Reflections in uncertain times

Eventing legend Mary King MBE explains why she loves hosting a special Liberty Trails ride each June

After 24 fabulous days at sea last winter race sailing across the Southern Ocean, from South Africa to Perth, it’s been brilliant to be back home in Devon with the horses. Time away always leaves me refreshed, though I did not realise at the time how lucky I was to have such an adventure at all!
 
I really have enjoyed the last weeks of winter and the first ones of spring doing the horses on my own; I’ve no groom at the moment so it’s just me. They live out in the field in the mud and I brush them off and off I go.  
 
This of course was supposed to be an Olympic year, and I usually feel a little jealous of teammates aiming for the Olympics — despite having been lucky enough to have been to six of them myself! Every year I have pangs at championship time — I still have this urge to ride at the top level, but I’m realistic about it. I haven’t got the horse power now and I’ve had neck troubles which impeded my balance a bit. Happily, the neck is much better than it was and I feel like I’m riding a bit better again.
 
I’m a big believer in taking a break from what is always a very busy sporting calendar and trying to do other things both in the winter, and in the height of summer between what used to be the spring and autumn eventing season… maybe that’s what’s kept me going for so long! Even so, none of us could have imagined a break quite this long… but when the world is facing such a crisis, we must all do our part. 
 
Since Britain is in lockdown for we know not how long, the special Liberty Trails ride I usually accompany in early June each year, is being postponed until 2021 (7 to 10 June), but bookings are being taken for it now.
 
Accompanying the ride always reminds me how fantastic Dartmoor is and what wonderful scenic treasures we have on our doorstep here in England… a rather apt message it would seem for 2020 when so much overseas travel is being curtailed.
A horse allows you to explore the moors brilliantly, taking in tors, stone circles, pony herds (and an excellent picnic lunch) with friends and fellow riders. I used to bring my children as they were growing up to climb tors on Dartmoor, but we never went there enough, and I used to feel guilty that I hadn’t seen “more moor”. Liberty Trails has helped put that right, and it’s lived up to every hope and expectation. 
 
Please consider signing up now to ride with me in June 2021, and by doing so, help support a range of Devon businesses for whom 2020 is going to be a challenging year. It would be great to see you there! 

To check availability please email enquiries@liberty-trails.com

IN SUMMARY

​World class luxury riding from a multi-award winning firm, particularly good for strong, experienced riders

Transfers from Exeter airport and train station included with most trips. Full concierge service also available — let us meet you at Heathrow

Bespoke itineraries our speciality; whatever your wish, we can (almost always) make it happen!

Top-class accommodation options ranging from five-star hotels to the best, hand-picked Dartmoor farmhouse B&Bs or cottages

We’ll match you with fabulous, experienced horses, or bring your own horse. We will care for it as if it was our own in a private yard

Enjoy fabulous mid-ride lunches in local beauty spots created from local Devon produce

Our UK Riding Holidays

THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE

Ride wild and free across Dartmoor and explore one of the most spectacular landscapes in the UK.

A FAST-PACED, EXHILARATING RIDING EXPERIENCE

Bring your own horse or hire one of ours and relish the thrill of riding at hunting pace across Dartmoor.

THE HEIGHT OF LUXURY

Enjoy opulent rooms, unparalleled service and indulgent spa treatments to revive, relax and restore both body and spirit.

Close Up shot rider and Horse at stables

SUPERB STABLING

Your horse will have the care and attention of our resident yard manager in our exclusive stable yard in the heart of Dartmoor.

Specialist holidays for the discerning rider with a thirst for adventure

Treat yourself to a bespoke, luxury horse riding holiday in the South of England and enjoy a fabulous horseback adventure through the heart of Dartmoor, one of the UK’s last true wilderness regions. 

Cantering through the unspoiled scenery of Dartmoor National Park on high quality, forward going horses, you’ll be guided through breathtaking scenery, past prehistoric settlements and through some of Europe’s finest examples of Bronze Age settlements. Dartmoor is the highest, oldest and least-densely populated area in the South West and offers the ultimate escape to delight all the senses and reinvigorate mind, body and soul.

Our UK horse riding holidays combine an exhilarating riding experience on the moor with a three-night stay at the luxurious Bovey Castle and use of their flagship spa to enjoy some rejuvenating treatments after a long day in the saddle. 

Bovey Castle is a world-class hotel in the heart of Dartmoor and the epitome of country house elegance. The hotel is set in a 275-acre estate and offers an 18 hole championship golf course, luxurious spa and falconry. Bovey Castle is home to the award-winning bistro and restaurant, The Great Western, named in honour of the Great Western Railway company that first transformed the building from a private house to a 5*, world-class hotel.