Chloe Nixon and her eye-catching Lipizzaner, Anna, are the overnight leaders in the 80cm class at the H&H Festival of Eventing in association with KBIS (26-28 May).

The pair, both aged 18, produced an impressive score of 28 during the first day of action at Keysoe in Bedfordshire.

The flashy 15.2hh mare caught the eye of the judges in the 38-strong class.

“I’ve ridden her for five years since she was a 13-year-old,” said Chloe. “She can be a proper mare — some days she will do anything for you and some days she won’t.”

The pair, who have also affiliated in dressage and eventing, head in to tomorrow’s cross-country day a mere 0.75 of a mark ahead of Jo Rowan and Grey Romeo, with Penny Herring (Vondel L) sitting in third on a mark of 29.

The student was surprised to ride into the top spot overnight, even though dressage is the pair’s strongest phase.

“I love my dressage, but I was shocked to be leading afterwards — I cried! There were some really nice horses and ponies in my class,” said Chloe.

The young rider, who is based near Manchester, is finishing college this summer and hopes to go on and study law at university.

“I have my heart set on Liverpool University, because then I can carry on riding and go in each day,” explained Chloe, who is looking forward to cross-country day tomorrow (Sunday, 27 May).

“The course looks good, although it will be the longest track we have done together,” she added.

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

The full report from the H&H Festival of Eventing in Horse & Hound will be in this week’s issue of the magazine — on sale Thursday, 7 June and follow online at www.horseandhound.co.uk