Ingrid Klimke leads after the first day of dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials.

Riding her Olympic and European team gold medallist FRH Butts Abraxxas, who belongs to Madeleine Winter-Schulze, Andreas Busacker and herself, she was the only rider to break the 40s, scoring 39 (above).

Ingrid’s highlight was her mid-test halt, which scored two 9s and a 10. She is a renowned expert in this phase — she also competes at top level in the pure discipline and her father was multiple eventing and dressage medallist Reiner Klimke.

Despite her vast experience, Ingrid is a first-timer at Burghley.

“Normally we have our young horse championships at home this week and all the breeders want the professional riders there, but this year I said, ‘Braxxy is 16, I mustn’t wait too long’. It’s one of my dreams to be here,” said the rider who was the individual silver medallist at last week’s Europeans in Malmö with her younger horse, FRH Escada JS.

Her gold medal-winning teammate from the Europeans, Andreas Dibowski, is in equal second on FRH Butts Leon, another 16-year-old by Heraldik.

Both horses were bred by Friedrich Butts and spent the first 3 years of their lives in a field together. Friedrich’s breeding programme is based on 2 mares, an A line (including Abraxxas and FRH Butts Avedon, who Andreas rode last week in Malmö) and an L line (including Leon).

“Sometimes he doesn’t like grass, he’s better on sand, but the grass here is very well prepared with water and isn’t hard,” said Andreas. “All his concentration was on me.”

Andreas produced this horse, then he was sold to Thai rider Nina Ligon who rode him at the London Olympics, before Susanne and Holger Heigel bought him back for Andreas. 

Jock Paget also scored 42 to sit in equal second for New Zealand, riding Frances Stead and Lucy Allison’s British Open winner Clifton Lush.

Last year’s winners Andrew Nicholson (New Zealand) and Avebury are 4th, with Kai Rüder 5th for Germany on the stallion Leprince Des Bois and Paul Tapner 6th for Australia riding Kilronan.

Sarah Cohen is best of the British in 7th on 48 with Treason, who belongs to Preci-Spark Ltd and Elizabeth Jones. This pair won the Grantham Cup at Belton last year, but Sarah had her 2nd child in March this year so they have had a quiet season until now.

William Fox-Pitt recorded the 2nd best British result today (49) and sits 9th on the Skinners’ and Halls’ Neuf Des Coeurs.

Overnight leader Ingrid said today that while she was thrilled with her test, this is not a dressage competition. Riders are in agreement that Mark Phillips’ cross-country track is very strong.

“It’s one of the biggest I’ve ever seen and it’s only after I walked it this morning with Christopher Bartle [team trainer] that I felt more confident,” she said.

Relive today’s dressage action with H&H Live and join us tomorrow for the second day.

Buy H&H next week for full 18-page Burghley report, with full analysis, pictures of every cross-country fence and comments from Sally O’Connor, Lucinda Green and course-designer Mark Phillips.

RESULTS AFTER FIRST DAY OF DRESSAGE

1. Ingrid Klimke on FRH Butts Abraxxas (GER) 39

2eq. Andreas Dibowski on FRH Butts Leon (GER) 42

2eq. Jock Paget on Clifton Lush (NZL) 42

4. Andrew Nicholson on Avebury (NZL) 42.3

5. Kai Ruder on Leprince Des Bois (GER) 44.2

6. Paul Tapner on Kilronan (AUS) 47.5

Results and times