Kitty King (née Boggis) is a British Olympic event rider. She was the first event rider to represent Great Britain at all European levels – pony, junior, young rider and senior.
Kitty King and Vendredi Biats at the European Championships 2021.
Is Kitty King from a horsey family?
Her mother Jane Boggis was also a three-day event rider who competed at Badminton and Burghley. She rode on the Flat as an amateur and had a yard of pre-trainers when Kitty was growing up.
“My brothers and sisters would be making dens or mud pies, while I was doing water buckets and skipping out with the girls and mum in the evenings — I found picking up sh*t far more entertaining than playing like a normal child,” jokes Kitty.
Kitty is the oldest of four children. Her youngest sister Lucy was a heptathlete — and the Gladiator Tempest on the TV show.
What championships has Kitty ridden at?
Kitty’s first call-up was in 1998 at the pony European Championships in Le Touquet, France, where she collected team silver riding Red Alert. Kitty also won team silver at junior level in 2000, piloting Leading Edge at the championships in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy.
She rode Five Boys at two young rider European Championships, picking up team silver in Wiendorf, Austria, in 2000 and finishing her under-21 career with team gold in 2001 in Bialy Bor, Poland. She just missed out on an individual medal on that occasion, finishing fourth.
Kitty first represented Great Britain at senior level in 2005 at the European Eventing Championships held at Blenheim Palace, riding Five Boys. The pair retired across country.
Kitty had some frustrating years after this when she was unable to quite capitalise on opportunities to score impressive results at the top level, with some late falls across country, including when she was in the lead at Saumur in 2013 and fell at the last fence. But she never thought of giving up eventing.
“I could never see myself doing anything else,” she says. “I had some lovely horses and lovely owners — who I’m still friends with — and I still really enjoyed what I was doing even if I wasn’t on a championship team or riding at Badminton.
“Even if someone said I was never going to get to the Europeans again, I think I would still carry on, because I just love working with the horses and trying to get the best out of each one at its level. With the young ones, there’s that dream of what might be.”
Kitty finally achieved that coveted next senior-call-up for the 2015 European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle, where she took on the role of team pathfinder.
“It never came into my head that I’d go out first and I wasn’t sure how I’d deal with that added pressure,” she said in an interview later that year. “I wasn’t sure if I’d get to Blair and crumble. But I actually really enjoyed going first.”
She finished just outside the individual medals in fourth place riding Persimmon. She was the highest-placed British rider and led the British team to silver, becoming the first British rider to win a medal at all four European levels.
Kitty rode at the Rio Olympics in 2016 with Ceylor LAN and finished 30th individually.
Kitty King and Ceylor LAN during the cross-country at the 2016 Olympics.
Kitty first sprang to prominence with the ex-racehorse Five Boys.
She admitted later in her career: “Everyone told me this was a hard sport and to stay in education, but Five Boys made everything — winning three-day events, getting on teams — seem really easy. When he retired I suddenly realised I’d just been incredibly lucky to have such a nice horse at a young age.”
She has later become known for her partnerships with horses such as Boondoggle, Zidante, Ceylor LAN, Persimmon, Vendredi Biats and Cristal Fontaine.
Is Kitty married? Where is she based?
Kitty is based in Wiltshire with her husband Ben, a former National Hunt jockey.
“He does understand the disappointment of horses and the sport,” she says. “He’ll know when to walk away and not speak and when you actually need someone to rant at. He’s pretty good at knowing when to be about and when to scarper at events.”