Former Badminton winner, Olympic medallist and Deputy Lieutenant of Devon, Mary King MBE had her first experience of riding on Dartmoor last week and declared: “I’ve loved it!”. Mary has been an Ambassador of The Dartmoor Derby since its inception; a 50-mile riding experience for horse riders who stay either in local hotels or a luxury, purpose built camp each September. Last week Mary accompanied a ride run by the Derby’s parent company, Liberty Trails. Liberty Trails organises bespoke guided adventure rides on Dartmoor, on either your own horse or a lovely local horse sourced by them with fabulous lunches organised en route.
Eight riders each day rode with Mary and an expert guide, covering 30 miles over two days. “I ride horses all the time but I very rarely get to cover a big distance and just soak up the scenery, so this invitation from Liberty Trails was a great opportunity,” says Mary. “Even though I’m from Devon I’d slightly forgotten some of the many wonderful sights you have on Dartmoor — the new born foals of course, but also the stallions with their little herds of mares, and skylarks singing overhead. I loved it — I would highly recommend it.” Guests stayed each night at Bovey Castle Hotel, riding right to the front door at the end of their first day in the saddle. For the accompanying riders it was a huge thrill to ride and chat with a rider who for many has been a lifelong sporting heroine. Liberty Trails’s Elaine Prior added: “Mary’s enjoyment riding on Dartmoor was palpable – I don’t think she ever stopped smiling, and with fabulous accommodation, delicious mid-ride meals and someone else to wash her horse off it was a true holiday for her. We all enjoyed every moment.”
There are plans to repeat the ride next year. For more details click here