Five-star event horse enjoys happy return to competition following injury

  • Imogen King’s (née Murray) top horse Ivar Gooden returned with a win at his first show since sustaining a leg injury 19 months ago.

    Ivar Gooden, known at home as Sir Charles, is one of the most consistent cross-country horses in the world at five-star, with a 100% jumping clear rate from six starts.

    He sustained a leg injury in June 2021 and has spent the last 18+ months recovering, carefully and steadily progressing through his rehabilitation. Last week, a little over a year since he restarted ridden work, Imogen took him to his first showjumping show at Onley Grounds Equestrian Complex on 10 January.

    Imogen told H&H the intention was not to be competitive, but to give him a fun outing.

    “It was so nice to have him out. He was really good and really enjoyed coming back and actually doing something,” she said. “We’ve been taking [his rehabilitation] really nice and slow – we wanted to give him the best chance possible.”

    The pair topped the 1.05m, with Imogen enjoying a purple streak to win three other classes on different horses that day.

    “He has been jumping at home now for about six months, just nice and small, and we’ve started taking him to shows because he enjoys it,” she said.

    “We will see how he goes. It would be really nice if he could come back to do another five-star, but he owes us nothing.”

    She added that the idea is to start slowly and see how he goes, with no big plans and anything they do will be “for his enjoyment”.

    The now 16-year-old gelding was sourced in Ireland by Aivar Ward, who co-owns him with MS Team, at Goresbridge sales as a four-year-old.

    He joined Imogen’s string as a youngster and the pair have since represented Britain on Nations Cup teams as well as enjoying placings at five-star. Their top results include eighth at Badminton and sixth at Burghley in 2019.

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