Kiwis Jesse Campbell and Tim Price were off the pace on the opening day of the Badminton horse trials, after a record-breaking performance by Britain's Oliver Townend.
Day One of the world's premier four-day event saw half the field compete in dressage, with the rest scheduled to perform the following day in Gloucestershire.
Campbell, riding horse Cleveland, is the best-placed Kiwi, sitting 12th equal on 31.4, while Price and his horse Bango is 26th with a score of 37.6.
But they were no match for Townend and Cillnabradden Evo, who swept into a commanding lead with a Badminton-record score of 19.7 at the five-star competition.
His total bettered the previous record of 20.5, held by Australian Andrew Hoy and horse Darien Powers.
"So far, so good," said Townend. "I've only had time to give him one gallop since I've been home, but he gave me 100 percent in there."
Townend's teammate, Tom McEwen, is second, scoring 24.7 on board Toledo de Kerser, while Georgina 'Piggy' French and horse Vanir Kamira completed the all-British top three with 26.0.
The dressage competition is due to conclude on Saturday (NZT), before the cross-country phase on Sunday.
Price will be back in action on day two onboard Ringwood Sky Boy, with Andrew Nicholson (Swallow Springs), Sir Mark Todd (NZB Campino) and Virginia Thompson (Star Nouveau) also appearing at the prestigious event.
Defending Badminton champion and New Zealander Jonelle Price withdrew from the event, with her horse carrying a foot injury.