World famous event rider Mary King turns 60...on Dartmoor!
- Credit: Liberty Trails
One Britain’s best loved horse riders chose to spend her landmark birthday on horseback amongst the tors
Devon’s most celebrated professional horse rider — Mary King MBE — celebrated her 60th birthday by riding on Dartmoor with a team of guests from specialist adventure riding firm Liberty Trails.
Mary is a multiple Olympic medal and Badminton horse trials winner, and a proud Devonian who is based near Sidmouth. She has worked with Liberty Trails for around five years, though the ride was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid regulations.
But revived again in 2021, a small group of fans from around the UK signed up to spend two nights with her at Bovey Castle Hotel and enjoy two fabulous days of guided riding amongst the tors, buzzards and native ponies.
“The whole week was fabulous,” said Mary. “I was very spoilt by my family who joined me and the lovely guests for my birthday night dinner - great fun!” Mary’s son Freddie rode out on the moors with his Mum and other guests the day after her birthday, and her daughter Emily, also a professional event rider, joined her celebrations around her commitments at Bicton Horse Trials.
The weather gods were appropriately kind, ensuring Mary has stupendous weather on her big day, and after a fabulous moorland picnic mid-ride, she was presented with a cracking cake.
Mary shows little sign of slowing down and is still competing several horses in eventing and is currently training for her first attempt at the London Marathon in October in aid of the Brooke charity which supports equines in need all round the world.
“We have long been privileged that Mary supports Liberty Trails, and were so touched to spend her big birthday with her,” says owner Elaine Prior. “She loves these moors as much as we do, and I think values the way we support many other Devon hotels, chefs, equestrian businesses and others with Liberty Trails. We’re thrilled that she’s agreed to return next June to host another ride for us.”
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Liberty Trails has recently been announced as the South West Rural Enterprise Regional Champion by the Countryside Alliance in their 2021 ‘Rural Oscars’.
“What an honour to ride with Mary King through Liberty Trails, with two days riding superb horses across Dartmoor - a big bucket list tick for me,” said guest Jane Mancini. “The landscape was breathtaking, the food delicious, and care of guests is foremost in Liberty Trails’s thoughts. Elaine and her team produced an incredible and unique experience.”