Combining school with a stellar showjumping career isn’t easy, even with huge family support, but Tabitha Kyle’s ability and dedication are reaping rewards. Martha Terry meets her
The first time Tabitha Kyle attended an international show, she was just three weeks old. By five weeks she was on a road-trip to Thirlestane and Blair three-day events, her cradle the horsebox as her parents, top-flight riders Mark and Tanya, pursued their eventing careers. And 13 years on, little has changed on the competitive front, only now, she’s the protagonist.
“We’ve just had 15 competitions in 18 days; it’s exhausting,” says Tanya when we meet on a rare break from the circuit at their stables, Queenholme Equestrian, in Wymeswold, Leicestershire. “Tabitha still gets in the lorry and falls asleep, as she’s done since she was tiny. Otherwise the days are too long.”
Tabitha certainly packs a lot in. This year alone, she racked up 14 tickets for the British Showjumping Indoor Championship Finals which replaced the cancelled Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), and has won over 70 classes, including a grand prix four-timer on one heady day in Le Mans in July. Just 10 days ago, she backed up last year’s HOYS 128cm and 138cm double in clinching the 138cm title again, plus pony showjumper of the year and the pony Foxhunter final. And that’s in a year when three months of the season were decimated due to the pandemic.
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