A busy April for Mary King...

We’ve caught up with Mary King who is deep in the preparations for two of the major Four Star events of the year! "I have just got back from Belton Horse Trials where we took four horses, Kings Temptress, Fernhilll Urco, Imperial Cavalier and Apache Sauce, as their final runs before Badminton and Kentucky at the end of the month. They had no rain at Belton in the run up to the event and the ground was pretty firm so I thought, ‘now Mary don’t get excited’, and wasn’t very competitive. They all went really well and have all come back sound and today their legs look good today so I am pleased.”

“The main focus has been on the four horses going to their major three day events this month but we have also been out and about with the youngsters and I have a new Cavalier horse, Cavalier Venture, who won the Pre Novice at Aldon and is doing his first Novice at Portman tomorrow. King Albert is also going well and ran in the Open Intermediate at Somerley and came third, so we are aiming for Saumur CCI *** in May.”

“The majority of the pre-Badminton preparation has been done, we stopped at my dressage trainer, Ferdi Eilberg’s on the way to Belton for lessons which paid off as all four horses did good tests, and we will go once more next week. Ferdi will be at Badminton, but officially he is there to train the Irish team, however because he has trained me for so long he has an agreement that he can help me. Apart from that it is just topping up their fitness work, we are very lucky that here in Devon we have lots of lovely grassy hills and nice local farmers who let me use them for hill work.”

“It will be a busy month for me with Badminton and Kentucky., A week on Tuesday I will take Kings Temptress and Fernhill Urco up to Stansted to make their trip out to Kentucky. They will be taken with their crate and hand luggage, yes they get hand luggage; a little kit with some feed and extra layers in case they get cold! Only one groom is allowed to fly with the horses and it has been decided that William Fox-Pitt’s groom will go with them, she is very experienced so I know they will be in safe hands, and my groom Emma Moore will fly out separately to meet them at the 48 hour quarantine base before they start their long journey to Kentucky. After I have dropped them off I will drive back and the next day will leave for Badminton where Apache Sauce and Imperial Cavalier are entered. Then I will come home from Badminton on the Monday evening and the next morning I will make my way up to Heathrow - probably picking up William Fox Pitt on the way - where we will fly out to Kentucky!”

“In other news my daughter, Emily, is doing very well at the moment. She has just completed her first trial, she is just 15 and did the Open Intermediate Under 21’s at Belton where she finished 10th out of 50. She was lying 3rd after dressage but had a little mistake going in to the treble in the show jumping, so despite her horse being a very good show jumper he couldn't quite stretch enough and had three down! But she was one of the few to go cross country clear and inside the time and she rode the cross-country very well so I was proud of her! I am also looking forward to trying my hand at Endurance in May, when I get to do one leg of the Golden Horseshoe ride across Exmoor! I hope I am not too stiff afterwards!”