Mary King on the horse she would have loved to have ridden: ‘I was absolutely bowled over’

  • Suppose your Christmas stocking contained a ride on the horse of your dreams… We find out which superstars of yesteryear this top rider would love to have been in the saddle on

    Mary King, a six-time Olympian who counts Badminton, Burghley and Kentucky wins on her record – along with a seriously impressive medal haul – admired a certain grey superstar who took the showjumping world by storm.

    “A horse I would have always loved to have ridden was Milton. I remember seeing him in the flesh at a show in Leicester and I was absolutely bowled over as he walked past. He just looked so amazingly soft, supple and athletic – and that was just walking, let alone how incredible he looked jumping,” says Mary.

    Milton and John Whitaker

    Milton and John Whitaker

    Milton is best known for his iconic partnership with John Whitaker, who was given the ride in 1985. The pair were a match made in heaven, and Milton became the first horse outside racing to win more than £1m in prize money. Known for his carefulness and rarely touching a pole, he was loved by showjumping fans around the world.

    “I first saw him around about the time I was riding King William. I’d been having some fences down at big three-day events, so it made me even more in awe of Milton,” says Mary King.

    “He just had this aura about him, he was so incredible in his heyday. He was so quick off the ground and soft in the air. Although I never met him, I admired him from afar and used to think, gosh, what it must feel like to ride such an athlete.”

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