After three riders in the team dressage competition at the FEI European Championships (Thursday, 13 August), Germany has its nose in front.

The Netherlands hold the silver medal position and Great Britain are in third, following Carl Hester’s performance with Nip Tuck (pictured).

The partnership’s 74.4% test — which will be a counting score for the British team — puts them in fifth individually, just behind Fiona Bigwood (Atterupgaards Orthilia).

Carl’s test on “Barney” was not mistake-free, but there were some real highlights.

“He was very good coming towards C, but towards A something caught his eye; I don’t know what,” said Carl. “We had minor mistakes, but I’m delighted with him.”

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For team Germany, Matthias Rath and Totilas were expected to produce a plus-80% score for the host nation, but their test was rewarded with 75.971%, much to the rider’s disappointment.

“I’m happy with the horse,” he said. “But not with the points.

“For sure I have done worse tests for more than 80%, but today was good and we only got 76%.”

The judges also looked unsure how to treat the pair. His scores ranged from 71.6% (France’s Jean-Michel Roudier) to 80.7% (Susanne Baarup and Andrew Gardner). Three judges had him in first place and one as low as 12th.

Totilas’ score means that the door for the British team to snatch gold is still open, despite Nip Tuck’s slightly disappointing score.

But the ride of the session was Dutchman Hans Peter Minderhoud on the imposing stallion Glock’s Johnson (pictured), who was resplendent in his power and grace. They currently top the individual leaderboard with 77.586%.

FEI European Championships Aachen 2015 13 08 2015

The final riders from every team will compete this afternoon, including Britain’s trump card, Charlotte Dujardin on Valegro. For Holland Edward Gal is yet to go on Glock’s Undercover, and Germany’s Kristina Bröring-Sprehe is the very last competitor, at 6.30pm UK time.

“Everyone’s been talking about Valegro versus Totilas,” said Carl. “But for us riders, looking at the warm-up arenas, we need to be looking out for Desperados because he looks fantastic.”

Charlotte’s ride on Valegro is at 6pm UK time, but the most pressure will be on Kristina, as she and the German team will know exactly what score is required to earn a team medal of any colour.