Laura Collett holds first place at the end of the first day of dressage at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships after scoring 25.5 this afternoon (Thursday, 29 August).
Laura is riding as an individual for Britain with 10-year-old London 52, who belongs to Keith Scott, Karen Bartlett and his rider.
“He just went a little bit shy in there, which he’s allowed to do — he’s still so green and inexperienced and I’d rather that he sucks back on me than that he blows up,” said Laura. “I’m delighted with the score, but I know there’s so much more there for the future.
“He’s never seen a crowd like that — at Aachen there were only about six people watching — and he saw the grandstand and thought, ‘Oh my god, all those people’ so I’m pleased he kept his head.”
Laura’s best marks came from Danish judge Anne-Mette Binder at M, who gave her a nine for her entry and her extended trot and a 10 for her final centre line and halt.
Laura has a narrow lead over France’s Thibaut Vallette (Qing Du Briot ENE HN) and Kai Rüder (Colani Sunrise), who share second place on 25.8.
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Looking ahead to Saturday’s cross-country, Laura described Mike Etherington-Smith’s course as “a championship track”.
She said: “He’s been clever with having the first three fences quite close together and then having almost a minute of galloping, so you think you’re out for a nice hack. Then there’s a massive fence at the first water. All the waters are serious, but at the first one particularly you have to be on your game and concentrating fully.
“We’ve been having a joke in the camp that Tina thought she’d won Hartpury and then fell on landing at the last fence, so you’re not finished until you’ve crossed the finishing line — not even after you’ve jumped the last fence.”
Check back for more updates from the Eventing European Championships in Luhmühlen all week, plus full report in next week’s Horse & Hound magazine (dated 5 September).