King’s countdown to Olympics

London Olympics gold medal hope Mary King has just got her team horses back in work, ready for the big season ahead, writes Lee Glanville.

This week Imperial Cavalier and King’s Temptress, along with Apache Sauce, had a visit from the GB team’s World Class Performance Manager Yogi Breisner and team vet Liz Brown, who were giving the potential team horses an ‘MOT’ prior to the event season getting under way.

Mary said: “ They were checking over all the team horses with an eye to team training starting at the end of February. They saw them trotted them up, did flexion tests, saw them lunged on a firm surface, all those sort of things to spot any sort of unsoundness issues.

“ My plan A with the top two horses is not to run them at Badminton but to run at Chatsworth which, as a CIC 3* event is not as gruelling. For example, the cross country phase would be not as difficult and seven minutes long as opposed to 11. We want to keep the horses sound, but they still have to have a good competitive build up and the Olympics aren’t until the end of the summer.”

As well as her two novice horses, MHS King Joules and Cavalier Venture, Mary has just got the ride on top eventing stallion Chilli Morning, who will be aimed at Badminton.

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She said: “ It is very exciting. The owner and previous rider had fallen out and I got asked if I wanted the ride. We have used the stallion on our mare and have two two year olds by Chilli Morning already. I was a bit apprehensive about having him here but he is very easy to do. You wouldn’t really know he is a stallion unless you take another horse really close, when he arches his neck and whickers a bit. We can turn him out and he will go in fields next to geldings so he is very easy.”

Chilli Morning is a four star horse and completed Burghley last year, albeit steady cross country. With Fern Hill Urco back at his owner’s home on the easy list after injuring a tendon last year, Mary had a space for a four star horse in the yard.

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Daughter Emily, who leaves school after GCSEs this year to pursue an eventing career, is aiming for the Junior European team with Mr HiHo and has a new five-year-old, owned by Lord Patrick Beresford, to compete. The five year old has come over from Holland and is TB/Dutch warmblood. Mr Hi Ho is now advanced level. Emily’s team training starts at the beginning of February.

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