The first round of jumping at the individual final at the Games - Edwina is through to final | An Eventful Life

The first round of jumping at the individual final at the Games - Edwina is through to final

With the top twenty horses (or those jointly holding positions) in today’s show jumping individual contest at Greenwich going through to the second round final, the most successful mounts so far could be forgiven for feeling a little tired after the week’s exertions. However they mostly looked fresh as daisies, although the large amount of knock downs could have indicated the effects of the multiple round competitions on the top horses, who of course have jumped the most rounds in the lead up to today’s individual event.

Julia Hargreaves with Vedor was first up for Australia, and was riding a fast and accurate round until she knocked all three elements of the triple, plus the next fence, the Royal Observatory, to put her on 17 penalty points. The Germany-based rider shouldn’t be disappointed however, as this was a challenging course with plenty of really slight-looking fences with high verticals and a tricky top pole that was easily knocked. The triple was also on a long stride and caught several riders out. "I am not as sharp as I should be and pretty tired; I am looking forward to going home to Sydney for three or four weeks to sleep,' Julia joked.

Germany’s Meredith Michaels Beerbaum was a favourite to do well in the ‘A’ round with Bella Donna – the rider only joined the team at the last minute when Philipp Weishaupt’s ride Monte Bellini succumbed to an infection. Initially she had withdrawn from team selection as Bella Donna lost form, but was reinstated as a reserve, and then selected to travel. However she was unlucky to knock two fences, to gain eight points.

Eric Lamaze with Derly Chin De Muze for Canada knocked two fences and had a foot in the water, which was a shame for the reigning Olympic champ – as said before, this hasn’t been Canada’s Games. Perhaps with age, this horse – just nine – will show more accuracy?

Team gold medalist Scott Brash for Britain on Hello Sanctos was lucky to go clear after gently rapping several fences but he was riding for a fast time – he stopped the clock at 78.79 to cheers from the crowd. He was one of just four clears at the time, and six in total after the first round ended.

Captain Canada, Ian Miller, knocked a single fence to gain four points with Star Power, while Saudi rider Kamal Bahamdan and Noblesse Des Tess rode a clean, clear round in a good time of 84.86 - it almost looked like they were taking too many risks with their fast lines, but this was a measured and careful ride, with plenty of changes of pace where required. Well done Kamal!

Our top medal hope, Edwina Tops Alexander riding Tot Du Chateau for Australia (pictured below), was unlucky to knock the Houses of Parliament fence that featured Big Ben and the London Eye as wings. However she put her foot down to ride a fast round on 81.77 and gained four points.

The UK’s Ben Maher and Tripple X were eating up the ground but knocked the middle element of the triple combination to get four points. This horse, home bred and produced by Ben, has star quality.

Nick Skelton on Big Star for the UK followed, and like Scott, Nick was going for a fast time. The ever careful Big Star went clear, as he has done so far in Greenwich, to easily outclass most of his equine peers. It is no wonder Nick says this is his best ever horse.

At the end of the ‘A round, six riders had gone clear - 22 riders – including Edwina - will now go through to the ‘B’ round this afternoon – Cian O Connor for Ireland; Olivier Guillon for France; Steve Gerdat for Sitzerland, Marcus Ehning for Germany and Scott Brash and Nick Skelton for the UK were the highest placed riders as the competition broke for lunch.