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5 Boys, Kitty King’s double younger rider medallist, has died aged 30

  • Five Boys, who started the career of British Olympic event rider Kitty King, has been put down at the age of 30.

    “I am eternally grateful to this little man for coming into my life some 21 years ago,” said Kitty. “I owe my career to him and he really kick-started everything.”

    Ex-hurder Five Boys spent his later years with Hollie Cowley.

    “She gave him the most wonderful retirement and care in his later years and it purely down to her care and devotion that he’s had such a long, happy life,” said Kitty.

    The 15.3hh son of King Luthier was in training with Ron Hodges and originally retrained by Marnie Campbell, who is now a great friend of Kitty’s, and her yard physio. Ex-hurdler Five Boys, known as “Molly”, was owned by David and Jane Tolley during his eventing career.

    He went from BE100 to winning Necarne CCI* (now CCI2*-L) in his first season eventing with Kitty in 2001. The following year the pair won the under-21 CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Punchestown, were placed in the top 10 in their first advanced and took home team silver from the young rider Europeans in Wiendorf, Austria, finishing 11th individually.

    In 2003 the pair became British national under-25 champions when they finished second in the age-restricted class at Bramham to the USA’s Will Coleman and Fox In Flight. Later in the season, they helped the Brits to young rider team gold in Bialy Bor, Poland, finishing fourth individually.

    “By 2005 he was helping me achieve my childhood dream of completing Badminton Horse Trials – he not only completed it, but smashed it by finishing seventh and winning a whole host of prizes, including best under-25, best first-timer and best local rider. It was more than I’d ever dare dream of and to top it all off we were selected to be part of the senior European squad at Blenheim that autumn,” said Kitty.

    Sadly the pair did not complete the senior Europeans and Five Boys did not reach the dizzy heights of that first Badminton again, but he will be remembered as an outstanding campaigner in the age-restricted classes, who also achieved an incredible result at five-star, and gave Kitty – now a multi-championship rider and European team gold and silver medallist – a superb start in the sport.

    After he retired from the top level, Five Boys competed at grassroots and riding club level with Hollie Cowley, jumping numerous double clears and winning the Blenheim arena eventing in 2015. He retired from ridden work in 2017.

    “Since then has been completely treasured and spoilt rotten by Hollie – he couldn’t have wished for a better retirement with Hollie and both Molly and I owe her an awful lot,” said Kitty. “Hollie and I will both be left with a huge hole in our hearts, but it’s time to let him go. Run and jump for fun up there, my dear old friend.”

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