Mary King set to retire Imperial Cavalier

09:29 15 May 2014

Mary King with Imperial Cavalier

Mary King with Imperial Cavalier


Mary King has announced she is to retire her Olympic medallist event horse, Imperial Cavalier this autumn, writes Becca Gliddon.

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.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Midweek Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Midweek Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Midweek Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other Sport Stories

Yesterday, 16:04
Golf generic picture

With Christmas in sight the Lyme Regis men held their first Turkey Trot competition of the season, writes Richard Jackman.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:04
Golf generic picture

There was quite a buzz at Honiton Golf Club as the ladies held a Christmas Fayre, writes Liz Rogers.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:04
Golf generic picture

A short field of 45 Honiton seniors contested a stableford competition on a very wet course which made putting particularly difficult, writes Liz Rogers.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00

Millwey Rise Reserves defeated Feniton thirds in a hard-fought match played out on a heavy pitch with a strong wind making play even more difficult, writes Dick Sturch.

Read more
Tue, 16:22
Football generic picture

Offwell Rangers were comprehensive 8-2 winners when they hosted Bradninch in a Fresha League Division Seven meeting.

Read more
Tue, 16:22
Football flag. Ref exsp 7256-33-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Seaton Under-10s returned home from a visit to a cold Cullompton with a draw and a narrow defeat from matches against the hosts and Bradninch.

Read more
Tue, 16:22

Despite slipping to a third successive defeat the team retuned home feeling they could, perhaps should, have taken at least a point for their efforts in South Devon.

Read more
Tue, 16:18
Honiton 2nds at home to Paignton. Ref mhsp 6911-47-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

There were tries galore when Honiton Hawks Under-7’s entertained Cullompton.

Read more
Tue, 16:18

Honiton ladies skilfully negotiated their way into the last 32 clubs in the country in the Yetton Trophy competition, writes Julie Grant.

Read more
Tue, 16:18

Twenty-nine members of Lyme Regis Bowls Club made the annual pilgrimage to Benbridge on the Isle of Wight, to enjoy a bowls knockout tournament and other festivities, writes Paul Moffitt.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 11°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read Sport

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder

Find a job in Devon

Find planning applications