The British team has made a strong start, lying second behind Germany after the dressage phase of the eventing pony European Championships in Avenches, Switzerland.
All four British team members scored under 50, and team trainer Jonquil Hemming is thrilled with their performances, commenting that the standard across all the nations gets better every year.
Althea Bleekman (pictured) is best of the British on 44.3, which puts her sixth with the 10-year-old mare Nightgirl 002. The only remaining members of last year’s gold medal-winning team, British national pony champions Gina Ruck and Ice Cool Bailey, are in eighth place.
Ella McEwen had an exciting time when her mare, Catherston Nutsafe, eyed up a stallion warming up and whinnied at it during her test.
Team manager Ginnie Keen said, “Ella did a remarkable job in a tough situation and kept her cool. To still come out with a score in the 50s was a great achievement.”
Ella lies 11th, one place behind fourth team member Eliza Stoddard (Killacoran Blue), while individual Helen Dunning (Glenayre Bay Surf) is 18th.
The ponies will have a rest day tomorrow, before tackling the cross-country on Saturday.
Make sure you buy Horse & Hound on 7 August for a full report on the pony European Championships and colour photographs.
TEAM SCORES AFTER DRESSGE
1. Germany 122.2
2. Great Britain 137.2
3. Italy 152.2
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS AFTER DRESSAGE
1. Mon Nantano De Florys (Chloe Deschamps, FRA) 37.6
2=. Biggi (Pia Munker, GER) 39
2=. Mr Hale Bob (Nina Stegemann) GER 39
BRITISH PLACINGS AFTER DRESSAGE
6. Nightgirl 002 (Althea Bleekman, team) 44.3
8. Ice Cool Bailey (Gina Ruck, team) 45.7
10. Killacoran Blue (Eliza Stoddart, team) 47.1
11. Catherston Nutsafe (Ella McEwen, team) 49
18. Glenayre Bay Surf (Helen Dunning, individual) 52.1