Horse & Hound’s Andrea Oakes visited Emily King at her Devon base to catch up with the charismatic and confident 19-year-old eventer at the start of a busy season. Get a taste of what life is like on the King family farm — from feeding and schooling, to keeping fit and dealing with paperwork.
What is a ‘normal’ day like for Emily King?
Emily heads out to feed the 12 horses on her yard, before the two full-time members of the team Emma Hartwell and Ellie Forrest arrive at 7.30am. Ellie was recently chosen from nearly 300 applicants to fill a rare vacancy.
Her first ride for the day is Durgun, a “relaxed, intelligent and athletic” seven-year-old.
Next Emily schools Brookleigh, the lovable hogged 13-year-old, on the flat. “It’s really important for the modern event rider to be competent at dressage,” she says. “I used to be hopeless and had no patience for it, especially with ponies when I just wanted to gallop and jump, but now I enjoy it.”
The rest of the team are taken for a hack, making the most of the quiet lanes and hillwork.
When Andrea visited, lunch was a family affair around the kitchen table, with Mary’s mother Jill, serving cheese on toast.
Riding and competing successfully are all about creating a solid partnership with your horse. Mary King bases hers on these
Emily’s afternoons are taken up with paperwork, entries, admin and social media.
She gets going with yard chores, might ride some of the young horses or do some teaching.
Emily pulls on her trainers for a daily run with the dog Barney.
When the girls have left, Emily finishes the day by feeding the horses.
Read the full interview with Emily King in the current issue of Horse & Hound magazine (9 April 2015), where she talks about learning to accept her mother’s advice, being tempted by showjumping — and setting her sights on a senior team place