Rio hopeful appeals for help to buy ride
The daughter of six-time Olympic eventer and silver medallist Mary King MBE is appealing for help to be able to follow in her mum's footsteps and take the horse she has been riding all year to Rio in 2016.
Despite being just 17 years old, Emily King, who lives with her mum at their stables near Sidmouth, is taking the UK's eventing calendar by storm.
She clinched the under-21s national title and third place at the Festival of British Eventing in the advanced section at Gatcombe with 11-year-old Brookleigh, who she has been riding since the start of the year.
This was a tremendous triumph for a young rider up against some of the sport's top stars including William Fox-Pitt and Oliver Townend.
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The teenager hopes to compete with Brookleigh in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but he is up for sale. The young prodigy is now appealing for people to help support her bid and form a syndicate to buy him.
Around £100,000 is needed.
"I am desperately trying to find an owner, or to form a syndicate to keep the ride on Brook," said Emily. "People who are generous enough to become involved would be able to attend events he is competing with free hospitality and have a yard visit to watch mum and I work the horses."
Brookleigh's former rider was the mighty Clayton Fredericks, for whom Brookleigh was reserve horse at the London Olympics. When Frederick moved to the USA, Emily took him on and describes herself as "really, really lucky".
Emily, a full-time rider who rides Brookleigh for dressage, show jumping and cross country – the "triathlon of equestrianism" – explained that she gelled with the horse early on and their partnership has continued to blossom.
"He's in his prime and I'm riding him at three star level, he's just an amazing horse and has given me such an amazing experience," she continued.
"He's got a lovely temperament, he's really bold at dressage and strong and confident at cross country and careful at show jumping. I've been very lucky to ride him.
"He's been on the market since I've had him so I knew this was coming up, but his owner really needs to sell him now."
Emily also rides Mr Hilo, who is also a potential Rio horse, but she added that because horses are so unpredictable, riders need two.
"It will be very hard to find another horse like him, you can't just go out and find another one that has all the right attributes, there are so many aspects to consider including gelling with the horse.
"I'd be devastated to lose him."
At the beginning of the year, Mary was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List for representing Team GB at the Olympic Games for the sixth time.
At London 2012, King helped Team GB scoop the silver in the eventing and achieved a personal best in the dressage with her horse Imperial Cavalier, or Archie as he's known at home.
Ms King added: "People think riding is an elitist sport for the rich, often not realising that most riders are totally reliant on the owners of the horses and sponsors – I didn't have anything at the start.
"Emily has had such a successful year with Brookleigh.
"Changing riders is always very different for the horse, but Emily and he gelled really well, and it's been lovely to watch them progress through the year.
"To lose Brookleigh would be a huge loss. We're all trying to produce horses to the top level and it takes years. It would take around five years to produce a horse at the level Brookleigh is at."
Anyone interested should email Emily King at: email@example.com.