At just 21-years-old, Imogen Gloag is the youngest competitor at this year’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (1-4 September).
The young rider, with five horses on her yard near Chipping Norton, will be giving her first ever four-star a good go next week.
“I’ve ridden since I was three- or four-years-old and have always loved eventing,” says Imogen who was fortunate enough to have one of the best introductions to the sport in the form of the legendary junior horse, Walnut, who was also responsible for giving Laura Collett her first taste of three-day event success.
Five years ago, Imogen was introduced to Brendonhill Doublet, thanks to her trainer Cecilia Holman. Little did 5ft 3ins Imogen know that his 16.3hh gelding, who was 10 at the time, would be taking her to her first four-star.
“We started at BE90 level and the following year we won the Pony Club open eventing championships,” explains Imogen. “He’s huge and I’m tiny!”
One year later, in 2013, the pair were selected to represent Great Britain at the junior European eventing championships in Jardy, France. They then went on to jump clear across country in the CCI3* at Blenheim in 2015 and have followed this up with another great clear in the CCI3*U25 class at Bramham in June this year.
‘Monster’ as he is known at home, is anything but.
“He is a lovely horse to have around and to ride. He wouldn’t hurt a fly,” says Imogen who had two gap years following school, in which she worked for Irish eventer Aoife Clark. After this she spent six months studying a PA course at the Oxford Media & Business School to “keep dad happy.”
“I’ve had Monster for so long that I know him inside out. I’ve never ridden a four-star horse so I don’t know what one feels like, but he has popped round both of his CCI3* starts easily,” Imogen states. “He’s not built for dressage so we do struggle with that a little bit.”
Monster can sometimes be a little demanding though.
“He adores the physio coming to treat him,” explains Imogen. “When she arrived the other day and didn’t treat Monster, he threw a real strop!”
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Imogen has been to Burghley once as a spectator in 2013.
“I’m excited for the whole lot,” she says. “Burghley will be the perfect track for Monster as he’s a real galloping machine and he should relish the hills. It’s a real dream come true.”