Enjoy pictures from Eventing magazine's photoshoot with talented British rider Kitty King
If Eventing had visited Kitty King’s Chippenham base eight years ago it would have been a very different sight. The Wiltshire-based event rider and her parents have created an eventer’s haven from a disused chicken farm.
Kitty and her parents Jane and Peter Boggis relocated from Oxford to the 70 acre plot in the quaint village of Lower Stanton St Quintin and together set about transfroming the farm to suit the needs of Kitty’s string of eventers.
“There were two large chicken barns which were converted into American barns for stabling with help from Hendrik and Jake Wiegersma — who also created the lunge pen — and we now have 21 stables,” says Kitty.
The old cattle barn has also been transformed into an indoor arena as opposed to making an outdoor arena from scratch. “It was more cost-effective and over the winter, when the weather is bad, I’m always glad we did,” says Kitty.
The yard also features a solarium, hot and cold washing facilities and a horse walker. The farm’s surrounding grassland also supplies Kitty’s horses with haylage and she does much of their fitness work in the fields. If Kitty wants to do more intense canter work making use of steeper hills, she is fortunate to have access to the gallops of a Lambourn racehorse trainer.
“The light, sandy soil is perfect and means the horses can go out daily and don’t get plastered in mud. By spring we usually have a course of jumps out in one of the paddocks too,” Kitty adds.
Kitty currently has 10 eventers in to compete but she has also been busy backing youngsters for clients and some homebred youngstock too.
Kitty rents the stables from her parents and lives in a bungalow on site with her husband Ben, an ex-National Hunt jockey who now works for the National Farmers Union (NFU). Ben is out in the yard most mornings before work helping Kitty ride the youngsters.
Ben and Kitty live on the farm to be close to the horses. “They are now literally on my doorstep — it is ideal for evening checks and my peace of mind. I can pretty much hear them moving around in their stables,” she says.
Kitty employs a small team of grooms to ensure her horses get plenty of one-to-one quality attention. She is also fortunate to have help from her mother on a day-to-day basis. “She puts up jumps for me and she loves helping with the mucking out — she says it keeps her fit!” exclaims Kitty.