Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

EXCLUSIVE: Mary King to retire Olympic horse

16:25 12 May 2014

Mary King riding Imperial Cavalier GBR

Mary King riding Imperial Cavalier GBR

Kit Houghton

Olympic medalist event rider Mary King has exclusively revealed she is to retire her London 2012 silver medal winner Imperial Cavalier. His retirement, in the autumn, has been prompted by his performance at the Badminton Horse Trials, which took place at the weekend.

Mary King has announced she is to retire her Olympic medallist event horse, Imperial Cavalier, later this year.

The pair bowed out of the 2014 Badminton Horse Trials, pulling out half way around Saturday’s challenging cross country course.

Mary said Badminton was 16-year-old Imperial Cavalier’s (Archie) last 4* event; she plans to end his event career later this year, competing at a lower level.

Olympic rider Mary, and Archie, from Salcombe Regis, near Sidmouth, were part of Team GB’s London 2012 equestrian silver medal team.

Mary will meet with Archie’s owners next week to discuss the horse’s retirement and future.

“Badminton was his last major three-day event,” said Mary. “I will do some One Day Events with him this autumn to finish his career.

“When these great horses come to the end of their career you have to bite the bullet and accept it.”

Mary was among eight former winners of the Mitsubishi Motors Trophy battling against competitors from 14 other nations vying to win the coveted title.

She said this year’s Badminton had proved ‘eventful and disappointing’.

Mary and Archie had the crowds on tenterhooks when the Olympic medal duo narrowly missed taking a tumble at the Outlander Bank owl hole.

Horse and rider drew audible gasps from the crowd when Mary nearly went over Archie’s head as the 16.2hh horse appeared to stop mid-way through the jump.

“I had been thrown forward onto his neck but he kindly kept his head up,” said Mary.

“He’s an older horse and a wise old man. After his upset with the owl hole he felt very polite and he lost his feistiness that he’s had in the past.

“I think he had switched off so when he stopped at fence 16 I had no hesitation than to raise my hand and give him a pat.

“I thought I wouldn’t ask any more of him. He’s done so much; so many huge courses in his life. He’s a proven cross country horse.

“When he tells me he’s not wanting to do it, it’s time for him to stop.”

The pair was high on the leader board overnight after Friday’s dressage phase.

Mary said Archie performed a ‘beautiful’ test, controlling his enthusiasm, and was ‘in the hunt’ for Saturday’s cross country phase, starting with 42 penalties.

She believed the sticky ground over the cross country course sapped Archie’s energy, holding him back.

“At the end of the day he’s an older horse. I am sure if it had been a couple of years ago he would have coped a bit better,” she said.

She said the decision to pull Archie up was taken ‘without hesitation’ after he stopped at the second part of fence 16 at the Mirage pond; a drop into water coming out over a narrow brush.

Mary said: “After he jumped immaculately around the first part of the course he started to feel one-paced.”

The new course, designed by Giuseppe della Chiesa, proved a challenge to competitors – with just 23 out of the 87 starters going clear, and no-one returning within the optimum time.

Mary said: “I have had some fantastic times at Badminton. I feel very sorry for the young riders that had things go wrong. It’s heartbreaking.”

Other News Stories

Find out when Santa will be visiting Bideford, Barnstaple, Torrington, Northam, Appledore, Fremington, Yelland and Braunton.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:43

Guest had to break glass with his bare feet and barely escaped alive with his young son after Europa fire that revealed ‘a number of failings’

Read more
Yesterday, 16:35

Police are appealing for information after a woman in her 60s had to be cut from her car at junction of Abbotsham Road and Belvoir Road.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

The tractor, which still works today, was first bought in 1954 and is the inspiration behind a series of children’s books.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:51

Bishop Sarah Mullally visits centre as part of a three day tour of North Devon

Read more
Yesterday, 12:29

The force has confirmed it is investigating allegations in Devon and Cornwall of child sex abuse within football.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:12

A hearing will run next week in Northam to determine the future of Westward Ho! village green on Golf Links Road.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:43

School goes from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ in just two years

Read more
Yesterday, 10:25

Find out what time the Christmas lights will be switched on in Bideford on Sunday, and what else you can expect throughout the day.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:10

Find out how you can give a gift and help North Devon families in crisis over the festive holiday during our annual appeal.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 3°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications