The United States has historically been one of the most successful nations in equestrian sports, boasting 11 Olympic gold medals in the disciplines of show jumping and eventing. However, the same level of success has not been achieved in dressage. Many factors are the reasons for this, but the United States has recently been making steady progress in dressage, with the national level now not far behind that of the major European nations. Two years ago, the American dressage team won silver medals at the Olympics for the first time ever. This achievement has led to increased attention on riders who could potentially elevate their country's standing in the sport. One such rider is Kerrigan Gluch.
Kerrigan Gluch did not come from a family with equestrian roots, but her desire to learn how to ride was supported from a young age. After several years of riding lessons, she got her own pony, Powder. Due to financial constraints within her family, they could only afford a pony, which needed to be trained from scratch in the essentials of dressage. While this may have been a disadvantage for those aiming for a competitive horse, it provided Gluch with valuable skills in horse training that have propelled her career forward.
Also Read: Portrait: Nations Cup Champion Richard Vogel
A significant turning point in Gluch's riding career occurred when she became a part of Hampton Green Farm. This stable specializes in Andalusian horses, also nown as PREs (pura raza española), and dressage. Initially focused on breeding, the farm expanded over the years to include young riders, aiming to support them in their equestrian careers. At just 15 years old, Gluch left her home in Michigan to work at the farm in Florida. Here, she worked with horses during the day and attended high school online in the evenings. Over time, she began competing in larger competitions, emerging as one of the most talented young American dressage riders.
In 2014, she participated in the North American Junior Young Rider Championships, finishing eighth in the individual competition. The following year, as a Young Rider, she competed again and won a bronze medal in grand prix freestyle alongside her partner Vaquero, with whom she would enjoy success for the next six years. Vaquero remained by Gluch's side as they transitioned from young rider to U25 levels, consistently delivering promising results. As a U25 rider, Gluch began to compete in Europe and achieved further success with horses like Brio and Bolero. She was part of the USA's U25 Nations Cup team, winning two gold medals and one silver medal from 2017 to 2019.
Also Read: Can horses really think and feel?
After concluding her U25 career, Gluch's equestrian journey took a new direction. Vaquero retired from sport, and her preferred competition horse became the gelding Mejorano. With Mejorano, Gluch found success primarily in her home country but also ventured to Europe, representing the American Nations Cup team at CHIO Rotterdam earlier this year. While Gluch is yet to represent her homeland at the Olympics or World Championships, her youth offers ample time to reach those milestones. Her time at Hampton Green Farms, where she currently serves as an assistant trainer, has provided her with a solid foundation for a long and prosperous riding career. Whether as part of a U.S. team or as an individual competitor, we can look forward to witnessing her skills alongside the stunning Andalusian horses for many years to come.