First GB call-up for King, jnr

Two generations of the King family will be representing GB at European championships in the next few weeks, writes Lee Glanville.

Mary King heads out to Luhmuhlen for the European Eventing Championships on Monday with top horse Imperial Cavalier and, at the beginning of September, Emily, 15, will ride in Portugal at the U18 European Eventing Championships - representing GB for the very first time.

Emily is three years younger than all the other riders named in the team squad and only thought she had an outside hope of being called up.

However, with her horse, Mr Hiho, she has put in some really consistent rounds at trials this season, most recently finishing fourth at Wilton in the senior Open Intermediate section and third at Aston Le Walls in the final U18 trials.

She said: “I am so excited. I just thought ‘maybe, maybe I might get selected, so was thrilled when I got the phone call. We have team training on August 30 - Sept 2 and the horses travel out on September 3 - it will take four days for them to get to the event, which is about 100k from Lisbon.

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“We get to fly out on the Monday. I just can’t believe it!”

Emily was the highest placed junior rider at Wilton and her third place at Aston Le Walls included a ‘magic’ cross country round, according to mum Mary.

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She said: “I am so proud of Emily. When she got the call I was up having dressage and showjumping lessons with William Fox-Pitt ready for the Europeans and William ran out of the house and sprayed Emily with champagne, motor-racing style! She and Mr Hi Ho have been really consistent this year and the selectors would have been pushed to drop them but they are by far the youngest combination.”

As for Mary’s GB Euro gold bid, Imperial Cavalier is reported to be in prime fitness for the competition, as are the rest of the team, bar Polly Stockton, who is riding her second string horse.

The competition starts on Wednesday with the final showjumping on Sunday.

The following week sees Mary competing on Apache Sauce and King’s Temptress at the four star Burghley, chasing FEI leaderboard points, with Emily’s championships the week after that.

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