Mary King back in the saddle after breaking bones in her neck in a fall at home

  • Mary King is eyeing up a return to competition before the end of the eventing season, less than three months after breaking several bones in a fall from a young horse. Mary started riding again on Wednesday (14 September), having been grounded for 11 weeks as she had to wear a neck brace to enable the fractures she suffered to the C3 and C7 vertebrae to stabilise.

    She posted a video of her hacking out on the coast in Devon, saying, “Here I am, neck brace off, back on board a horse enjoying the best view in the world.”

    The 61-year-old told Horse & Hound that she “feels really lucky to have healed so quickly – they said it could be up to 16 weeks in a collar”.

    “I went and picked up my horses from [daughter] Emily’s straight away, and I’ve ridden every day since,” she continued. “I asked the doctor if I could ride, and he said, ‘go carefully for a few weeks, and don’t fall off’.”

    Mary King fall: ‘Each day I’m getting stronger’

    Mary reported no pain as she makes these early steps back towards competing again.

    “It is fine now, and it really wasn’t too bad,” said Mary, who broke eight ribs in multiple places and her shoulder blade, as well as the neck fractures. “Years ago I sprung a rib and I couldn’t laugh for days. This time I could still laugh and cough, but I couldn’t sneeze.”

    While she will “take each day as it comes”, the two-time Badminton winner is hoping to be back in the start box in October. She last competed in May, before the accident, which happened at home when a young horse was spooked by a gate blowing into him in the wind.

    “I am aiming to be back this season, and do three events with my young horses,” she said. “I tried to keep fit doing a lot of walking up and down the steep hills in Devon which must have done some good. Each day I can feel I’m getting stronger.”

    During Mary’s enforced absence, her daughter Emily King has been eventing Mary’s rides Kings Belief and King Louis, and has totted up a couple of wins at BE90 and BE100 on each of them.

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