Britain’s two show jumping individuals got off to a solid start at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre in Athens, Greece this morning.

In the first round of the individual competition Nick Skelton and John and Lisa Hales’ Arko III notched up just one time penalty over a demanding but beautifully presented Greek-themed course.

Only 10 of the 77 riders completed through the test with no faults and Nick is one of six, including Ludger Beerbaum, who jumped clear but picked up a single time fault.

Nick said: “I’m satisfied with our perfomance. Arko jumped very well. I have worked him hard since we got here and we have got used to the heat, so the warm conditions were not a problem. I think the course was a fair test for the Olympic Games.”

Robert Smith and Mr Springfield faulted at the first part of the double at fence four, a pastel montage of cut out Greek houses, where many riders also lowered a pole.

Other bogeys around the course included a vineyard-themed rustic double of oxers and a testing line where the first element resembled the steps of amphitheatre. Nick Skelton took an unusual line at this fence, which gave riders the option of jumping to the left or right of a central stepped wing, with Arko jumping over the top of the central solid steps.

The current top 10 riders are a combination of well-known names and new faces, with the biggest cheer of the day going to Greek rider Antonis Petris and his French gelding Gredo La Daviere.