‘I have a point to prove’: Kitty King produces the best test of her career to lead at Burghley

  • Kitty King came into the ring with her game face on and emerged in tears after storming into the lead after dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials today (2 September). Partnering her European team gold medallist Vendredi Biats, she produced a fabulously consistent test to score 21.2, just 0.1 of a penalty in front of  Tim Price and Vitali.

    The 13-year-old was seventh at Badminton this year and came here as one of the favourites after they just missed out on selection for the eventing World Championships in Pratoni later this month.

    “It’s a relief really!” said Kitty after producing the best score of her life at any level. “It’s great to do it at Burghley as I’ve got a point to prove this week, so let’s hope I can keep it up for the next two days. I really wanted to go to the championships, but it’s great to be at Burghley.”

    Burghley Horse Trials dressage: Kitty scores perfect 10

    Vendredi Biats’ test started very well, with plenty of eights from the outset, and that set the tone for the entire performance. Their marks rarely dipped below 7.5, resulting in a top score of 83.52% from the judge at C, Andrew Bennie.

    Particular highlights were the extended trot and canter, and rein back, which earned nines. She also scored a perfect 10 for one of her collective marks. But the whole picture was harmonious and a delight to watch, with grey’s forward, uphill movement making the movements look easy. Burghley’s mown lines show up any lack of straightness, but they pair were pinpoint accurate throughout and the judges rewarded them.

    As Burghley was her hoped-for plan B, Kitty’s preparation is causing her some concern for the Winningmood gelding, owned by Diana Bown, Sally Lloyd Baker, Sally Eyre and Samantha Wilson.

    “It’s been tricky as I was really hoping to go to Pratoni, so I would have done a different final run than if I had been aiming for Burghley,” she said. “Instead he ran round Hartpury really quickly, so I hope that hasn’t made him too keen. He needs to be listening to me when I tell him to slow down, and not arguing with me.

    “It’s a great track,” she added. “It’s like a CIC up to the Trout Hatchery [fence 10] with lots of fences and combinations coming up thick and fast. We need to ride the line and the pace, and give the horses time to recover when they can freewheel. It will be a tough day, but we will give it our best shot.”

    This is Kitty’s first trip to Burghley since 2011 with High Havoc.

    “I’m looking for a completion as I’ve never managed to complete yet,” she said. “I’m hoping it’s third time lucky.”

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