At the end of day one of dressage action at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, Germany heads both the team and individual rankings at the halfway point of the grand prix.
They occupy individual first and fourth places, with Kristina Sprehe (Desperados FRH) in pole position.
Britain’s Carl Hester sits in third place after a fantastic ride on Nip Tuck for 74.186%.
“I’m bloody delighted,” he beamed. “It was wet out there – like pudding – and I couldn’t risk riding on full power in the trot extensions, but he was eating up every movement and we’re still in the hunt for team medals.”
Carl said: “I’m so thrilled – his owner and my old friend Jane de la Mare and I will drink until we drop tonight I’d imagine.”
Carl’s score – just 0.41% shy of his grand prix best on the inexperienced 10-year-old – puts him nip and tuck with his opposite on the Dutch team, Hans Peter Minderhoud, who nosed ahead by just 0.171%.
The Germans still look primed for gold, but Britain and the Netherlands will have the real battle for the remaining medals.
Overnight individual leader Kristina had a wobble the first piaffe with Desperados (pictured right), but was otherwise pleased with her test.
The main feature of the afternoon was the persistent heavy rain which turned the arena into a lake and then soup.
Irish rider Roland Tong, who scored 66.9% for 29th place on Pompidou, said: “There was lots of standing water out there. He [Pompidou] got splashed going from the extended trot into passage and his legs went in two different directions, but it’s the same conditions for everyone.”
Dressage resumes tomorrow at 8am local time (7am UK time), with Isabell Werth and Bella Rose kicking off the action. British rider Michael Eilberg (Half Moon Delphi) is on at 11.33am local time (10.33am UK time) and Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro) is in action at 5pm local time (4pm UK time).
Dressage grand prix day one: top 10 individual riders
1. Kristina Sprehe on Desperados FRH GER 78.814%
2. Hans Peter Minderhoud on Glock’s Johnson TN NED 74.357%
3. Carl Hester on Nip Tuck 74.186%
4. Fabienne Lütkemeier on D’Agostino FRH GER 73.586%
5. Diederik van Silfhout on Arlando NH NOP NED 73.414%
6. Jose Antonio Garcia Mena on Norte Lovera ESP 72.414%
7. Adrienne Lyle on Wizard USA 72%
8. Minne Telde and Santana SWE 71.114%
9. Lars Petersen on Mariett 70.8%
10. Marc Boblet on Noble Dream Concept Sol 70.686%
15. Gareth Hughes on DV Stenkjers Nadonna GBR 69.714%
Top team standings (after two riders)
Kristina Sprehe on Desperados FRH 78.814%
Fabienne Lütkemeier on D’Agostino FRH 73.586%
2. The Netherlands
Diederik van Silfhout on Arlando NH NOP NED 73.414%
Hans Peter Minderhoud on Glock’s Johnson TN NED 74.357%
3. Great Britain
Gareth Hughes on DV Stenkjers Nadonna GBR 69.714%
Carl Hester on Nip Tuck 74.186%
Watch H&H’s interviews
Horse & Hound caught up with Carl Hester after his grand prix test on Nip Tuck and asked for his
H&H dressage editor Alice Collins caught up with Gareth Hughes after his grand prix test with DV Stenkjers Nadonna