Rider for eventing legend King Solomon is chosen

  • Herefordshire student Holly Bradshaw pipped dozens of keen riders to the post to be chosen to ride Mary King’s Olympic silver medal-winning horse King Solomon III at the 2009 British Dressage South West Summer Regionals.

    Mary gave King Solomon III, known as “Solly”, to Paula Lee in 2005 when he retired from eventing to carry on a competitive life.

    Paula has qualified Solly for the 2009 British Dressage South West Summer Regionals at Kingston Maurward (27-29 July) — but is unable to compete the horse herself because she is pregnant.

    Now 20-year-old Holly, who is studying equine sport science at Hartpury College, will accompany the horse to the regionals and possibly beyond.

    Holly, who will drive the three-hour journey to train in Devon at least twice a week in the build-up to the competition, said she was amazed to learn on Friday that she had the ride.

    “I wasn’t going to apply, I didn’t think I had a chance. It is a totally amazing opportunity,” she said.

    Paula said she, her trainer Sarah Cheetham and Mary, watched around 50 DVDs from hopeful riders, who had to be a British Dressage member and eligible to ride at advanced medium restricted level.

    They chose Holly because she rode Solly “beautifully” and was deserving as he had just retired her medium mare, leaving her with only a novice ride.

    Now 21, Solly is still on top form and has won his last two outings this year. He has amassed over 200 British Dressage points since taking up pure dressage. He qualified for the advanced medium restricted summer regionals with 68.16 per cent.

    Although Holly said her main discipline is eventing she said she will somehow resist the temptation to try Solly over a few poles. “I’d love to but I don’t think I’d better,” she said.

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