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Mary's Rolex and Badminton don't go quite to plan

We catch up with Mary King after Rolex and Badminton to find out how the prestigious 4 star events went...

"Fernhill Urco flew from Stansted airport to Chicago on the Wednesday before the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. He then went from Chicago to Lexington by road after a short quarantine period. Liz Brown, the team vet, was on the flight and you are only allowed one other so William Fox Pitt’s groom, who had flying experience, also travelled with the horses. My groom Lauren flew a couple of days later and waited for them on arrival. That part of the trip went smoothly at least! Urco was in good character and full of life when he got there. I competed at Hambleden and then got back Sunday night, drove to William’s yard and we both went to Heathrow together and flew with Yogi Breisner to Kentucky. The park at Lexington is so lovely, in the last few weeks I feel very privileged to have been in not one but two stunning locations!

Sadly things didn’t really go to plan. Urco did a really good test for him, which left us in a very competitive fifth place after the dressage. It was a good course and he was second there 2 years ago so I was confident. I set off and very early on, as early as around the fourth fence, I felt he lacked a bit of energy and power and I knew something was not quite right. He was jumping but just felt a bit floppy and his reactions to my leg and hand were dull. There were all sorts of things going through my head, but about two thirds of the way round I thought I am not enjoying this and neither is he, so pulled him up, in hindsight I wished I had done it earlier. We don’t really know why he wasn’t right, it is hard to do blood tests straight after competition as their bloods are unsettled anyway so he returned from the US a few days ago and the vet has taken blood tests now and we are waiting for results. He is very happy and perky and even at Rolex after cross country he was bright eyed and pulling us around – it was just his reactions weren’t normal. He will have a bit of time off now and then be picked up to enjoy the rest of his season. It was a real disappointment to go all that way but that is horses!

So it was straight home and a quick turnaround for Badminton where Imperial Cavalier (Archie) and Kings Temptress (Tess) were competing. I did my first Badminton in 1985 and even to this day I still get as excited! However once again things didn’t quite go to plan. Archie was very excited in the dressage and although he tried to contain himself he was lying in 20th place, which wasn’t quite what I planned! Tess was very good and was in a good placing after dressage so I was really pleased with her. Archie went first in the cross country, he is such a lovely horse to ride cross country. However I made a slight mistake as when we were half way round I checked my time and was ahead, but without knowing it I must have eased off as when I next checked I was behind and while I tried to catch up I ended up with 4 unnecessary time penalties. Sometimes those penalties may have been irrelevant but frustratingly it would have been the difference between 13th and 8th as a final placing! On to Tess, she was awesome cross country, I was having the best ride on her, she wasn’t pulling and felt bold . I came to the farmyard and jumped the big table and took a slight pull with the right rein going into the next fence to which she responded quicker than I expected so I corrected her to the left and she jumped the fence. I knew that her head and neck had gone the right side of the flag but wasn’t sure if her body had. I carried on for another 7 fences gradually thinking that it must have bee OK but just as I galloped to the lake the ground jury pulled be up and said sorry but we were eliminated. The whole shoulder has to be on the inside of the flag and Tess’s wasn’t. So that was that! I was pleased with the way she had gone and as far as she was concerned she did a clear round and she was straight as a dye round the course so that is one positive! They were both very well that evening and very sound with not a mark on them. Archie then jumped a beautiful round of showjumping, calm and clean which pulled us up to 13th and we finished 2nd best Brit. I was over the moon for Jock Paget on his win, he rode beautifully in all phases, he is such a lovely chap and a calm, gentlemanly rider.

Next is Aston Le Walls with 6 horses between Emily and I. Tess is going to Twemlows to try and get an embryo from her. On a happy note while things weren’t going to plan in Kentucky, Emily was texting me saying ‘mummy I have won again’ she won at Hambleden with Brookleigh, at Withington with Mr Hi Ho and at Bradwall with Miss Indigo. So her season is going very well!

After Aston we have Rockingham Castle, then Emily is riding at Houghton and then I am taking MHS King Joules and Cavalier Venture to Tattersalls to do the 2* and Emily is doing a 1* and 2*."