Sidmouth’s King delighted with second WEG gold medal

Imperial Cavalier’s impeccable jumping

‘HAPPY, happy, happy’, was eventer Mary King’s first reaction when asked how she felt after winning a World Equestrian Games team gold medal for the second time, writes Lee Glanville.

This time she was part of the Team GB along with William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook and Nicola Wilson, and previously she was part of the all-girl gold winning team at The Hague, 16 years ago, when she rode King William.

In Kentucky, it was Imperial Cavalier who stepped up to the plate. Mary had a difficult start to the championships as the flight from Belgium to Cincinnati had taken nothing out of the super-fit horse. She said: “The horses were in Kentucky for a week before the event and ‘Archie’ really needed a gallop, but, although there were many lovely arenas, there was no all-weather gallop and it was impossible to work him on grass as they have had no rain. The ground was parched bar the cross country track which had been watered for months and was perfect.

But Mary managed to curb his enthusiasm enough in the dressage to record 46.2 but, she says, on another day he could have produced a good enough score for a top three place. “But it could also have been so much worse,” she added.

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Across country on Saturday, Imperial Cavalier was faultess and easily within the time allowed.

All bar Tina Cook produced a faultess round and Team GB were in gold medal position going into the showjumping on Sunday. It was tight between the nations and there was no room for error. Cook had further faults but she was already the discard score, and perfect clears from Wilson, King and Fox-Pitt gave them the gold, with Fox Pitt winning an individual silver medal.

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Mary added: “Archie was superb in the showjumping, having got the gallop he was desperate for the previous day and had a settled, careful clear.”

The riders arrived back in England, having enjoyed a round of parties, very early Wednesday morning and drove straight from Heathrow to pick up the horses which had arrived in Dover from Belgium. Imperial Cavalier will now have a well-earned break, while Mary prepares to travel to Beokelo in Holland next Tuesday with King Albert.

She hopes that Imperial Cavalier will be named in the European championship team next autumn and is aiming for her sixth Olympics in 2012.

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