Mary King’s Olympic Games countdown diary: 29 days to go

  • What an exciting time we had at Barbury this weekend. All the top horses and riders were there and it was a great competition. When we arrived the ground was quite firm but we had rain overnight and the going was really good on the day.

    Cavvy (Call Again Cavalier) did a beautiful dressage test except for a couple of quite obvious mistakes including striking off on the wrong canter lead, which was a bit embarrassing. We scored a two for that! And he got a bit tense in the halt and rein back, but he did some fantastic work in between which pulled our score up. He jumped a lovely clear show jumping and was an absolutely dream to ride across country to finish eighth.

    I was pleased with Archie (Imperial Cavalier) too. He was very excited when we were warming up outside — I did wonder what was going to happen when we went into the arena — but he does tend to quieten down when he goes in. He did a good test with just a few little mistakes because he was a bit on edge. Then he show jumped well with just the bogey fence at the top of the arena down.

    He was cruising round the cross-country when we had a slight misunderstanding at fence 22, the sunken road. I was having a beautiful ride — he really does give a magic feel — and I had quite loose reins. He jumped over the rail and down the step and drifted slightly off line. I didn’t really direct him and so he cantered straight past the skinny. He didn’t know he was meant to jump it. So we just cantered a circle and he popped straight over it. It was a bit of a silly run-out but we are still getting to know each other and hopefully it will sharpen us both up.

    Both horses are entered for Aston-Le-Walls in two weeks time. I was planning to just dressage and show jump them, but I think I may run Archie cross-country. We are still getting to know each other and there is still a lot to learn. Both horses came through Barbury very well but Cavvy will just do the dressage and show jumping at Aston and I’ll use the Devon hills at home to keep his fitness up. Cavvy is definitely my first choice for Hong Kong, although Archie will go into quarantine at the Unicorn Trust as well, just in case.

    Once we got back from Barbury we had to do a quick turnaround as my groom Bernie Shonk and I had to head up to the NEC Birmingham first thing on Monday morning for our kit fitting. Team GB really does think of everything when it comes to squad clothing. The only thing you have to take with you is your underwear! From the moment we leave for Hong Kong we will be clad in Adidas clothing all the way!

    Fingers crossed everything goes to plan between now and then.


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