Swedish rider Sara Algotsson-Ostholt deprived Germany from holding the top three places after the first morning’s dressage at the European Eventing Championships at Luhmuhlen, riding last to go before the lunch interval.
Posting the only 30-something score to date, she rode an immaculate test on her dappled grey Wega, a Swedish warmblood mare, for 36pen. Since she is married to German eventer Frank Ostholt, the home crowd seemed prepared to forgive her.
Second at this stage is German individual Julia Mestern on FRH Schorsch, who competes predominantly in pure dressage and who has only one top event horse, on 40.6pen.
Close behind her on 43.8pen is Germany’s first team member, local rider Andreas Dibowski, who won the four star here in June on Euroridings Butts Leon. He rode a fluent on the elegant mare FRH Fantasia, his 2010 Pau winner.
Britain had an inauspicious start when Nicola Wilson, our team trailblazer, forget to rein back barely two minutes into her test on Opposition Buzz and was penalised for an error of course. They scored 52.7 to lie 8th individually at this early stage.
“I had a serious blonde moment and had no idea why they rang the bell,” she said afterwards, visibly devastated. “Otherwise he was a good boy, very rideable and consistent.” And apart from a rather too restricted extended walk, it was.
“But it’s a three-phase competition and hopefully that is my blip for the event out of the way.”
Britain’s second team rider Piggy French, rides this afternoon, while remaining team members Mary King and William Fox-Pitt go tomorrow, along with both our individuals Laura Collett and Polly Stockton.
Positions at lunch time on day one
1) Sara Algotsson-Ostholt (SWE), Wega 36pen
2) Julia Mestern (GER), FRH Schorsch, 40.6pen
3) Andreas Dibowski (GER), FRH Fantasia 43.8pen
8) Nicola Wilson (GBR), Opposition Buzz 52.7pen
Stay in touch with all the action from Luhmuhlen on Horseandhound.co.uk, and pick up next week’s issue of H&H for our in-depth report and analysis on the championships