Germany look set to take gold at the European Dressage Championships in Gothenburg, with just the final rider for each nation still to ride.

Britain’s hopes in the first half of today’s grand prix action lay with Spencer Wilton and Supernova II, who produced some top-class work, but with costly mistakes in the double-marked pirouettes and canter zigzag. They begun their test trending on over 76%, but finished on a score of 72.08%. Spencer currently sits 10th, just behind Emile Faurie and Lollipop 126.

“I was actually pleased because, apart from the mistakes, he did everything quite nicely and I could feel him growing in confidence out there,” said Spencer, who made his championship debut with ‘Neville’ in Rio last year. “But he’s always thinking about where the exit is and the wobble in the zigzag and mistake in the pirouettes was due to him thinking about the way out behind him.”

German dominance

Meanwhile, Germany’s Sonke Rothenberger has moved to the top of the leaderboard, ahead of his teammates Helen Langehanenberg and Dorothee Schneider in second and third. Sonke and the 10-year-old Cosmo looked set to break the 80% barrier, until a mistake in the two-tempis. He finished on a score of 78.34%, tightening Germany’s stranglehold on the title.

“He presents himself really well in a big arena like that, so he shines even more,” said the tall German of the KWPN gelding. “It was a pity we had mistakes as he normally scores the most marks for his canter, but hopefully we have done enough for the team.”

With one rider left to compete for each team, Germany are way out ahead at the top of the leaderboard, with Isabell Werth still to ride. Sweden sit second, with Denmark third and The Netherlands occupy fourth. Carl Hester will provide the third score for Britain when he and Nip Tuck take to the arena at 20.03 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.