Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester will enter the arena in Rio on Thursday with Great Britain’s dressage team-medal hopes looking in fine shape.
Olympic debutants Fiona Bigwood and Spencer Wilton both made their presence felt during the opening flurries of a three-day team competition.
Their combined efforts have set up Hester and Dujardin to strengthen Britain’s position from third place overnight behind Germany and Holland.
Bigwood scored 77.157 per cent with Orthilia, while Wilton and Super Nova II posted 72.686 per cent.
Bigwood said: “I am so over the moon. Going over that last centre line, they (Carl Hester and her husband Anders Dahl) said afterwards that they were saying on the last extended trot ‘I bet she goes for it now’, and when I came around that corner I thought I’ve got nothing to lose and I just went for it.
“I love that horse, I was very emotional afterwards and had to go and give her a big hug because of how good she was.
“Carl is just amazing. He has been helping us all out here, and we’ve had really good preparation these last few days, in particular. We knew we couldn’t have prepared any better for it, but it’s still going in there with seven judges and you don’t know how they’ll react in there, so I’m just so pleased.”
And Wilton added: “I had a fantastic warm-up — probably one of the best I’ve had.
“I was really looking forward to it, but unfortunately, my horse had a little fright just before he started.
“He just had a little moment which unnerved him. I did get the feeling that as the test went on, he relaxed and I relaxed, and we did get into it.”
One of Dujardin’s main rivals for individual gold, Holland’s Adelinde Cornelissen, retired her horse, Parzival, in the main arena. She made the decision because Parzival had been unwell. “It started on Tuesday,” she explained. “When I came into the stable, he had a swollen cheek, and we think he had been bitten by a spider or a mosquito.
“His body was full of toxics. On Wednesday morning, he felt better and the vet said I could give it a try. But in the arena he felt totally empty and I decided not to continue. He did not deserve this.”
Fiona Bigwood and Orthilia, by Hippo Foto – Dirk Caremans, courtesy of the FEI