This week, I was so grateful to have the privilege of chatting to a rider who needs no introduction, Kitty King. Kitty is an Olympic International 5* Event Rider who has been competing on the international eventing circuit since 1998. Last year Kitty won an individual silver medal and was on the gold medal winning team at the European Championships last year.

I talked to her about her rider fitness training regime and day to day life. Kitty was so friendly and approachable, she instantly put me at ease. I am no stranger to working with elite and medal winning athletes in my clinic, however, Kitty’s fitness regime was seriously impressive. Not just the amount of training and intensity, but the longevity, she has been doing this for many many years. I came away from the conversation even more in awe of Kitty than I was before, not just because of her compassion and love for her horses, but her pragmatic human approach to life and foresight for life after competitive eventing career ends.

Fitness and Riding

First and foremost, as a professional rider, the horses come first. She rides between six-10 horses, six days a week, (usually before lunch) depending on whether she is jumping or doing flat work. Impressive by anyone’s standards. She likes to have Sundays off and do ‘normal things’ like going to the cinema. Of course, when she is away competing during the Eventing season, there are changes to the schedule.

In the evenings she has an ‘off horse’ training regime. Mondays is one2one Pilates using equipment (reformer, chair, Cadillac ) at Tetbury Pilates, followed by a spin class. Tuesday is spin class, Wednesday back is to one2one Pilates. Thursday she has Personal Training (which includes strength training) and Friday is spin class.

I ask her how she maintains her motivation, she replies, ‘some days I go to spin class and I am tired and I just don’t want to be there, but I think it’s better than not going’. This strikes a chord with me and it’s nice to know even our Olympians fluctuate in motivation.


Kitty is a keen advocate and everything she says about Pilates mirrors my ethos in teaching. She is committed to a regular Pilates practice, attending one2one Pilates since 2015. She is enthusiastic that Pilates has changed her body. She tells me that she doesn’t go to specific rider Pilates but classical Pilates using equipment such as ‘The Reformer’.

Since committing to Pilates, she has noticed less headaches and soreness in the shoulders, more mobility and flexibility, better core strength. Her balance, coordination and proprioception have improved along with isolation of limb movements. All essential for an elite rider.

Most interestingly, Kitty is looking beyond her professional riding career, she does Pilates so her body will be in a better way when she finishes her professional riding ‘not crocked and bow legged’.

Activity Monitoring

When asked if she uses any technology to track her daily activity/steps, she says yes, but not obsessively. However, last year she went to John Moore University Liverpool for physiological testing, Vo2 max, Heart Rate and metabolic testing. Interestingly her heart rate during the cross-country phase goes way above that during a very hard spin class. Adrenaline would account for this. I asked whether she was nervous about the dressage phase at international competitions? She replied ‘not really, I mean your unlikely to die during dressage’. It was comforting to know that my main aim of ‘not dying’ when going cross country was echoed by Olympic riders.


Once a month she sees a Physiotherapist for treatment, which really helps her mobility, she had a hip injury, which was presenting as back pain, until she had an MRI which diagnosed the injury. Her back muscles were contracting and spasming to compensate. She find regular treatment helps to maintain her thoracic and hip mobility.


And finally, when asked who her biggest support is, she replies her husband and her mum. Completely heart-warming. After chatting to Kitty, I was left feeling seriously impressed, motivated and really pleased that I am teaching and doing Pilates.

Thank you so much to Kitty King for giving up your time to be interviewed, I learnt so much and am even more in awe of you now. Thank you to Holly Griffiths for organising and for being a great friend xxx

Photos: credit to
Pilates performed at