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 Exmouth Journal 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 Exmouth Journal 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 Exmouth Journal 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

Thu, 08:57
Avocet being put through its paces by the crew in the race from Topsham to Shelley Beach

After the success of the Turf Lock row in the summer, Exmouth Gig Club members weren’t behind the door in committing to take part in a Sunday row to Topsham and back, writes Phil Gater.

Read more
Thu, 08:57
Exe SC Sailability event

This year has seen another milestone for the Sailability project, writes Rex Frost.

Read more
Thu, 08:57
Withy 2nd XV action versus Crediton II

Withycombe made sure the form book ran true as they underlined their table-topping status to put hosts Newquay top the sword, beating the Cornish side 72-5.

Read more
Thu, 08:57
Witjycombe Under-13 action V Brixham

Withycombe Under-13s were worthy 55-5 winners when they entertained Brixham.

Read more
Thu, 08:57
Withycombe Under-10 action

Withycombe Under-10s were unlucky at Brixham where they had travelled with a much depleted squad of twelve to face the stern challenge of the hosts and were ultimately beaten 18-10.

Read more
Thu, 08:57
20151004 Copyright onEdition 2015©
Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition

Withycombe RFC U12's team at The Land Rover Premiership U11's Rugby Cup, Exeter - Land Rover is a proud supporter of grassroots rugby and a partner of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup for nearly a decade. Land Roverâ We Deal In Realâ campaign aims to champion grassroots rugby on the global stage during Rugby World Cup 2015. Follow @Land RoverRugby #WeDealInReal

For press contacts, contact: Michael White at Fast Track on E: or T: +44 (0)20 7593 5200

If you require a higher resolution image or you have any other onEdition photographic enquiries, please contact onEdition on 0845 900 2 900 or email
This image is copyright onEdition 2015©.
This image has been supplied by onEdition and must be credited onEdition. The author is asserting his full Moral rights in relation to the publication of this image. Rights for onward transmission of any image or file is not grant

Withycombe Under-12s were comfortable winners when they hosted Brixham at Raleigh Park.

Read more
Thu, 08:56

Following the narrow defeat at Tavistock the previous week, Exmouth Under-14s were confident that they were capable of securing a much needed win when Tavy arrived at Imperial Road.

Read more
Thu, 08:56

Exmouth Quins continued their unbeaten season with a 41-23 victory at Cullompton II.

Read more
Thu, 08:53

The East Devon seniors played a three-ball better ball, at 3 Ball Better ball, writes Paul Willoughby.

Read more
Thu, 08:51
Football generic picture

Budleigh Reserves went down 3-0 at Bickleigh in a Fresha League Premier Division game, writes Conrad Thomas.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read Sport

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Photo Orders
Family notices
Google Plus
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

Search for a job in Exmouth

Find planning applications