Great Britain has got off to an ideal start in the Helgstrand-sponsored dressage team competition at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina, with first-to-go Spencer Wilton banking a solid score for the team.

With his own and Jen Goodman’s Super Nova II (Neville), Spencer produced a mistake-free test to score 74.58%, sitting second individually and putting Britain into the silver position at this very early stage.

The 15-year-old British Hanoverian gelding, who is by De Niro, helped Britain secure team silver at the Rio Olympics two years ago but has been off games for 10 months of the past year after an injury, and only returned to competition at Hartpury CDI in July. He has performed just two grands prix this year prior to Tryon.

“He was a little nervous in there as he always is, but he felt very good in his body, and we did what we needed to do for the team so I’m delighted,” said Spencer, who has also struggled with three bulging discs in his back this summer and had to enlist Carl Hester to run Neville during yesterday’s trot-up as the pain is now affecting his left calf. “If it wasn’t for the team physio, Ashleigh Wallace, and our chief medical officer, Pippa Bennett, I wouldn’t even be here now.

Neville feels amazing overall, and he’s generally better in the special actually as by then he’s already been in the arena and I feel more confident that he’ll stay with me so I can push for more,” added Spencer. “The main thing today was to do a mistake-free test, and provide a good, solid score for the others to build on.”

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Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl is currently leading with 76.68% on the 11-year-old Easy Game mare TSF Dalera BB. Spencer sits second, just ahead of the USA’s Steffen Peters and Suppenkasper, who scored 73.5%.

Emile Faurie will ride next for Britain, beginning his test with Hof Kasselmann’s Dono Di Maggio at 3.24pm (8.24pm UK time). Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin ride tomorrow (Thursday, 13 September); Carl and his own, Ann Cory and Anne Evans’ Hawtins Delicato will go at 11.10am (4.10pm UK time) and Charlotte will ride Emma and Jill Blundell’s Mount St John Freestyle at 5.51pm (10.51pm UK time).

Horse & Hound has two journalists and a photographer in Tryon for WEG. Keep up to date with all the news on horseandhound.co.uk and in the magazine issues dated 20 and 27 September.