The British eventers will go into tomorrow’s cross-country at the Pony European Championships at Bishop Burton lying in second, seven penalties behind Germany and just over one penalty ahead of Italy.

But Eric Winter’s track will need championship riding so it is anything but a dressage contest.

The day began with Sophie How, riding as an individual on Hotshots, topping the leader board with a stunning test, scoring 44.0pen, to end up as best of the Brits in third place.

She was followed by Sophie Beaty with Done and Dusted VI, recording the same score of 46.9 that team mate Grace Webster and Noble Springbok did yesterday. The pair now lie equal sixth.

Britain’s final rider, Sam Ecroyd, was delivering a stunning test on Catherstone Nutsafe until she got a bit unsettled and jogged in the walk. The pair recovered well to finish on 53.1 in 18th place. “She was a bit sharp,” said 13-year-old Sam.

The riders who rode tests yesterday, Alfie Bradstock and Montezuma III on 51.9 and Harry Humfrey, riding Tantany Torch as an individual on 57.2, are lying 16th and 23rd respectively.

Team trainer Jonquil Hemming said she was delighted with the team performance. “We’ve come a long way in dressage over the last four years and it showed today. No-one lost the plot and I’m thrilled to bits with them.”

The team is now preparing for tomorrow’s cross-country.

“Our plans are a bit up in the air at the moment as it’s probably the toughest track we’ve seen. We need plan A and plan B and maybe Plan C as well,” said Jonquil.

Alfie Bradstock, 16, a European team veteran, will go out as pathfinder on Montezuma III.

“I think there are some really tough fences, including the double of corners and the drops at fence 14, so we’ll have to attack it,” he said.

Denmark’s Bianca Walton with Noerlunds Cape Town heads the dressage on a score of 42.6pen.

Follow the action from Bishop Burton on Horseandhound.co.uk and read H&H”s full report on all the action in next Thursday’s magazine, on sale 5 August