Tucked away in Salcombe Regis in East Devon, one of the county’s most successful sportswomen plies her trade. Day in, day out, you’ll find Olympian three-day eventer Mary King working her horses, hacking out, teaching them the refinements of dressage, and improving their jumping skills. But who is the woman behind the immaculate competition jacket?
It was a Pony Club visit to Badminton which opened Mary’s eyes to the possibilities of three-day-eventing. “It was when I was 12-years-old”, said Mary. “I went on the Axe Vale Pony Club coach trip to Badminton Horse Trials; I thought how could anyone ever be so brave to gallop towards these great big fixed obstacles? Part of me believed this was impossible and part of me thought ‘this is what I want to try and do one day!”
“And it was from that first trip to Badminton that I set my sights on becoming an international three-day event rider.” It wasn’t an obvious move, she admits: “Everybody seemed rich and famous, my father had been invalided out of the Navy, we didn’t have any land and not a lot of money as a family, just lived off my father’s naval pension - it just seemed impossible. But it’s amazing how if you’re determined enough if you’ve got the real drive and grit to do it and have luck on the way, everything’s possible!”
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.
These days, as an established top-flight competitor, she enjoys seeing new riders coming into the sport: “It’s great to see how popular it is and amazing to see how many competitors there are, especially at the lower levels - they keep us oldies on our toes!
Mary’s glittering career has brought her four team gold medals at The World Equestrian Games and The European Championships and the title of British Champion a record four times more than anyone to date. Mary has also represented Britain in five Olympic Games: 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 and this year at Beijing where she rode her top horse Call Again Cavalier with imperial Cavalier as her reserve.
Donald is a registered BHS Instructor and Examiner, who has worked as a freelance Instructor since qualifying, has enjoyed numerous experiences in many spheres – Riding Club, Pony Club, Point-to-Pointing, Eventing and Dressage. Donald was a course builder for the Pentathlon World Championships and Olympic qualifiers and presently is Chairman of British Riding Clubs’ Training Sub-Committee.
Charlotte trained with Donald when she first started and they have stayed very good friends ever since, Donald comes up to Park End Equestrian to do Senior Camp for the SNPC and he does a dressage clinic for us at the same time.
Paul Davies is a BE accredited trainer, he has been Kenneth Clawson's business partner for the past 30 years being an integral part of South Leicestershire Riding Establishment, therefore having huge involvement with all the riders we have produced ie John Paul Sheffield, Emilie Chandler, Oliver Townend , Helen Wilson to name just a few.
Paul was a successful show jumper winning many classes on the National circuit he also worked with John Whittaker for many years and travelled with the famous Milton and Ryan's Son.
Recently he has helped Zara Phillips and travels to most of the events both in Britain and Abroad and has jumped her in with all her horses including Bramham this year.