Michael Eilberg admitted team ambitions were never far from his mind as he marked his British debut in fine style at the European Dressage Championships in Denmark.
Part of a four-strong dressage team in Herning and one of two in action on the first day of competition, Eilberg and his ride Half Moon Delphi helped Britain into fourth.
He scored 72.264 per-cent after fellow debutant and British teammate Gareth Hughes, in for Olympic champion Laura Tomlinson who pulled out due to injury to Mistral Hojris, struggled.
Aboard DV Stenkjers Nadonna, Hughes scored 60.866 per-cent, however Eilberg put Britain back on track with his ride and insisted the team’s priorities were greater than his.
“I arrived hoping to match my personal best of 73 per-cent, which I suppose is a big ask at your first Championship so I’m happy with my score,” said Eilberg.
“I went in not knowing how hard to push after Gareth’s test with the risk that my mare could boil over too.
“I had to think of the team as it was a big atmosphere in there so rode conservatively to start and as our confidence grew, she began to enjoy it – we both did.
“I’m chuffed to bits with how she coped and we put down a good marker for the team; I really love that mare and I can be braver with her next time. “
Germany led the way after the first day with Denmark second and the Dutch third with British Olympic champions Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin to ride on day two.
© Sportsbeat 2013