WHILE most of the Great Britain Olympic team were marking the closing stages of the Rio Olympics, Kitty King was enjoying a more low-key affair as she ran four horses at the Bicton Arena International last Friday.

King’s first Olympic Games ended in disappointment as she finished 30th on Ceylor LAN, with Team GB finishing fifth in the overall team standings.

The Lower Stanton St Quintin rider had dreamt of climbing onto the podium in Rio but a frustrating dressage display, followed by a tricky cross-country course put paid to those dreams.

“The result didn’t quite go according to plan but overall, I had an amazing experience and I really enjoyed the whole aspect of being at the Games,” King told the Gazette and Herald.

“The horse went very well and has travelled back well, and he seems very happy and in good form, which is the most important thing.

“It was a really tough track.

“It was very technical and very undulating and twisty, so there was a lot that you had to take in and you couldn’t relax on the course for a second.

“We were disappointed but it was a young team and we all show jumped really well on the final day, and that put us up a couple of places.

“We were one of only two teams to finish with all four horses so that is a huge achievement in itself and shows the hard work of the group.”

Despite not hanging around after the event finished on the first Tuesday of the two-week long Games, King had the chance to sight-see while her horse recovered from the long journey before the event started.

The 33-year-old was impressed by the Olympic set-up and thought that the host nation came in for some unnecessary criticism.

“I think the press has been fairly hard on Rio,” said King.

“The venue was fantastic, the course was second-to-none and they were trying extremely hard to put on a good event, so it was a shame that there were not more tickets sold.

“For the village, the flat we were in, by the time we got there, we didn’t have any problems and the transport was good for us.”

Despite the disappointment, King says that there is plenty to take away from her first Olympic experience and believes that Ceylor LAN will be targetting Tokyo 2020, when the gelding will be 13.

“I felt much more part of the team, whereas at other championships, while you are part of a team, there hasn’t been the same atmosphere,” she concluded.

“I got to know my team-mates a lot better than I did before going and there is a lot to take away.

“I learned a lot about myself and now I know what to expect, and hopefully I can take that forward going into the next four-year cycle.

“He is only young and hopefully he will be better-placed for Tokyo as a result of this experience.”