By James Reid at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Kitty King rued one small mistake as her hopes of a Land Rover Burghley Horse Trial title faded after the cross-country stage.
King went into the day top of the standings after a stunning score of 21.2 in her dressage test on horse Vendredi Biats.
But the pair clipped a fence on the notoriously gruelling cross-country course, meaning the Chippenham equestrian ended the day in sixth.
And King admitted there mixed emotions after an otherwise strong ride.
“I’m gutted & thrilled & it’s a bit of confusing emotions really,” she said.
“He was absolutely fantastic, he gave me a superb ride & we just made a mistake at the rails.
“I don’t quite know what he did, I think he just misread the ground or, I’m not sure, it’s very unlike him, he’s an incredibly careful horse.
“It’s just one of those things & I’m just gutted for his owners & my team because he didn’t deserve it & he’s been unlucky all the way through.
“I just thought that hopefully this was going to be our time but it’s just not to be & that’s just the sport.
“I can’t take anything away from the horse, he was just brilliant.”
The pair looked to be storming around the newly-designed course by Tokyo Olympic course designer Derek di Grazia before their mistake on the Fairfax & Favor Boot Racks fence.
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials is back bigger and better than ever in 2022 after two years away due to Covid-19, and King was roared round by swathes of spectators in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
King was made to wait until the end of the list to go out and ride, and revealed she tried to take inspiration from top scorers Piggy March and Jonelle Price.
“I was so happy to watch Jonelle & Piggy go round, they just made it look like masterclasses & that’s what I tried to take away from watching them,” added King.
“He did everything I asked of him, he was absolutely foot perfect through the Leaf Pit which I was quite worried about.
“He was making it feed so easy and I was thinking what a nice ride I was having really.
“It was one of those gutting things and that’s just horses unfortunately.”
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (1-4 September 2022) returns after a two-year hiatus, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A major international sporting and social event for over 50 years it attracts 80 of the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit www.burghley-horse.co.uk