Mary Thomson did not come from a traditional equestrian background. Her father’s career as an officer in the Royal Navy was ended by serious brain injuries caused by a motorcycle accident shortly before she was born and the family was left in reduced circumstances. She learnt to ride on a neighbour’s pony at the age of six and progressed through the Pony Club system before taking a job at former European champion Sheila Wilcox’s stables. Supporting her fledgling career with a series of part time jobs, Mary gradually climbed the ranks of British eventing and was able to turn professional in 1988. Her championship début came in 1991 when she a member of the victorious British team at the European Championship and the following year was selected for the Olympic team following a victory at the prestigious Badminton horse trials. Over the next 20 years she has been an almost permanent presence on the world scene and, in additional to her two Olympic medals, has won two gold and one silver medal in the team event of the World Championships and seven medals, including four gold, at European level. Mary has won all three (Lexington, Badminton, Burghley) events of the Grand Slam of Eventing with a career highlighting occurring at Lexington in 2011 where she achieved the unique feat of placing first and second with her two horses. This performance helped her rise to the top of the world rankings for the first time aged 50. She also won her seventh European Championship medal in 2011, and the following year appeared in her sixth Olympics and added a second silver medal in the team event, to go with the one she won in 2004. Also in 2012, she achieved her best finish in the individual event, being placed fifth. Her daughter Emily has followed her mother into sport and competed at the 2011 European Junior Championships. Emily’s previous championship appearance had been a pre-natal one as her mother had competed at the 1995 European Championship whilst five months pregnant.