By Abi Curran at Burghley Horse Trials
Emily King credited mother Mary’s accomplished advice after a magnificent debut display at the 2023 Defender Burghley Horse Trials.
The Flintshire-based eventing star may not have matched her mother’s 1996 triumph on the course but a completion on Valmy Biats was a stunning start to her Burghley career.
The future is bright for the family after King, 27, had just one down in the final show jumping phase.
And Wales-based King attributed her successful week with Valmy Biats, also known as ‘Grandad’, to the guidance and wisdom of her eventing legend mother.
“Over the first stage here when I went over for the finish she said, “why were you going so slow?”,” she said.
“I learned that was the thing that needed to be said to me, no beating around the bush but she’s amazing and she knows the drills.
“She knows the pressure you’re under, the pressure you put yourself under.
“She knows me as well so she is quite tactful. She wasn’t so tactful with that comment but I needed to hear it.
“Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at how lucky we are that he’s fit and sound and finished.
“You’ve got to just do it so we’re so lucky to be here, so lucky to have got a completion under our belts and use that to build on that next year.”
King and ‘Grandad’ finished the first dressage phase with an impressive score of 30 but fell behind in the cross-country after picking up a further 41.8 penalty points.
But the promising 5* eventer will not be dwelling on any hiccups after completing the world’s most influential course in her first year.
“It’s so easy to get a bit het up in your own little system and think, ‘this could’ve been better,’,” she added.
“You learn all this stuff you can’t practice, you’ve got to just do it so we’re so lucky to be here.
“Even though you work those stupid early hours with no sleep, busting a gut every day, the reason why you do it is to come here.
“When you experience it, it becomes obvious that hard work is worth it.”
Defender Burghley Horse Trials (31st August - 3 September 2023) has been a major international sporting and social event for over 50 years. It attracts the world’s top equestrians and over 170,000 visitors. For more information visit