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A catch up with Mary after the Olympic Games

We had a lovely chat to our sponsored rider, Mary King today for the first time since the Olympic blackout period! Listening to her chat about the experience bought back all the memories from the Games! "On Friday I rode through the town in Sidmouth with Archie to celebrate the Olympic Silver medal the team won and there were literally thousands of people out to see us! I felt like I had won individual Gold - someone mentioned 10 - 15,000 people! Despite the crowds he was a very good boy."

"The whole Olympic experience was such an honour, to be part of such a wonderful event, and to be so proud of the what an Olympics we laid on - it really did capture the whole nation's hearts, produced unity and uplifted people. Greenwich Park was an awesome venue - I think a lot of the critics swallowed their words. I never made any secret of the fact that I was all for it, having been to other Olympics it makes such a difference to be in the Olympic village and feel like you are at the heart of the Games, rather than a totally separate venue. We knew the cross country wasn't ideal for the British horses, who all like big galloping courses like Badminton and Burghley but it was such an ideal location for spectators."

"We were very close as a team and moved into the Olympic Village four days before the event started. Archie was very good - I had worked him quite hard in the lead up to moving him in so he was quite quiet and sensible and then it was a case of just keeping on top of his enthusiasm without exhausting him to keep him settled. Out of all the phases my main concern, and also the selectors, was the dressage. I knew, and they knew he could produce a good test but he could also produce a not so good test! Thank goodness when I went in to the arena and put my fingers to my mouth to ask the crowd to stay quiet they all helped me because I think if they had cheered and clapped it would have been very different. So thank you to everyone for being on my side! I felt I didn't ride the last flying change very well so blamed myself for that mistake but other than that I was happy with the test."

"On to the cross country! I have never and will never again experience anything like it! It was a tunnel of roaring and cheering from the very start to the finish - it was an extraordinary feeling! The jumps were a little bit small for Archie and the crowds were very distracting but we did it! It wasn't the easiest round but we knew we had to get the job done without making mistakes, the turns were very tight for such a big striding horse and I tweaked his bitting to ensure I had the control I needed. We also got stopped half way round which gave us both a chance to get our breath back, but the problem with being held is that you lose your check on time, I knew I had to make up the time in the second half of the course but I was kicking myself for having that one time penalty at the end! The rest of the team all went really well - it was a great thrill!"

"Because of all the cancellations I have done a lot of affiliated showjumping this year so Archie has been on good form for this phase. I knew I had to jump a clear round to keep our medal position so there was a lot of pressure, but I try not to worry about pressure. I had to pretend that it was just a normal course and I just needed to ride my best, despite the crowds! Archie was a bit quicker through the air and a tighter in the rein but he left the fences up and to get across the line inside the time was such a mix of emotions, pride and relief being two of them! Tina then jumped amazingly to keep the Silver medal! It would have been nice to get Gold obviously but the Germans did a better job and deserved the win."

"When it came to the individual element I was feeling quite confident after the clear in the first round but I made a silly mistake which I blame myself for entirely. I watched the first few go in the ring and there was a very tempting line with a great bit statue of a lion in it, I watched someone take this line and the horse did a huge spook and it upset the first part of their round. Unfortunately this didn't sink in to my head and I did exactly the same thing! Archie majorly spooked at it, went tight in the rein and instead of me settling him, I set off and had the first fence down! Then because I was angry with myself I had the third down before I relaxed and jumped the rest of the course well!"

"Rio is very much on the cards. I love the sport and if I retired now I would get fat and bored because I love to eat! I have very supportive owners and a couple of people wanting to buy a young horse, as well as some lovely horses in the yard owned by the same people who own Archie so I will stock up the team and make it my mission! Emily will be 20 by then so it could be a mother and daughter team? I should think being more realistic she will probably have a better chance the following Olympics in 2020 - by which time I am sure I will be too old!"

"Next stop is Burghley with Kings Temptress, hopefully Cavalier Venture will go to the 6 year old Championships in France and having had his MOT by the team vet after the Olympics, Archie is 100% so after a few weeks holiday he will come back into work and aim for Pau 4 star in October!" 

On to Rio it is then Mary!