Thursday, June 19, 2014
MARY King admits it is a joy to be able to share the sport of equestrian with her daughter – but she insists she isn’t quite ready to completely hand the baton over just yet.
Having represented Britain at six Olympics, winning three medals, as well as racking up two golds and one silver at the World Equestrian Games not to mention winning Badminton twice and Burghley once, there isn’t much King hasn’t done in her sport.
And tasked with following in her daunting footsteps is 18-year-old daughter Emily, who has made a promising start to doing just that as the reigning under-21 national and Premiership League champion as well as a junior European individual silver medallist.
Mum is at the other end of the spectrum having just turned 53 earlier this month, although while she is more than happy to help her daughter and protégé out as much as she can, she’s adamant her own adventure is far from finished.
“I’m really lucky because I get to share my love and passion with my daughter,” said King, who has expressed her apologies after being suspended for two months following a second warning for dangerous riding in the past year.
“She wants to be better than me so she is competing and working hard to go far in the sport. I have obviously been competing for a long time and I am waiting for that feeling when I want to just put my feet up.
“But it hasn’t come so far and I am enjoying it still and as long as I am fit and healthy and have good horses to ride I will compete. It’s an exciting time with King’ Temptress moving up to the No.1 spot in my yard.
“I’ve got good young ones coming on so hopefully they will be ready and I can get back to top level competition.”
Mary’s passion for the sport is commendable considering the start she has had to 2014 as she was forced to retire Imperial Cavalier after a disappointing performance at the Badminton Horse Trials.
The pair enjoyed seven top six placings at four-star level, and were part of the gold medal-winning team at the World Equestrian Games in 2010, the bronze medal team at the European Championships in 2011 and the silver medal team at London 2012 Olympic Games.
It also means that she will miss out on this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in September – her suspension is lifted on August 9 – but she insists she will be back.
“I won’t be riding at Burghley this year which is really disappointing because it’s such a great event,” she added. “It is the one that all us event riders look forward to competing at the most.
“But I don’t have a horse to ride because my top horse Imperial Cavalier retired after Badminton and my other top horse has an injury. But I will definitely be back because it is an event that I love and it will be hard to keep me away.”
The multi-award winning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 4-7) has been established as a major international equestrian and social event in the Autumn Sporting Calendar for over 50 years. For more information visitwww.burghley-horse.co.uk