In a career spanning almost 20 years Mary King has become one of British Eventing’s icons and a regular member of the British team.The risks of riding were brought home to her in 2001 when she broke her neck in a fall, from which she fortunately fully recovered. For many young mothers that would have been a signal to hang up their boots but Mary fought her way back to fitness and back into the British squad for the World Championships in 2002.
By her own admission Mary, now 47, finds it extraordinary that she became interested in horses as her parents were anything but keen. Her father, a retired naval officer, became a verger and at the age of six Mary began to ride the vicar’s pony. Inspired by a visit to Badminton Horse Trials, Mary worked tirelessly on a butcher’s delivery round and as a gardener, cook and chalet girl ¿ anything to fund her eventing career. She became head girl to Sheila Willcox, a former European Champion and Badminton winner, and in 1985 she made her Badminton debut, finishing in seventh position. In 1992 she added her name to the famous trophy with her great horse King William, the only horse to accumulate more than 2000 points in competition, and she achieved her second Badminton victory in 2000 with Star Appeal. Her glittering career has brought four team gold medals at World and European Championships and the title of British Champion a record four times. She has also represented Britain at the last three Olympic Games. Mary is married with two children and lives near Sidmouth in Devon.