Meet the ‘failed hunt horse’ getting ready to deal with his first five-star at Burghley

Younger rider Tom Chook is on the cusp of competing in his first five-star on the Defender Burghley Horse Trials subsequent week (30 August-3 September).

The 21-year-old might be using his personal and his uncle David Kerry’s imposing gray gelding, Insurgent Rhyme, often called “Hughie” at residence.

“I’ve by no means been to Burghley earlier than, so I’m excited to get there and see what it’s like,” explains Tom, who completed second within the under-25 CCI4*-L at Bramham Horse Trials in June.

Hughie’s path to the highest of the game began out barely unconventionally.

“He was a failed hunt horse as he was too excitable for that job, so was put up on the market,” explains Tom, who rides full-time from his Chipping Norton base. “I used to be very fortunate that my uncle helped us purchase him.”

Tom says that the plan on the time was do compete at novice degree “and possibly an intermediate”, however Hughie, who’s 13, exceeded all expectations.

“I began eventing him in 2018 once I was 16 and he has gone on to leap clear throughout nation across the under-25 class [at Bramham] twice,” says Tom, who has an extra three CCI4*-L completions below his belt, together with two top-10 finishes. “We’re simply so pleased with the journey we’ve gone on with him.”

Tom says the important thing to Hughie’s success has been his coronary heart and mind.

“He’s received the most important coronary heart and has at all times wished to please. He’s unbelievable throughout nation, could be very straight, as courageous as a lion and covers the bottom beautifully – he makes Bramham really feel nicely inside his consolation zone,” explains Tom, who trains with Chris Bartle and Pammy Hutton. “After ending second at Bramham this yr, we stated possibly now could be the time to attempt a five-star.”

Hughie isn’t with out his quirks and finds the beginning course of at an occasion very thrilling.

“I generally can’t even bounce a cross-country warm-up fence as he get very excited, and I at all times get led into the beginning field,” explains Tom. “However as soon as he’s heading in the right direction, he settles down and listens.”

Tom pinpoints the primary part as Hughie’s weak space.

“He’s not constructed to be a dressage horse as he’s half Irish Draught and he often struggles a bit of bit on the larger degree to take a seat and push, however he’s enhancing on a regular basis.”

Tom says he’s had a take a look at Burghley’s cross-country preview and says it seems “truthful”.

“It’s clearly a five-star and it’s Burghley, so that you’re by no means going to take a look at it and say it seems pretty,” he laughs. “However it seems very nicely constructed and intelligent. It seems as if so long as you’re in your line, it’s all there in entrance of the horses to leap.”

By way of objectives at Burghley, Tom says he’ll “take every day because it comes”.

“I would love him to go clear throughout nation and I feel, fingers crossed, there’s no purpose that he shouldn’t, however clearly he’s by no means been examined at that degree earlier than. My major purpose is that he runs nicely cross-country, enjoys it and comes out on good kind on the ultimate day.”

By way of nerves, Tom is “feeling alright in the intervening time”.

“Hughie feels nearly as good as he has ever felt and we really feel like we’re as prepared as we may be. I’m clearly a bit nervous, however I’m excited to get there and do it.”

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