Day one at Bramham dawned under the early morning mist but by the start of dressage, the main arena was basking in early summer sunshine.  In the Equi-Trek CCI3*, Kiwi and 2009 Bramham winner Andrew Nicholson set the early pace with a 45.9 with Tom Joules’ MHS King Joules.  But just before lunch, Oxfordshire rider Lydia Hannon stole the march (and the lead) with Christopher Harris’ My Royal Touch.  The combination are making a return trip to Bramham after disappointment last year when lying third after dressage in the Bishop Burton College U25 CCI3* they had a fall on the flat and were eliminated so today’s score gives them a great start to make amends.

After lunch, France’s Gwendolen Fer produced a stunning test with her 2015 Fontainebleu CIC-NC runner up, Romantic Love to score 42.8 and take the lead by just under two penalty points. Towards the end of the day, Lauren Kieffer from the US equalled Lydia’s score but Lydia just edged her into third by virtue of better collective marks.  It looked like Ireland could upset the top podium as Sarah Ennis and Horseware Stellor Rebound were scoring well throughout their test but they came up just short for fourth on 45.7.

So our CCI leader board has a true international flavour with seven nations represented in the top ten but it’s advantage France going into day two with 38 further combinations to come.

In the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3*, it’s a familiar face atop the leader board in local heroine Nicola Wilson with her parents Mary and Barry Tweddle’s Annie Clover.  This is the duo’s third trip to the Yorkshire venue and today they really wowed the judges with all three awarding them over 73% to score 37.4, a career best at international three star level.  Nicola was thrilled with the mare who she took to last year’s World Championships and said; “She was super today; really soft, rideable and very elegant.  One of my flying changes wasn’t quite as I wanted; it was clean but a felt a bit ‘abrupt’.  I was absolutely delighted with the way she performed in there as it’s her first competition back after a little holiday following her trip to Lexington in America.  To do another super test like this is brilliant for us all.”

New Zealander Caroline Powell with Onwards and Upwards were just 1.6 penalties adrift to finish second and disrupt a British clean sweep of the top five.  Ruth Edge put her dressage know-how to good use (she also rides to Grand Prix level in dressage) with Tracy Whalley’s The Winter King to score 40.8 for third.  Fourth spot is occupied by Leicestershire’s Imogen Murray on 41.3 with Wiseguy IV, with whom she made her four star debut at Burghley last year.  Izzy Taylor completes the top five with France Carter and Susan Holroyd’s Allercombe Ellie on 41.6.

There’s 16 more to come tomorrow to finish the dressage off before they show jump early on Saturday.  Both Nicola and Imogen have another ride to try and better their positions.

All the combinations in the Bishop Burton College U25 CCI3* are safely through the first horse inspection which gives us 22 for the start of dressage tomorrow at 11.38 in the Equi-Trek arena.

Full results – click here
Rider interviews – click here