‘It means so much’ – Kitty King claims first individual championship medal

  • Kitty King secured her first individual championship medal in the European Eventing Championships showjumping this afternoon (13 August), saying this honour “means so much”.

    Riding Diana Bown, Sally Lloyd Baker, Samantha Wilson and the late Sally Eyre’s 14-year-old Vendredi Biats, Kitty put in a jumping clear in the final phase to claim the silver medal and contribute to Britain’s team gold.

    “I was cross with myself when I came out of the arena, so I didn’t cry then, because I rode so badly. But luckily ‘Froggy’ remembered all the good rides I’ve given him and he just did it,” said Kitty. “Now you begin to realise it’s been a long time coming and he deserves it so much.”

    Elaborating on her European Eventing Championships showjumping round, Kitty said: “I just didn’t give him a very easy job. I kept him guessing the whole way, I kept missing. Normally he’s so smooth and it’s so easy and I just messed it up for him every time we came to a fence. I was a muppet.”

    Although Kitty did look a little tentative in the early part of the round, her talent and years of practice and experience kicked in as she piloted Vendredi Biats round, despite her modest assessment of her performance. She could afford her three seconds over the time and still keep her overnight position.

    European Eventing Championships showjumping: the individual podium

    Kitty King, Ros Canter and Sandra Auffarth on the podium at the 2023 European Championships.

    This was a richly deserved honour for Kitty, who has finished in the top 10 at Europeans three times individually on this horse (seventh in 2019 as an individual, ninth and team gold in 2021). She was also a team silver medallist at the 2015 Europeans on Persimmon, when she was just off the individual podium in fourth individually.

    Kitty has often been right on the margins of team selection during this incredible era of British strength – in 2021, Vendredi Biats travelled as far as the airport with the British team as first reserve for the Tokyo Olympic squad – which will make these medals all the sweeter.

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