Mary King completes endurance ride

May 17, 2011

The punch in the air from Mary King as she crossed the finishing line was familiar. But this time she was completing her first taste of endurance riding, choosing the tough terrain of Exmoor for her debut.


Mary King and Mellow Jazz and Abby Chisholm on Withypool Common during the ride.
King, who jumped from the saddle and minutes later was dashing away for a journey to France for a three-star horse trial at Saumur, had accepted an invitation from the famous Golden Horseshoe Ride to negotiate the first 40km (25 miles) of an 80km (50 mile) competition.

And she completed at 12.8kph, fast enough to be listed among the possibles for a Gold award had she completed the second day at a similar speed with her horse clear of veterinary penalties.

King was riding Mellow Jazz, a 15hh Arabian gelding who in 2004 competed on a British team in France and is owned by Karen Jones from Culmstock, Devon. "He was wonderful out on the moor, very tough and so nimble," King said afterwards.

"I am always keen to try something new and having watched the endurance competitors at the World Championships last year I jumped at the chance to try it myself.

"The preparation was impressive. The owners and riders are so dedicated, and the vetting was an education.

"Riding with my stirrups so long was strange, but I think I was fit enough. I'll know tomorrow morning!"

And she added "I would love to come back and try it again - as long as I can ride Jazz, of course."

King was escorted over the Exmoor course by endurance Young Rider champion Abby Chisholm, 15, from Lydford on nearby Dartmoor.

"Riding with Mary was a dream come true," she said. "She is very competitive!"


Mary King and Mellow Jazz cross the line with Abby Chisholm at the finish of their ride in the Golden Horseshoe.


Crossing one of the many streams on the trail.