France Holds Narrow Lead at Blair, Kitty King Scores Personal Best

Kitty King and Persimmon pull out a personal best at this level to take an eary lead at the Longines Blair FEI European Championships on their GB Senior Team Championship debut

Kitty King and Persimmon pull out a personal best at this level  at the Longines Blair FEI European Championships on their GB Senior Team Championship debut

Kitty King’s Persimmon is a horse who can go either way in the dressage and looking incredibly fit in himself, and not knowing how to deal in the First Horse Inspection it was anyone’s guess which way that would be this morning. First to go for Team GB on her Senior Championship debut on a cold blustery day, the pressure was on.

Added to that Kitty said ‘Percy’ had been slightly on edge all week, but between her sympathetic and effective riding, the partnership they have, and the help she’s received from Team GB dressage trainer Tracie Robinson all this week, she managed to showcase his lovely paces and correct schooling to maximum effect and at the mid-morning break they are just .1 behind the current leaders, Frenchman Lt. Co. Thibaut Vallette on Quing du Briot ENE HN.

“He can be a little bit tricky and he’s not really been on his best form last week, so I came up here a little bit stressed and Tracie’s really helped me, we’ve just done lots of stretching, lots of suppling work and he’s got better each day, let me ride him more and more and let me get my leg into his ribs and move him.

“He was good this morning when we worked early, and then he felt brilliant when we worked outside, and then he just took that through into the arena. I was a little worried he might go a bit tense and tight but he let me ride him. We missed one change which was a shame, we had a few issues with it earlier in the week and it came back to haunt us, but other than that he felt really good and he was really trying for me and I’m just delighted with him.”

Kitty definitely felt a change in the atmosphere from other competitions. “It’s a bit different in there, I don’t normally get nervous before dressage but this morning I was feeling a few butterflies!” Kitty said she didn’t pick her music and didn’t hear a thing while she was in there, but Italian Luca Roman surely picked an electric remix of “Carmen” which played while he was in the arena. His test was pleasant and generally mistake free, although Castlewoods Jake tended to get short in the neck.

Did Joseph Murphy pick Lana Del Ray’s “Summertime Sadness”? Sportsfield Othello looked tense at times, swishing his tail through most of the canter and breaking once. Dirk Schrade seemed thrilled with Hop and Skip who redeemed himself after stepping back in the first halt with a very nice halt, with some rather exuberant changes — so far it definitely seems as if everyone has brought fit horses to Blair!

The Frenchman holds a well-deserved lead so far, but it’s early days and coming up any minute we have Team GB young superstar Holly Woodhead, Laura Collett and so much more. Go Blair, and Go the European Championships of Eventing! You can watch dressage live on FEI TV at this link.

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