Defending champion Andrew Nicholson (pictured) leads after the dressage at Bramham Horse Trials.

Andrew scored 42.7 with John Studd’s Ginger May Killinghurst, whom he started riding in January. The 12-year-old chestnut mare competed at four-star level with M-J Tumbridge, but has had two years off after damaging a tendon.

“M-J’s done a lovely job with her,” said Andrew. “We ride in very different ways but the mare adapts quickly.”

The leaderboard was constantly changing this morning, with J-P Sheffield and Pippa Funnell both taking top spot in succession.

J-P’s light flowing test with Crown Farm Consort earnt him 46.7 and third place overnight. Two tests after J-P, Pippa rode forward on the “laid-back” Ensign to score 44, good enough for eventual second place going into tomorrow’s cross-country.

William Fox-Pitt is fourth on British Intermediate Champion Macchiato, a horse who was bred in Argentina and raced in Australia.

“I bought him off a video from Sharon Ridgeway, but I did sit on the video for a few months umming and ahhing about his trot,” said Wiliam, admitting the horse is not the best mover. “But he’s a real trier.”

Young rider European Champion Amy Young leads the Bishop Burton under-25 championship on Highville.

“I was pleased with the way he stayed relaxed and let me ride him,” said Amy. “I was hoping to do well but never thought I’d be in the lead after dressage.”

The riders agreed Sue Benson’s course will pose a big stamina test.

“The course is not as technical as it has been in the last four or five years, but I wonder how tired the horses will be — they are normally tired at Bramham and it’s as demanding in the terrain and size of the fences as it’s ever been, if not more so,” said William Fox-Pitt.

For results and times go to www.bdwp.co.uk/bra
For visitor information go to www.bramham-horse.co.uk

Log on again tomorrow for another report, plus a second blog from Charlotte Agnew, 10th after dressage in the under-25 section.

RESULTS AFTER DRESSAGE

Senior CCI***

1. Ginger May Killinghurst (Andrew Nicholson, NZL) 42.7
2. Ensign (Pippa Funnell, GB) 44
3. Crown Farm Consort (J-P Sheffield, GB) 46.7
4. Macchiato (William Fox-Pitt, GB) 46.9
5. Miners Frolic (Tina Cook, GB) 47.9
6=. Loughnatousa Harriman (Andrew Downes, GB) 48.3
6=. Skiver (Nicola Wilson, GB) 48.3

Under-25 section

1. Highville (Amy Young, GB) 50.2
2. The Magic Moment (Oliver Smith, GB) 50.4
3. Hugo’s There III (Georgie Davies, GB) 52.5
4. Eldmire Foxy Lady (Oliver Townend, GB) 53.1
5. Quixotic (Lauren Shannon, GB) 53.3
6. Patris Filius (Olivia Haddow, GB) 53.5