On a sweltering day in Deodoro, Norway’s Ann Cathrin Lubbe was the first to take the lead in the Rio 2016 para-equestrian dressage competition on Sept. 11, earning the top spot in the Grade III team test. Riding Donatello, the double Athens 2004 gold medalist scored 72.237% to finish ahead of The Netherlands’ Sanne Voets in second and Denmark’s Susanne Sunesen in third.

Lubbe’s victory was made even more impressive as it occurred during a period of competition which was regularly interrupted by bursts of fireworks from the neighboring town.

“I had a marvelous ride what with the noise and everything,” she said. “My trainer had told me to ignore everything and just ride, so I just rode. But he’s a very good horse too.”

Lubbe is appearing in her fourth Games, having first ridden in Sydney 2000. She didn’t ride in London 2012, but added, “It’s good to be back.”

Reigning Grade III world freestyle champion Voets was just two percentage points behind Lubbe. “I’m really happy with that,” she said. “I was hoping for a little more but for now the feeling and the test and the way my horse reacted to everything it was good. He did everything I asked and that’s the maximum we can get.”

The afternoon’s Grade Ib test was won by Great Britain’s 10-time Paralympic champion Lee Pearson, riding Zion and scoring 75.280%. Pearson’s score, however, will not count towards the British Team’s competition as he was not selected to ride for the team.

In second place, and winning the team aspect of the contest, was