has been enjoying good form with his own and Roly Luard’s Escapado (pictured) as well as Stephen Day’s Amanti. Carl was sixth with Escapado (64.62%) and seventh on Amanti (63.95%) in the grand prix at the Lipica CDI. Escapadothen won the grand prix special with 67.92%, while Amanti was fifth in the grand prix kr (67.76%).

At Barzago CDI, Carl took third place in the grand prix with Escapado, before turning up the heat for the special, finishing in a marginal second place with another 69%-plus test.

“We were within a whisker of winning,” said Carl. “It’s all about management with Escapado. Yes, he is hot and can be excited, but I arrived here early enough to let him settle in, and he improves as the show goes on.

“In the special he was comfortably firing on all four cylinders and gave me a great ride.”

Read a full report from Barzago CDI in this week’s Horse & Hound (5 June), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.