Emily and Mary King make eventing history

  • Emily King first went round a European Championship course when her mother was 5½ months pregnant with her — so it was, perhaps, inevitable that she would go eventing.

    Now, her inclusion in the junior squad that competed in Portugal (7-11 September) has made history in the sport.

    Emily and her mother Mary have become the first parent and child eventers to represent Britain at championships in the same year.

    Emily — who at 15 was the youngest member of the squad — rode as an individual at Vale Sabroso, where the team won gold and took individual gold (Zoe Brenan) and bronze (David Doel).

    She finished seventh on Patsy Mason’s seven-year-old gelding Mr HiHo, having gone into the showjumping at the top of the leader board.

    But two rails down dropped them to seventh place.

    “It was amazing,” Emily told H&H. “I felt privileged to be there — although it was obviously annoying, coming home without a medal.”

    Mary — who was in Portugal to support her daughter — said the pair had certainly experienced “all the highs and lows of eventing”.

    “If anyone had told her she would be seventh before she went to Vale Sabroso, she wouldn’t have believed them,” said Mary.

    Emily has suffered a string of injuries over the past two years — including a broken pelvis — and a bout of chronic fatigue syndrome.

    “Knowing all those injuries are behind me is a good feeling,” she said.

    And riding in Portugal gives Emily’s dream of one day riding on the senior team with her mother a boost.

    “She just wants to beat me!” Mary joked. But the World Equestrian Games gold medallist said she won’t be resting on her laurels.

    “Emily has a huge future,” she added.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (15 September, 2011)

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