Lara Butler of Great Britain received a final score of 76.985 for fifth place and the lead going in the judging break at the halfway point of the competition.
A former Junior and Young Rider, Butler used rock and roll music to highlight her horse’s eagerness and finished with a 45-degree piaffe fan before her final halt.
So solid were her tempi that not only did she perform them on a curved line but inserted them into her joker line as well, where many riders would have opted for something less challenging.
Butler’s countryman Hayley Watson-Greaves took sixth place (76.685) – a further indication of her desire to represent Great Britain in Paris in the spring.
After a terrific performance recently in Stuttgart, Watson-Greaves received high artistic marks at Olympia and her sleek black gelding Rubins Nite demonstrated beautiful reach with both his frame and legs, finishing movements elegantly and with superb self-carriage in a difficult programme.
Great Britain had a wonderful showing on home ground with Richard Davison taking seventh place (75.655) on Bubblingh, a horse he bred himself from his own 2004 Olympic mount.
Davison, a four-time Olympian and five-time World Cup participant, proved how experience and presence of mind in the ring can highlight the best of a developing horse.
Finishing in the top eight was Katja Gevers of the Netherlands, who also finished in the top 10 last year at Olympia.
Gevers showed the importance of slightly restraining a potentially hot horse when the energy in the arena can be contagious.
Gevers executed solid changes and nice transitions, with a fabulous half pass.
Rounding out the top 10 at Olympia were Katherine Bateson Chandler of the USA and Marie Emilie Bretenoux of France.
The London competition this week marks the fifth of nine legs leading to the finals, with the next leg being held in Amsterdam in January.
After Olympia, Kittel leads the standings with 74 points, followed by Dorothee Schneider of Germany (55 points). In a tie for third place are Morgan Barbançon Mestre of Spain and Jessica von Bredow-Werndl of Germany, each with 42 points.
With the high calibre of riders this season and each nation only allowed three spots in Paris – with one already guaranteed to defending champion Isabell Werth – the competition will be tight to see who will ride in Paris.
Keep up with all the latest action from Olympia live on FEI TV
Text by Patricia Salem
Pictures by Jon Stroud