A no-holds-barred story of what it takes to reach the top, and stay there, in the world's most dangerous sport - three day eventing.
At the age of forty-seven Mary King won a Team Bronze at the Beijing Olympics. In the two 'Cavaliers' - 'Call Again Cavalier' and 'Imperial Cavalier' - she has two of the very best event horses in the world.
Mary King's success in the world of eventing (now officially classed as the most dangerous sport in the world) has been hard won. She does not come from a privileged background - her father a verger and a long-term invalid so money was very tight. Her first pony was the ancient 'cast off' from the local vicar's children - and success with this pony gave her an iron will to succeed. And succeeded she has.
To support herself in the early days she had a variety of unglamorous jobs (this included butcher delivery rounds and cleaning out toilets in the local campsite). Her talent was apparent from very early on and she first competed at Badminton in 1985, had her first win there on King William in 1992 and her second on Star Appeal in 2000. Just when everything seemed to be going well she suffered a terrible fall in 2001 and broke her neck but she was back competing at the very top level the following year.
Fully updated for the paperback with the 2010 season, including Team GB's gold medal-winning performance at the World Equestrian Games, this is a fascinating account from inside the world's most dangerous sport.
In a career spanning almost 20 years Mary King has become one of British Eventing's icons and a regular member of the British team.The risks of riding were brought home to her in 2001 when she broke her neck in a fall, from which she fortunately fully recovered. For many young mothers that would have been a signal to hang up their boots but Mary fought her way back to fitness and back into the British squad for the World Championships in 2002. By her own admission Mary, now 47, finds it extraordinary that she became interested in horses as her parents were anything but keen. Her father, a retired naval officer, became a verger and at the age of six Mary began to ride the vicar's pony. Inspired by a visit to Badminton Horse Trials, Mary worked tirelessly on a butcher's delivery round and as a gardener, cook and chalet girl ? anything to fund her eventing career. She became head girl to Sheila Willcox, a former European Champion and Badminton winner, and in 1985 she made her Badminton debut, finishing in seventh position. In 1992 she added her name to the famous trophy with her great horse King William, the only horse to accumulate more than 2000 points in competition, and she achieved her second Badminton victory in 2000 with Star Appeal. Her glittering career has brought four team gold medals at World and European Championships and the title of British Champion a record four times. She has also represented Britain at the last three Olympic Games. Mary is married with two children and lives near Sidmouth in Devon.