Mary retires star horse Tess from competition

Mary King at Badminton 2015

Mary King at Badminton 2015 - Credit: Archant

Olympic medallist Mary King has retired her four-star winning horse from competition.

The two-time Badminton champion revealed the decision last week to stop competing on her 15-year-old mare, Kings Temptress - known as Tess - blaming recurrent lameness and ‘arthritic changes’.

Mary – who is based near Sidmouth – told the Herald of her ‘huge disappointment’ at being forced to pull out of the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials in May this year before the cross-country phase because of lameness.

At the time, she said she hoped to be back competing with Tess at four-star events later this year.

However, writing on her blog last week, the equestrian star said: “Sadly after Badminton, Tess’s lameness has persisted and, due to some arthritic changes, we have had to retire her from competition.

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“She is going to now have babies and get fat - what she has always wanted.”

During her career, the homebred mare competed in many top events and, notably, rode to victory at the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2011.

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Kings Temptress has had five successful embryo transfers in the past and it is now hoped she will have her own foal via artificial insemination.

Mary, 54, of Salcombe Regis, has competed at the last six consecutive Olympic Games - clinching three medals, including team silver at London 2012 - but revealed earlier this year her chances of making it to Rio in 2016 were unlikely.

Despite retiring her top ride, the professional event rider has already outlined provisional competition plans for the rest of the year.

She congratulated her daughter, fellow equestrian Emily, 18, on a successful month, which included a third place at Chatsworth.

The family and horses are now enjoying a short holiday.

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