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Mary gets her MBE and suffers the effects of the weather

In Mary King's first blog since the 2013 event season started she tells us how the horses are going, expresses frustration at the weather and speaks about a very exciting royal day out...

"Our first event of the season was Moreton where I rode 4 horses over the weekend. Fernhill Urco did the Open Novice as a nice first run, he hasn’t competed for over a year due to injury and is aiming for Kentucky 4* in a few weeks. He thought the whole thing was wonderful, and despite the cross country being a bit erratic he felt great! MHS King Joules and Cavalier Venture also did nice easy double clears in the Open Novice and the new 5 year old mare, Kings Choice competed in the BE90 and did a reasonable dressage and double clear. Emily won the BE100 with Redpath Eucanfly and did double clears with her others, including Brookleigh, the new advanced horse, who she came third on and was thrilled to beat me as I was in the same section, so she was very happy! She had one little mishap with Del Piero II (Peter) the 5 year old; he stumbled on landing in the show jumping and cut into his pastern so had to have a few stitches but is fine now! It was great to be out again and it really blew the cobwebs away! The horses all felt fresh cross country but it is much better that way!

Since then it has all been a little frustrating! We have been doing lots of training and preparing. We went to Tweseldown a few weeks ago and did four dressage tests between us before going down to the show jumping and thinking, NOPE! Horses were struggling in the mud and after discussing with owners we withdrew and went home. Then we got all excited about Aldon our local event. I was planning on running my two Badminton horses, Archie and Tess there. However after riding Kings Choice in the BE100, who was a very good girl, and Emily finishing 7th on Charlemagne in the Open Novice, they were forced to cancel due to snow, wind and hail!

We have been very lucky where we are based that what everyone else has had as snow, we have just had as tremendous rain! So it has been very cold and wet but we can still work the horses! We are surrounded by steep hills here, so the horse’s fitness work has not suffered - we just need event practice! Plans are still full steam ahead for Kentucky and Badminton, luckily my horses are experienced so I know they can jump round the courses.

Now we are very much looking forward to Burnham Market this weekend. The four more experienced horses area going, Archie, Tess, Urco and MHS King Joules, and Emily has Mr Hiho and Brookleigh entered.

In other exciting news I picked up my MBE on 12th March, unfortunately I didn’t meet the Queen as she was unwell at the time but the Princess Royal presented me with my award and we had a nice chat! I was there with two Para Dressage riders, along with a real mixture of people from all walks of life, so it was a fascinating day learning about all of the amazing things people have done. I was allowed to take three other people with me so my mother, Emily and Freddie came with me (my husband was too busy on the farm) and afterwards we went to Madame Tussauds as the children had never been. It was really good fun and Emily and Freddie had pictures taken with the royal family wax works and sent it to all of her friends who believed that they were real! Emily has also been getting a taste of the limelight as she did a photo shoot for the Daily Mail, which involved being on a horse in evening dress! They often follow rising stars and they have latched on to Emily, which is great. It was weird for me, being the first time that we have done a shoot at our yard and I haven’t been in it!

Apart form this I have been teaching clinics and preparing the horses for the season. The plan next is to go to Larkhill, Weston Park, Sapey and then Hambledon, before going to Kentucky on 22nd April and then back for Badminton! Let’s hope the weather improves!"