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A pre-Badminton catch up with Mary King

We catch up with Mary King before she heads off to Badminton next week...

"Apache Sauce is all on track for Badminton Horse Trials next week, he is feeling very fit and well and all is going to plan so far. I am really looking forward to it! Apache Sauce is now 16 years old - an old man - and this he has done many previous Badmintons yet is still feeling ver enthusiastic! He is very easily recognised so has built up a very loyal fan club who look out for his big white blaze and typically chestnut ‘jolly’ behaviour! He is Irish bred, with around 7/8 Thoroughbred and a little Irish Draft, so he isn’t a big moving horse, which means in the dressage I have to go for real accuracy to gain extra points. However he is a very good boy cross country and always seems to find a fifth leg, although his technique is slightly unusual – he tends to carry his head high in the air – he is a real goer over jumps! His owner, Gillian Jonas, lives locally to us and has owned him since he was a 5 year old and I started eventing him when he was 8."

"Who knows what the weather is going to do for Badminton, but hopefully as Apache Sauce is a bit of an old stager, if it is a bit less than perfect he will cope with it. Safety will be the most important thing though so we will see what happens. It will be very nice to stay in my new lorry – we are getting very used to the luxury, it is like a house and even has heated towel rails!"

"The younger horses are going well, Cavalier Venture (also known as Chubby!) won the Novice at Sapey the other week with a 19 dressage! That is definitely one of the better scores I have had, I think the best was an 11 many years ago – but my theory is that the judges had just had a rather nice lunch! MHS King Joules is also on the right tracks; he came second in the Intermediate at Somerley a few weeks ago. Emily is also getting on well, she is due to do her first Advanced at Withington this weekend, however we are not sure what will happen with the adverse weather conditions!"

"The Olympic horses, Kings Temptress and Imperial Cavalier, are going well. We have been up to Ferdi’s (Eilberg) for dressage training and out to see Yogi (Breisner) for show jumping practice. I am really looking forward to taking them both to Chatsworth Horse Trials the weekend after Badminton, it seems to have been a bit of a quiet spring but the priority has been to keep the horses fit and sound."

"The Olympic press is very full on at the moment, there is something going on virtually every day! I went up to London earlier this week to do so a shoot for Woman and Home magazine, then we had Time Magazine come and do an interview for an Olympic feature they are running. I don’t mind it – a lot of the other riders are busier than me but with only 5 horses to ride I can fit it in and enjoy it. The press and publicity is far greater this year than it has been for any other Olympics and there is definite excitement in the air."

Good luck Mary, we will be cheering for you at Badminton!