‘Not the smoothest, but he helped me out the whole way’: Kitty King keeps tabs on the leaders over Badminton cross-country track

  • The Badminton Horse Trials cross-country continued to exert considerable influence on the dressage leaderboard at the Gloucestershire event presented by Mars Equestrian. Kitty King managed to consolidate her place at the business end despite time-faults.

    Kitty had a rough ride through the first water on Vendredi Biats (Froggy), where the horse jumped in extremely boldly and she had to ride through on a long rein, but the grey stayed on his line. But their round was almost flawless otherwise, and although she incurred eight time-faults, he seemed to be galloping well within himself, just easing up over the final few fences. Their time was good enough to go into third place at this stage.

    Kitty was particularly pleased with Froggy’s performance given that historically he has found the left rein harder.

    “Unfortunately when I knew the track was on the left rein, I knew it was never going to be easy for him,” she said. “From a young horse he has struggled with turning left, and all the approaches to the tricky combinations were on a slight left turn – Huntsman’s, the water — and he likes to be on the right lead.

    “We were a bit slow, but I had to calm down and think what we were doing – I felt I was making heavier weather of it than it needed to be. So I had to take a pull and think, let’s sort this out and get the balance. He helped me out all the way, that’s the way a partnership works. It wasn’t the smoothest ride I’ve ever had, but those left turns were a huge factor.”

    Badminton Horse Trials cross-country: the hard-luck stories

    Emily King was coming to the end of a superb round on Valmy Biats, having held 16th place with 28.5, when the horse came into the Savills Hay Feeders three fences from home with too much momentum. He took a flier at the B element rolltop and left a leg, propelling himself into the turf. Emily’s leg was briefly caught in the stirrup but mercifully both horse and rider did get to their feet to walk off the track.

    Mollie Summerland’s courageous debut came to an end at the second water when her Luhmühlen winner Charly Van Ter Heiden petered out at the vast drop in. They were holding fourth place after dressage but across-country Charly looked overwhelmed by the intensity and dimensions and his jump was becoming increasingly high and laboured over the few previous fences. After two attempts at the drop she put up her hand to retire.

    Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue dated 5 May 2022). Our bumper 20-page Badminton report will be in our 12 May issue and keep fully up-to-date with all the action during Badminton week via horseandhound.co.uk, where a host of features and reports will be published.

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