Germany hold the top spot on the leaderboard at the end of day one at the Aachen CICO3*, with Great Britain in fifth.
The home side led from the outset, with Julia Krajewski retaining her dressage lead after the showjumping with Chipmunk FRH (above), and also lying second with her team ride, Samourai Du Thot. Her teammates Ingrid Klimke and Kai Ruder (Colani Sunrise) each had a fence down, but such were the strength of their dressage scores that the team remains in front with a comfortable 11.5 penalty margin.
France moved up from the bottom of the pack into second after a series of clears around Frank Rothenberger’s course from Thibaut Vallette (Qing Du Briot ENE HN), Thibault Fournier (Siniani De Lathus) and Karim Florent Laghouag (Punch De L’Esques) left the team on their dressage score.
Britain had been lying third behind Germany and New Zealand following the dressage, but clear rounds eluded the four team riders and they dropped down into fifth, with Australia just ahead of them in fourth.
Oliver Townend produced a smooth, mistake-free dressage display earlier in the day with the 11-year-old grey gelding Ballaghmor Class (below) to lie sixth, but an unfortunate eight faults in Aachen’s huge main stadium shunted them down the order into 12th.
“It was a good course and the ground was perfect, but my round wasn’t good enough,” Oliver told H&H. “But this isn’t the main aim for the horse — that’s either Burghley or the World Equestrian Games (WEG). It’s just good to get him in big rings like this as he can still be a bit babyish when it comes to jumping towards the crowds.”
Despite a fence down, Gemma Tattersall has risen up the rankings to lie 16th overnight with Pamero 4, while Sarah Bullimore (Reve Du Rouet) added eight penalties to her dressage score of 31 to lie 27th and Imogen Murray (Ivar Gooden) sits 29th.
Britain’s individual rider, Tina Cook, suffered disappointment in the dressage when Billy The Red repeated problems from Luhmühlen earlier this year, and misbehaved in each of his halts.
“I’m very disappointed — he got insecure and didn’t want to stand still. The rest of the test was actually very good,” Tina told H&H. “He was the same at Luhmühlen and I felt we’d addressed it by practising standing at home and incorporating more walk exercises, but it seems it’s back to the drawing board.”
The 11-year-old chestnut gelding somewhat redeemed himself with a super clear round later on, but Tina made the decision to withdraw him from the remainder of the competition.
The cross-country gets underway at 10am tomorrow, with Imogen riding first for Britain at 10.24 (9.24 BST), followed by Sarah at 10.52 (9.52 BST), Gemma at 11.28 (10.28 BST) and Oliver at 12.00 (11.00 BST).
Don’t miss the full report from Aachen in next week’s H&H, on sale on 26 July.