Mary King prepares for fifth Olympic Games

PUBLISHED: 11:20 18 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:52 17 June 2010

OLYMPIC event riders have their last chance to practise the new dressage test at Aston Le Walls this weekend before going into pre Hong Kong quarantine at Hartpury College on Tuesday.

OLYMPIC event riders have their last chance to practise the new dressage test at Aston Le Walls this weekend before going into pre Hong Kong quarantine at Hartpury College on Tuesday.

The test is four and a half minutes long instead of the usual eight at top level and the demanding movements come one after another with no room for error. Mary King embarks on her fifth Olympic Games with her best chance of gold medal glory with Call Again Cavalier.

'Cavvy' will only compete in dressage and showjumping at Aston. Reserve ride, Imperial Cavalier, will compete in all three phases and Mary will also ride Apache Sauce and King's Temptress in the normal advanced class. Both Olympic horses will go into quarantine and undergo further training there before the team flies to Hong Kong on July 30.

The English summer weather has helped in preparation for the heat and humidity of Hong Kong and Mary's horses have been galloped every third day in fleece rugs so that they become used to sweating and recovering. She said: "The horses have been rugged up in the stable, but not so they become uncomfortable, and every effort has been made to ensure their swift recovery from the heat we will encounter in Hong Kong."

The nearest conditions Mary has competed in before would be in Atlanta where King William was lucky enough to run cross country very early in the morning. Mary added: "It is important to get the horses' core heat down quickly after the cross country as it rises after the finish and everything is in place to do that."

The riders have not been overlooked either as all the elite squad have been visited by a personal trainer once a week. Mary has been using a cross training machine at home and has worked hard on her own fitness.

She said: "I am feeling great and very excited now. It always seems such a long time between each Olympics but then all of a sudden it's upon us. I never dreamt that I would be competing in five and am very lucky to have such a great horse in Cavvy. It will be more like a World Equestrian Games this time though, with all the horse events in Hong Kong, which is a shame for the first timers. Living in the Olympic village and being part of the whole thing with all the other sportsmen and women is a big part of it.

"However, the pollution is such a major issue in Beijing that we are much better off being in Hong Kong. All the test events there last year went very smoothly.

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