So further to my big reveal earlier this week that I am going Burghley crazy… I’d like to finally introduce you to our trot-up star, the rider who is very kindly letting me style her for the first horse inspection on Wednesday. I have to say I’m extremely excited about this for so many different reasons; being asked to style someone is completely humbling and the biggest compliment I could ever wish to receive (and a little bit of a shock! Which it would also be to you, if you saw me on the way to muck out my horses at 6am in the morning…). But on another level, being introduced to such an outstanding young rider, is particularly inspirational to an amateur eventer such as myself, particularly when this young rider already has a few 4* events under her belt and was placed highest first time rider at Burghley just 3 years ago. I am of course referring to Imogen Murray, of M.S Team Eventing. But rather than me introduce you, I found someone to do a better job…
Imogen Murray, International 4* Event Rider at some of her recent events, including Badminton earlier this year! Photo credit to Tim Wilkinson, Imogen’s photographer.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Imogen Murray, a 24-year-old professional event rider from Leicestershire. As part of the family business, M.S.Team Eventing I produce and compete a string of horses, both for ourselves and for a great team of owners. I generally ride everything from little inexperienced 4-year-olds to my more experienced 3* and 4* horses.
2. How and when did you get involved with eventing?
I’ve been eventing since I was 13. When I was a lot younger I was a working and show hunter pony rider and regularly competed at events like the Royal International Horse Show and Horse Of The Year Show, but then the eventing bug caught me and I haven’t really looked back. I then started riding professionally when I left school 7-years-ago.
3. What is your favourite thing about eventing?
The adrenaline buzz of the cross country – that contrast of pure excitement and pant staining fear.
4. Burghley has to be every eventers dream – how are you feeling about the event?
I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. It’s my second visit to Burghley, the first was 2014 with Wiseguy. I was the youngest competitor then and I probably am this time.
5. …and the competition?!
There is certainly more pressure this time. We had such an incredible time at Badminton, with Ivar Gooden jumping a double clear, that people’s expectations are now a lot higher. But we are all so excited. He’s such a fantastic horse and one that could do really well at Burghley.
6. If you’re anything like me, horses are more important than people! Can you introduce us to your Burghley ride, Ivar Gooden?
I’ve ridden Ivar Gooden since a 4-year-old. Sir Charles as he’s known at home hasn’t always been the easiest and even his owners questioned my sanity persevering with him at times, but I think we’d all agree that it paid off. He’s a true competitor. We have a really strong bond and complete trust in one another. He just wants to go out and win all the time.
7. How do you prepare for a big international 4* event such as Burghley?
I’d like to say that I’m not really preparing but still recovering from our trip to France, but I guess Haras du Pin was our preparation for Burghley. Charles has his work plan sorted for the next week and he’s had his last big hill gallop – which he certainly felt well in! As for me, I’ve got my final event this Friday at Keysoe with some of my other horses and then I’m off to a good friend’s wedding for some R&R. It will then be all systems go for the packing and panicking!
8. The trot up has recently become more of an attraction for spectators, what is your usual trot up style?
I don’t really have one really. I’ve been a bit conscious of being on the short side. I’ve always just gone for just a nice smart/casual outfit. But I did wear a dress in my first Burghley!
9. How are you feeling about being styled by me for the trot up? (not too nervous I hope!)
Honestly…it is probably more stressful and nerve wracking than the actual competition. I’m not really one for dressing up, but I’m actually looking forward to it now.
Imogen’s usual style (obviously!) consists of a pair of jodhpurs and a riding hat, so make sure you tune into my blog and social media channels next week to find out what Imogen’s wearing for the first horse inspection! I’m incredibly excited!