BRITAIN got off to an imperfect start in the John Deere Reining World Championships this morning. At just 22 years of age, Tammy Greaves led the British charge. Riding her parents John and Patricia’s stunning eight-year-old palomino Jac Wonders Who, Tammy started with promise. Her spins started well and the pair showed impressive speed in their canter circles. But then the stallion kicked back in his first flying change, incurring a five point penalty. Although challenged, the judges stuck to their decision and Tammy scored 188.5.

This afternoon, the second of the British riders, Lee Rutter, takes his turn on Setting Off Sparks.

American Tom Mcquay, a favourite for an individual title, is currently top of the team leaderboard with 220.5 riding Hollywoodstinsletown.

Anky van Grunsven of the Netherlands, a recent convert to reining having developed an interest in the sport following the 2008 Beijing Olympics, scored a personal best riding Whizashiningwalla BB — try saying that three times. Only her spins were a little slow, the rest of the pattern showed ability beyond her experience in the discipline. As you’d expect from a dressage multiple gold medallist, her flying changes were spot on. And her contact was a little shorter than the majority.

Three out of the first 13 in competition this morning scored zero. Spare a thought for German Nico Hormann, a well respected player in this game. He started spectacularly on eight-year-old Mister Dual Spring, spinning at great speed, but then the horse lost his balance and fell on his hindquarters, not unseating his rider but meaning elimination from the competition. It’s a long way to come to spin once.

Click below to listen to Anky talk about her performance

Log onto www.horseandhound.co.uk for regular reports from WEG. Full report of the reining team competition in H&H next week (30 September issue).