German riders occupy the top two spots after the first day of grand prix competition at the European Dressage Championships in Gothenburg.

Helen Langehanenberg sits at the top of leaderboard with the 15-year-old stallion Damsey FRH (Dressage Royal x Ritual), scoring 74.98% to establish a commanding lead early on.

Her teammate Dorothee Schneider lies second overnight with the 11-year-old Sammy Davis Jr (San Remo x Wenckstern), on 74.54%.

Britain’s Emile Faurie produced an excellent test for 72.28% with the relatively inexperienced Lollipop 126, originally his reserve horse until his first-choice ride, Weekend Fun, was withdrawn. The 13-year-old Lord Sinclair son was bouncy and mistake-free; the pair sit sixth at this stage.

“I was chuffed to bits. Lollipop’s never been to a major event before — he did Aachen this year but it’s not quite the same as here,” said Emile, referring to Gothenburg’s huge and atmospheric Ullevi stadium that is home to the dressage championship.

He’s such a dude, and to come to a championship as a reserve horse and do a mistake-free test with the pressure on is very cool.

“He had plenty of preparation in the run-up, working alongside Weekend Fun. He felt amazing working in so I felt confident when I went in.”

Elimination for blood

There was drama when Swiss rider Charlotte Lenherr was eliminated after the judge at C, Evi Eisenhartdt of Germany, detected blood in the mouth of Darko Of De Niro ZS CH. Evi stopped Charlotte’s test midway through and put her hand into the 13-year-old stallion’s mouth, revealing blood (pictured below).

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The grand prix continues tomorrow for the team medals. Britain are down to three members following the withdrawal of Gareth Hughes and Don Carissimo due to injury sustained by the 12-year-old gelding since arriving in Gothenburg.

Spencer Wilton will be first in the arena for Britain tomorrow with his own and Jen Goodman’s 13-year-old Supernova II, riding at 16.12 BST. He will be followed by Carl Hester on his own and Jan de la Mare’s Nip Tuck at 20.08 BST.

Don’t miss the 31 August issue of Horse & Hound, with full reports, analysis and expert commentary from the dressage, para dressage and showjumping European Championships in Gothenburg.