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‘I never in a million years thought jumping around Badminton could feel that easy’: meet five-star stalwart Ivar Gooden

On episode 17 of the Horse & Hound Podcast, H&H’s Hannah Lemieux chats to Ivar Gooden’s rider, Imogen Murray, to find out more about this remarkable horse — here Imogen tells us how she came about her five star campaigner and how his first crack at Badminton panned out

“Ivar Gooden, or ‘Charles’, as he is known at home, came to my yard in a very round about way,” says Imogen. “A friend of ours, who was looking for a horse to do low level competition and hacking on, was in the pub with Charles’ owners. She then asked me to go with her to look at this horse that the man in the pub had for sale.”

But when Imogen went to view the horse, she said they realised he was going to be too much horse for her friend.

“We thought he looked really smart though — he was four years old and we watched him trot up nicely — so I said to the owner that if they ever wanted anyone to ride him, as they didn’t have a rider for him at the time, to give me a call,” explains Imogen. “A couple of days later, they gave me a call and I went and had a sit on him and I’ve ridden him ever since.”

Imogen and Charles have worked their way up the grades together and she was just 24 when she took him to his first five-star at Badminton in 2017.

“Charles was only 10 when he went to his first Badminton, which is quite young, and that year the completion rate was terrible on the cross-country, so I was pretty nervous,” she laughs. “It was all really new for him but he just rose to the occasion and he absolutely loved it. He flew round and I never in a million years thought jumping around Badminton could feel that easy, especially when so many other competitors were having problems — it was an amazing feeling.”

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And it sounds like there is still plenty more to come from this imposing 13-year-old gelding.

“I thought at that first Badminton, if that was as good as he was going to get, I would be more than happy. But he has improved competing at that level every time since then,” says Imogen.

To hear more about Ivar Gooden’s career and character, listen to episode 17 of The Horse & Hound podcast or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app

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