“My enthusiasm for the sport is still very much there!” Mary King talks to HorseHage about the season ahead, training, and her philosophy.
An unwavering commitment, natural ability, patience, and years of enthusiasm are four key ingredients that have helped HorseHage ambassador, Mary King achieve outstanding success in the field of eventing.
More than just a familiar face at 5* fixtures such as Badminton Horse Trials and Burghley, over the years fans have found inspiration, motivation, and deep routed respect for Mary’s training principles and equestrian philosophy.
Here we check in on Mary to talk about how she’s feeling since her fall towards the end of 2022, and to ask about the season ahead. We touch on horses, training mindset, and her long-standing ambassadorship with HorseHage.
How are you feeling following your fall late last year, are you fighting fit and ready for the season ahead?
Luckily, my broken bones stayed in line and healed well and quickly… and my enthusiasm for the sport is still very much there!
What will your year look like after taking some much needed time out to recover? Have you set yourself a competitive goal to work towards?
I have 3 young horses competing this year. I am aiming King Louis, who at 7yrs old is the oldest of my 3, for his first CCI2*L at Bicton in May.
After many years of considerable success in the saddle, you’re without doubt an inspiration to all. What would you say has been your key driver to success?
My unwavering love of the sport.
Which horse(s) will be your top campaigner(s) this season and why?
King Louis. This is his third year eventing and is the most experienced of my 3.
Can you tell us a little about Patrick? How do you feel he got on at his first event and what do you see his future looking like?
He is a lovely kind, 5yr old, bay, 16.2hh Irish horse. I bought him from the Go For Gold Sale as a 3yr old. He still has plenty of maturing to do but is talented in all 3 phases.
With the rain (yet again) effecting the start of the 2023 eventing season, how do you prepare yourself and the horses for the ground conditions that follow?
It is so important to prepare them for the ground conditions that they will have to face at an event. I try and work them on grass as much as possible, plus I am lucky that mine live out a lot of the time, so learn to cope with the mud, etc. at this time of the year.
What are the key lessons equestrianism have taught you over the years and how do you use these in your approach to teaching and training young horses?
To be cool, calm, and thorough, leaving no stone unturned. You need to use these skills to train young horses successfully. They need to understand what is expected of them to progress confidently, therefore being clear and consistent with your training, correcting mistakes, and rewarding them for correct work, will help them to progress happily.
Outside of eventing, which disciplines/activities are a key part in your horses training schedules and why?
Fitness – the fitter they are the easier they will cope during a competition, and the more they will enjoy it…plus less chance of injury. So plenty of road work, hacking up and down the hills, and fast work on grass uphill every 3/4 days.
Following Emily’s success at Thorseby, did you ever imagine your daughter would be as a formidable force in the saddle as yourself?
Yes, from a very young she was determined and competitive and used to say ‘I want to be better than you mummy’!
Do you both value the same techniques or do you have separate approaches to your training and competing?
Yes, Emily has continued to follow my techniques even though she has moved away and shares a yard with her event rider boyfriend Sam Ecroyd. The quality of the horses and the standard of the sport is progressing all the time, so although Emily’s general work would be similar to mine, she has many new up-to-date methods she uses.
What made you first turn to feeding your horses HorseHage? And are these reasons still the same today?
I used to feed hay but found the quality inconsistent. HorseHage provides such a consistent quality, dust-free product which the horses love. These are still the reasons I feed HorseHage today.
How many horses do you have in your stable at the moment, and are they all fed HorseHage?
I have 7 horses who all are fed on HorseHage
What 5 key benefits do you feel your horses get from being fed HorseHage?
1) Consistent quality – so ‘do’ well
2) Dust free – no respiratory problems
3) Very palatable, they really enjoy feed time
4) Different types of HorseHage for different horses, so all types are catered for.
5) Due to the quality wrapping the Horsehage stays fresh for a long time until the bale is opened for use
What are your go-to products from range? Do you have one your horses could not live without?
High Fibre HorseHage …. the horses love it, and due to the high fibre element, they can cope with a decent amount, which is so important for their digestive system.
The success of your relationship between HorseHage is seen in the longevity of the relationship. What would you say the key benefits of the relationship are and why?
It is due to the consistency of quality of the HorseHage. The conveniently sized well packed bales. The quality of service.. both when ordering and speed of delivery. They are such a lovely company to be associated with 🙂
With thanks to Mary King for her time taken to answer our questions.