The German team holds its customary gold medal position after the dressage phase of the European Eventing Championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy. German individual rider Bettina Hoy tops the leaderboard.

Bettina has been left out of the team this time because she and Ringwood Cockatoo have missed several runs this summer, but her 27.1 score was the best she has had with the grey 16-year-old.

“I’m so proud of him — we were lucky even to get into the arena because he slipped over outside the stable this morning and has cuts on his bottom and hocks,” she said. “He was really on my side and trying hard.”

With three team riders in the top 10 — Ingrid Klimke is fourth on 31.5, Frank Ostholt is fifth on 33.1 and Hinrich Romeike is eighth on 37.7 — the Germans sit on 102.3, 6.3pen ahead of the British.

Zara Phillips heads Team GB in third place individually after riding a lovely test on Toytown with just one mistake early on. They earned a score of 29.8, 0.4pen behind second-placed Nicolas Touzaint, last to go for France with his stunning 2003 European champion, Galan De Sauvagere.

All Britain’s squad produced good tests. Mary King was very pleased with Call Again Cavalier, who performed a correct, elegant test for 36.5 and seventh place.

“I was concerned he would be nervous of the crowd, but he did one of his best tests,” she said.

Daisy Dick and Oliver Townend, who did their tests on Thursday, lie 12th and 14th, while Britain’s individuals, Georgie Davies and Rodney Powell, are 17th and 19th. Squad debutante Georgie was a little disappointed with Fachoudette, who started brilliantly but broke into canter in the first extended trot.

“Most of it was nice, but there were a couple of big mistakes we could have done without,” said the 24-year-old.

Rodney said: “This is only Langarth Darcy’s second three-day event with me and second CCI***, and he showed his greenness a little. But the cross-country is why we are here.”

The German team were also determined to look forward. Ingrid Klimke summed up their feelings, saying: “The dressage is history now, and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Nicolas Touzaint said: “There will be changes [in the order] at the end of tomorrow — there are some very difficult combinations and the time will be hard to get.”

The French team are in third place at the moment on 121.9 — as well as Nicolas, former world champion Jean Teulere is in the top 10 (9th) on Espoir De La Mare. And the Belgians are fourth — Karin Donckers was thrilled to receive a mark of 33.5 for fifth place on Gazelle De La Brasserie, and Joris Van Springel (Bold Action) is 10th.

European Eventing Championships Friday dressage results

1. Bettina Hoy (Ringwood Cockatoo, GER) 27.9
2. Nicolas Touzaint (Galan De Sauvagere, FRA) 29.4
3. Zara Phillips (Toytown, GB) 29.8
4. Ingrid Klimke (FRH Butts Abraxxas, GER) 31.5
5. Frank Ostholt (Air Jordan, GER) 33.1
6. Karin Donckers (Gazelle De La Brasserie CH, BEL) 33.5
7. Mary King (Call Again Cavalier, GB) 36.5
8. Hinrich Romeike (Marius Voigt-Logistik, GER) 37.7
9. Jean Teulere (Espoir De La Mare, FRA) 41.3
10. Joris Van Springel (Bold Action) 41.5

Teams

1. Germany 102.3
2. Great Britain 108.6
3. France 121.9
4. Belgium 127.9
5. Italy 142.3
6. Denmark 147.7
7. Switzerland 149.9
8. Ireland 158.6

Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full report from the European Eventing Championships, including stunning photographs, in next week’s issue (20 September, ’07)