London, England (Sports Network) - Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer had the top two scores in dressage Thursday to help Great Britain take the lead in the team competition.
Hester and his horse Uthopia had a top score of 77.720, while Bechtolsheimer is right behind after recording at 76.839 aboard Mistral Hojris.
That helped the British to an average score of 77.280, which leads the team standings in front of Denmark and Spain. Great Britain has never won a dressage medal at the Olympics.
However, some teams -- like Germany, which has won seven gold medals in a row (the first two as West Germany) -- do not yet have average team scores because only one rider performed Thursday.
In dressage, team and individual competitions run concurrently. Individual marks count toward the team scores. Day 2 of the preliminary Grand Prix competition is Friday, while the final team competition takes place next Tuesday. Individual dressage medals will be awarded a week from now.
Also performing Thursday was Rafalca, the horse partly owned by Ann Romney, the wife of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt. With American Jan Ebeling aboard, they recorded a score of 70.243 and sit in 13th place.
Additionally, 87 horses were inspected Thursday for the jumping competition, which starts Saturday. All but two passed immediately, and one needs to be re- inspected Friday morning.
08/02 16:04:59 ET