London 2012 Olympic Games

Riding Kings play generation game



Sue Mott, 6 January 2012

If Mary King (left), one of the freshly-minted crop of Olympian MBE’s, makes it to Rio for her seventh Olympics in the GB eventing team, she could face interesting competition from a very local source. Same village, same house, same gene-pool. Her daughter, Emily, 16, is already a European junior silver medalist in the same sport as her mother and shows no sign of setting her standards at “modest”.

“My main aims are to compete at the Olympics, win a gold medal and be world number one,” said the teenager nicely but firmly

What is it with these Kings? Historically, their namesakes liked to rule by divine right leading to all manner of excesses and executions but the Kings of Salcombe Regis, a little village in Devon near Sidmouth, are descendants of the local verger (Mary’s father) and her mother, Jill, continues the parish care when she is not driving the 19 tonne horse box around Europe. “People do look a bit surprised when you get out of the cab in your skirt at a petrol pump,” admitted Jill, who is 76.

King’s is an extraordinary tale of graft, competence and persistence abetted by her mother and inherited by her daughter. Three generations whose finest hour may come if she becomes the first woman in British history to compete at seven Olympics. (She shares the honour at the moment with Tessa Sanderson on six.)  If that were to be augmented by the, admittedly unlikely, event of her then 20-year-old daughter claiming a place on the same team, historical precedents would tumble.

“Well, Emily riding in Rio would be a wonderful thing, if it happened,” said Mary. “But I think 2016 is going to come a bit quick for Em unless she’s very lucky and finds an amazing horse she clicks with. The fact is that experience seems to count in eventing . It’s rare that a young rider shines among the seniors, but it’s her dream. And nothing is going to stop her dreaming.”

A measure of the would-be feat is kindly supplied by royalty. Princess Anne and King’s teammate and fellow Olympic silver medalist, Zara Phillips, can both claim to be Olympians. Another mother-daughter combo. But their appearances were 36 years apart. It is the simultaneous nature of King situation that makes it so compelling, and all the more possible when it becomes clear that Mary has no intention of stopping any time soon.

Despite breaking her neck in 2001, she retains her nerve in typically-unfussy style and gleefully represented the Saga demographic on the GB Olympic team when she competed at Greenwich Park in the summer on Imperial Cavalier owned by Sue and Eddie Davies at the age of 51.

“It was a huge feeling of relief when we won the silver in the summer. It would have been awful to come away without a medal. But obviously part of me – having won bronze in Beijing and silver in Athens – wanted to complete the set in London.” She helped her chances with a career-best dressage test and a clear round in the showjumping which made Emily, watching in the crowd, uncharacteristically and proudly  tearful.

But the Germans won, a common occurrence in the equestrian ring.  “So I’m just going to have to keep going for another 4 years and get my gold in Rio,” said King flatly.  “I would have kept going anyway to be honest.  I love it. Why give up?” Presumably she is of a mind to keep going to 2020?  “Oh my poor husband,” she said. But she didn’t say No..

“Yes, I’ve had falls including the neck one. That was just riding a young horse which bucked vigorously and unseated me. When I was younger the falls were harder to take mentally. I did go through a phase of nearly losing my nerve when a had a couple in a row. I wasn’t experienced. I struggled a bit. But I got through that and now I just accept what may happen.”

emilyking“I don’t worry about Emily riding. If she makes a mistake I know she’s on good horses that aren’t going to fall over in a hurry. She’s quite competent. I’ve also learnt to keep my mouth shut. I was always quite determined not to be one of those horsey mothers you see at Pony Club shouting at their children. Telling them off when they don’t win. The last thing I’d want to be is like that.”

Emily’s grandmother is quietly of the opinion that her granddaughter has  “got it all on a plate, in a way” with her five horses and sponsors, including the clothing company Joules.  Jill ruefully remembers how different it was when she walked miles round the country lanes, leading the vicar’s vengeful pony with her ecstatic 4-year-old daughter on top. “It nearly took my fingers off. One day it caught a great lump of tummy. Oh, it did hurt. Put me off horses even more.”

And that is another extraordinary element of the King saga. When Mary decided that horses were the thing (unstintingly from the age of three) there was no precedent in the family, and more pertinently, no money. “So I sold horse manure for 50p a bag, did a butcher’s delivery round three mornings a week, cleaned the camp site loos (a very well paid job, but the worst one), did a couple of gardening jobs and visited elderly ladies as a home help.”

So the annuls await. In four years time, a verger’s daughter who once couldn’t afford her own wheelbarrow may find herself an Olympian Dame. “I don’t think I’d deal with calling Mum that,” said Emily after thought. “And I wouldn’t curtsey either.”

KBIS Festival of Youth photo gallery from Weston Park

A photo round up of the inaugural KBIS Festival of Youth including the KBIS under 18 Championships, Charles Owen CCNP** Pony 3DE  and the KBIS under 21 Championships

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Charles Owen wrap up 2012 Pony season at Weston Park

Charles Owen Wraps up 2012 Sponsorship of the British Eventing Pony Programme with Autumn Trials at Weston Park

Charles Owen capped off  this year’s successful sponsorship of the British Eventing Pony Programme with the CCNP2* Autumn Three Day Event at Weston Park in Shropshire, October 4 – 7, 2012.

The Charles Owen Pony Eventing Programme is open to riders aged 12 through 16 who compete on ponies at the one star level.   This popular progamme serves as both a competition and a training tool to groom and develop Britain’s future riders.

The programme kicks off each year with a series of team trials that run in March and April.  The goal of these trials is to prepare riders and ponies for competition at the National Pony Championships and provide the chance to be selected to represent Great Britain in the annual European Pony Championships.

This year’s National Pony Championships were held June 2 -3 at Brand Hall (Shropshire) and resulted in the naming of the 2012 British Pony Eventing squad.  The squad was comprised of riding members Maddie Taylor, Louisa Nesbitt, Annie Keir, Charlotte Bacon, Janou Bleekman, and Yasmin Ingham; with reserve riders Tilley Williams, Laura Burley, and Diana Bevan.  The British Pony Three Day Team was fitted by Charles Owen staff  in K5 body protectors and the newest in jockey skull technology, the Charles Owen 4Star helmet.  The 4Star is the first helmet worthy of four (4) safety standards and is certified to perform by four different safety organizations from around the globe.  The Charles Owen 4Starleads the competition in its delivery of unparalleled rider safety.  The team ponies were also well equipped with custom rugs made specifically for European competition.

The European Pony Three Day Event Championships were held July 17-22 at Fontainebleau, France. This year’s British Team bested their performance of last year and won team and individual silver medals at the competition.

The British Pony Eventing Season culminated last weekend at Weston Park with the Autumn Pony Three Day Event Trials.  This year’s winner was Irish rider Lucy Latta on her pony “Nono,” finishing on a score of 43.7.  Second and third places went to British riders Victoria Smith and Yasmine Ingham.  (Yasmine was a member of the 2012 Pony squad.)

Long recognized in Great Britain as the leading innovator in rider safety and protection, Charles Owen is the international market leader in equestrian helmet design and innovation. Made in Wrexham, Wales, a Charles Owen helmet represents over 100 years of safety technology within the high standards of traditional design.

Roy Burek, Managing Director of Charles Owen & Company, commented: “We have had an exciting year in British equestrian sports and have been happy to have played a part in supporting the future stars of British Eventing.”

Lucy Latta (IRL) taking the 2012 Charles Owen 3DE title with Nono

About Charles Owen & Co.:

Charles Owen & Co. represents more than 100 years of innovation and style for a safer world. Each Charles Owen helmet is handcrafted using the highest quality materials. With the largest range of helmet styles and shapes, independently certified to up to four international equestrian safety standards, Charles Owen offers a wider range of protection in a potential accident. For further information, please visit:

Eventing celebrated at Weston Park

Shropshire’s Weston Park International played host to a multitude of classes to celebrate Eventing for riders under twenty one in Britain (4th-7th October 2012). This year was a true celebration of all things youth with the introduction of the inaugural KBIS Festival of Youth.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

KBIS under 18 team and individual Championships

Harriet Deeming, aged 17 from Rotherham, (South Yorkshire) representing  the Midlands U-18 region took the KBIS under 18 individual title with her ride Avanti II holding her cool to remain at the top of the leaderboard after the first phase going on to finish on her dressage score of 42.40.

Runner-up was Charlotte Barbour riding Gran Sho to finish on a score of 46.6 with Jessica Watts in third position with Colanski who added nothing to her dressage score of 47.6.

Groups of ten riders from each of the British Eventing Under 18 regions were selected to compete in regional teams. The Midlands region won the team competition on a collective score of 189.6. The team members were:

Harriet Deeming on Avanti II
Charlotte Barber, Gran Sho
Jessica Watts, Colanski
Tom Pease, Daydream

The Central team finished in second place with the South East taking third spot.

KBIS under 21 Championships

The 2012 National Young Rider Champion is 19 year old European Young Rider David Doel from Chippenham riding Koyuna Sun Magic, the ride on which David recently won the 2012 Connolly Red Mills Open Intermediate under 21 series.

Speaking about his win said David; “He was awesome today and went so well throughout the week. He pulled me the whole way around the cross country and really motored. It has been tough to pick myself up after the Young Rider Europeans so coming here and being so successful at Weston has been fantastic”.

The pair finished in the lead on a score of 49 in the hotly contested class where time across country proved critical. The second placed Young Rider combination was Germany’s Franziska Keinki riding Lancaster 149 to finish on a score of 58.1. Third place was occupied by Tom Grant with Leamhchoill Drifter on 59.5.

Charles Owen Pony Three Day Event

This year’s Autumn Pony 3DE winner was the Irish rider, Lucy Latta with her ride Nono who finished on a score of 43.7, just 4.4 penalties separating her from the highest placed Brit, second placed Victoria ‘Tor’ Smith riding Nutkin. Third place went to the 2012 Charles Owen British Pony squad member Yasmine Ingham who finished on 48.6.

The British Charles Owen Pony programme is for riders aged 12th and 16th birthday riding ponies between 142cm and 148cm (14hh – 14.2hh) with the 3DE competition held at one star level.

Guy Prest of KBIS commented: “We are delighted with the success of the inaugural KBIS Festival of Youth – encompassing all three ‘youth’ classes together under one title really helped to showcase our sports young rider talent as well as highlight the invaluable youth programmes provided by the sport. Having sponsored the U18 series for many years now, we were pleased to be able to extend our support further to the U21 Championships, helping to bring to fruition the Festival. We hope it provided a truly special end of season Championship, not only for the riders but also for the regional coordinators, trainers, selectors and chairmen who work so tirelessly throughout the year.

“Our grateful thanks goes to everyone involved for making this year such a success and also our congratulations to all who took part and of course to the winners; individuals Harriett Deeming (U18) and David Doel (U21) and to the Midlands team for taking the KBIS U18 Team title for the second year in a row.”

Award winners

Several prestigious awards were given out at Weston Park in celebration of this year’s European Championship achievements.

Sophie How received the Hubert Allfrey trophy for her outstanding performance at the Junior Europeans in Strzegom, Poland where she was crowned both individual and team gold champion.

The youngest of the award winners was Louisa Nesbitt who was awarded with the Jane Rook trophy for best individual performance at the Pony Europeans where she brought home both team and individual silver.

Alice Bibby was awarded the Walnut trophy for the highest placed rider at the Pony Club and Under 18 Championships combined.

Please visit to find out more about our Youth Eventing structure.

KBIS are supporters of both the ON U-18 and BE100 U-18; to find out more about their services head to

For more details on Charles Owen products head to

Cross country round-up from Weston Park International

KBIS British Equestrian

Riders held their nerve during the cross country phase on day three of Weston Park International incorporating the KBIS Festival of Youth.

Harriet Deeming rode a clear inside the time to retain her position at the top of the leaderboard in the KBIS under 18 Championships on her ride Avanti II. Yasmin Ingham also managed to retain her overnight lead in the Charles Owen CCNP** on a score of 40.60 with Craig Mor Tom with less than a pole between her and second placed Lucy Latta of Ireland going into the final show jumping day.

Time proved to be influential in the KBIS under 21 Championships with David Doel and Koyuna Sun Magic putting in one of the few clears inside the time to push them into first place ahead of Tom Grant and Tom Jackson in second and third.

Overnight leaders in the International CCI** Pippa Funnell and Billy Beware were nudged off the top-spot after they picked up 3.6 time penalties across country, putting new leader Colina Pickles and Airtime just ahead of  William Fox-Pitt and Fredie Mac in second.

The final day of competition continues today, for the full schedule click here.

Click here to see full results from Weston Park International incorporating the KBIS Festival of Youth.

KBIS Festival of Youth – Day 2 round-up

KBIS British EquestrianDay two of Weston Park International Horse Trials incorporating the inaugural KBIS Festival of Youth saw the culmination of the dressage phase in all five classes.

Harriet Deeming stormed to the top of the leaderboard in the KBIS under 18 Championships scoring an impressive 42.40 on her ride Avanti II. Yasmin Ingham managed to retain her overnight lead in the Charles Owen CCNP** on a score of 40.60 with Craig Mor Tom with Victoria Smith and Nutkin in close second on 40.90 going into the influential cross country phase.

Today, all riders in the KBIS under 21 Championships performed their dressage tests with Laura Cocking on Forged Colonel Rodzianko taking the early lead on 43.30.

Overnight leaders in the International CCI* Alex Hua Tian and Zilana also manged to keep their cool and maintain pole position whilst Pippa Funnell and Billy Beware managed to knock French rider Leonard Goerens off the top spot in the CCI**.

Click here to see full results from Weston Park International incorporating the KBIS Festival of Youth

Full schedule can be viewed here.

Inaugural KBIS Festival of Youth off to flying start – Thursday

KBIS British Equestrian

Today was a successful first day of competition at Weston Park International Horse Trials incorporating the inaugural KBIS Festival of Youth. Following the horse inspections in all classes, the dressage got underway in the KBIS under 18 Championships, Charles Owen CCNP**, Walker Logistics Stud CCI* and Rookery Park Stud CCI** with the KBIS under 21 Championships class performing their dressage tests on Friday.

Leading the KBIS under 18 Championships is Lucyanna Westaway on Raindance III on a score of 45.30, with Yasmin Ingham riding Craig Mor Tom taking the early lead in the Charles Owen CCNP** on a score of 40.60.

Overnight leaders in the International classes are Chinese rider Alex Hua Tian and Zilana in the CCI* and French rider Leonard Goerens riding Brechfa Cai in the CCI** on a score of 43.00 and 46.90 respectively.

Friday sees the culmination of all remaining dressage tests before the cross country phase gets underway on Saturday.

Click here to see full results from Weston Park International incorporating the KBIS Festival of Youth

Full schedule can be viewed here.

Osberton International Horse Trials in photos

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


In-hand Championships:

This years overall in-hand Champion was Three year old Chance in a Million – a bay colt by Mill Law (Samiel) out of Cartoon Town (Jumbo) bred by the owner Mrs Sue Browne and Mrs N Baguley.

Reserve honours went to the Yearling, Tower Equine Dancing Queen, a bay filly by the prolific stallion Grafenstolz and out of Queen Cracker (Welton Crackerjack) bred by Tower Equine Veterinary Surgeons and owned by Mrs A St John Muncy.


British Eventing Young Horse Champions:

The Four year old title went to  Chilli Chap ridden by James Sommerville and bred by Mary Ann Riley and owned by Mrs Pam Ashworth. This Irish gelding is by Chillout (Abdullah – TRAK x True Love) out of Heroes Pride (Duleek Hero x Forest Beauty).

Osberton proved happy hunting ground for Kitty King who took the Five year old accolade with Ceylor LAN owned by Jackie Owen, Diana Bown and Samantha Wilson, bred by R Lycklama A Nijbholt in the Netherlands and is by Veron (Quite Easy x Rinderella) out of Winanda Lan (Ahorn x Mariola-S).

Tom How and Belco HRS who were 2011’s Five year old combination came back this year to claim the Six year old title. Belco HRS, owned by Hows Racesafe was bred by Y.E. Hiemstra and is by Hold Up Premier (Narcos II x Belle Little) out of Iris (Ahorn x Cermie)

British Young Rider Tom McEwen’s ride Rehy USA was crowned this years Seven year old winner. Rehy USA is owned by the rider with John Burt and is was bred by Edna Briscoe and is by Warcraft (Ack Ack  x Became a Lark) out of On the Eve (Eve’s Error x Ardoultgh Lass VII).

Baileys British Equestrian Federation Championships

Taking the honours was the three year old bay gelding, Catherston Definitive who is a third generation Catherstone horse owned and bred by Jennie Lorriston-Clarke (pictured). The reserve title went to the Louella Stud bred bay mare yearling, Primitive Promise, owned by Melanie Dixon


Osberton International CCI1* and CCI2* title winners: 

John-Paul Sheffield headed this year’s CCI1* leader board with Miss Sally Carson’s Windingo whilst Piggy French and her new ride took the CCI2* honours with Mr Micheal Underwood’s Tinkas Time.

More information and full results can be found on 

Lycetts British Eventing Young Horse Championships

Six & Seven year old Championship round-up

Today was the culmination of the 2012 Lycetts British Eventing Young Horse Championships at Osberton International Horse Trials (26 – 30th September).

Young horse producer Tom How won this year’s Lycetts British Eventing Young Horse Six year old title (CIC1*) with the 2011 Five year old Champion, Belco HRS.

The KWPN papered dark bay gelding was bought by Hows Racesafe as a rising four year old and was bred by Y.E. Hiemstra by the Selle Francais stallion Hold Up Premier (Narcos II x Belle Little) out of Iris (Ahorn x Cermie).

Tom said of his Champion ride: “He is a classy horse and really showed exactly how good he is here this week because we came here without having had many runs this yearl. Even though he was a little bit on the green side his quality really helped him out today. He is strong in all three phases and comes out of the stable on form and loving his job every time.”

On the cross country course: “I think it was a fair but decent track and rode really well; the show jumping course was also a pretty good test of horses at this level.” Planning for the horse’s future Tom said: “I would love to come back here again with him next year to see if we can get the Seven year old title and also possibly head to Le Lion for the World Seven year old champs.”

British Young Rider team member Tom McEwen took the Seven year old title (CCI2* YH) with the ISH papered thoroughbred Rehy USA owned by Tom and John Burt. The bay gelding was bred by Edna Briscoe in Ireland by Warcraft (Ack Ack  x Became a Lark) out of On the Eve (Eve’s Error x Ardoultgh Lass VII). Tom commented on the horse: “He is a beautiful mover and coped really well with the atmosphere of the arena; it was a tough enough course for this age and level of horse. He cruised around easily and made the time without using all the gears.

“I would have loved to go to Le Lion for the World Seven year olds but actually coming here is almost better to win your own national title on home soil.”

Full results and further information will be available on