Great Britain’s cross-country pathfinder, Kitty King, ensured a bright start for the host nation on a wet and dismal day in the Scottish Highlands as the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships reached its pivotal stage at Blair Castle.
Riders were not only greeted by Ian Stark‘s superbly-designed course, but also by testing weather conditions as heavy rain began falling about 30 minutes before the cross-country start time.
Nevertheless, King conquered the challenge, collecting just 8.4 time faults aboard Persimmon for a score of 45.3 as Britain looked to stay in touch with overnight leaders and reigning European champions Germany.
“I was asked to ride the course as I found it and do my own thing, really,” King said.
“The rails and ditch complex was fairly eventful, but we got throught it. As Yogi (Great Britain chef d’equipe Yogi Breisner) said, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you look like, as long as you go between the flags. My horse was pretty brilliant.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking going first. It wasn’t the position I assumed I would be going in, but I had a little bit of time to get my head around it and talk it through with our team physio Kate.
“I had a really good plan before I went out, and it meant I just could stick to it and be confident.
“It is a massive relief. It feels great not to have let anyone down. That was the thing that was panicking me most – letting the others down.”
British individual challenger Gemma Tattersall was the early star performer, jumping clear inside the time on Arctic Soul, but Holly Woodhead (DHI Lupison) and Sarah Bullimore (Lilly Corinne) both had time and jumping faults and dropped down the leaderboard.