Jodie Amos, Horsezone’s latest sponsored rider, is definitely one to watch this season. Having won the Britannia League in 2014 in its inaugural year on her own and Nicola Coates’ Wise Crack, Jodie has retained her place on the Lottery funded World Class Programme for 2015, (which she was first selected for in 2013) and is widely recognised as one of Great Britain’s leading stars of the future.
Based at Nigel and Ann Taylor’s Washbrook Farm in Warwickshire, Jodie kindly spoke to The Gaitpost after a great start at the first BE event of the season at Aston-Le-Walls.
Tell us about your horses and your preparations for the forthcoming season.
My main horse is Wisecrack, he finished in the top ten at both his three day events last year coming 5th at Bramham and 3rd at Blenheim CCI***. He was rarely out of top 10 all season, topping off a fantastic year with winning Nigella Hall’s inaugural Britannia League. He could not have gone any better.
The exciting thing about Wise Crack is that he has no real weakness, he is strong in all three phases. He is a proper 3 day horse, his arab breeding giving him both stamina and speed, he is the ultimate athlete. You work so hard to source and produce a potential team horse, I really believe I’ve got one in Wise Crack.
This year my focus with him is to break the 40s barrier in my dressage. The Germans are the big rivals at championship level and they are finishing on sub 40. My dressage needs to go up another level.
Then there’s Matt, a horse who has overcome all his physical difficulties because he is so eager to do the job, always a tryer. We did our first Badminton and Burghley together working our way up the ranks from BE100 to CCI****. He first put me on the map and I owe him everything.
I have a new Advanced ride owned by Barbara Cooper called Figaro. It is really exciting to have another string at this level enabling me to be out competing week in, week out doing all the major events. Fig will be aiming at Tattersalls International and we will take the Spring to get to know each other. He is a sensitive horse and has had a number of riders in the past so it’s important we are both on the same wave length!
I also have a lovely string of rising 5 and 6 year olds, three of which we bought at the Monart sale last year. They are very different but equally talented and I thoroughly enjoy bringing on and producing the younger horses, its very rewarding.
It would be lovely to have a few more Intermediate horses, 7 and 8 year olds, but you can’t have everything and I can’t afford to buy them at that level so I have to spend the time producing them.
How was Aston-Le-Walls last weekend?
Equestrian Direct Ltd Direct Ballytarsna du Carel jumped a classy double clear in his first BE100 and Irish Encounter, being produced for Gemma Wellings, also jumped a lovely double clear on a 21 dressage to finished 4th in the Open BE90, which was her first ever event.
The very talented Rocketman GD followed close behind on a 22 dressage taking 7th place, and is feeling a lot stronger and physically more mature this year. Also a yard favourite, Family Affair, had an effortless canter round the unaffiliated BE90 and has grown up and was very on the job, so watch this space!
As for the rest of Team Amos, Vicky Clarke had a great time partnering Matt round the BE100 jumping a super double clear and coming back to the yard beaming from ear to ear clearing having had a lot of fun! Finally our new stable jockey, Camille Combes, was also placed 7th in the BE100 on her own Barnadown B Lucky and did a very good job taking on two more outside rides with Olympic Law and Tysaxon Magic Jack. All the youngsters are now exhausted !
Why is the Britannia League such an important addition to the BE calendar? What did it mean to win it?
Nigella has created a fantastic opportunity for younger riders having not yet made a Senior Team to gain some recognition as well as an undeniable financial incentive. Some people have a larger string of horses at that level, so to make it a horse / rider competition is fundamental.
The Britannia League was seriously competitive in its inaugural year, in the end I had to finish no less than 3rd at Blenheim to win it! The £5000 prize money is a massive incentive as there just isn’t enough prize money in eventing – I won £3000 for coming 3rd at Blenheim and when you work out the time and money it takes to get to that level, the figures just don’t add up.
With Fairfax Saddles now also supporting the Britannia League, I’m hoping it will become a stepping stone in ones career going forward and hopefully making a British Team.
What were your highs and lows of 2014?
The highs have to be Blenheim. All year Wisecrack had been amazing but to finish 3rd in one of the most prolific CCI*** in the world amongst “la creme de la creme” of eventing took a while to sink in. To have my name up on the leader board sandwiched between the likes of William Fox Pitt and Pippa Funnell is a huge achievement.
The lows – Badminton. I watched the DVD again last night. Matt was jumping his absolute socks off around the biggest track I have ever ridden, he was trying his heart out and made one mistake. Game over. That’s the sport I suppose, it’s tough! You have to learn from your mistakes and come back stronger. I walked away thinking, how can I put myself in a position to come back here year in year out with a chance of being competitive ? Thats my goal.
Who do you train with?
Nigel Taylor for jumping and XC and Andrew Fletcher for dressage. Being on the World Class Development Programme, I also have access to an incredible support network with tuition from Yogi Breisner for jumping lessons and Nick Burton, Angela Tucker and Gill Watson on the flat.
I love my brown Fairfax & Favour boots with my pink tassels! Nicky Coates who owns Wisecrack owns Baban Clothing in Thame, offering a unique collection of clothing and accessories. Sourced from Italy and France they have a range of stylish, wearable clothing that you can dress up or dress down with, also the perfect way to spice up your trot up outfit! Needless to say Baban clothing consists of most of my wardrobe these days!
How did you get into riding?
Mum rode racehorses in Ireland as a teenager and I always wanted to ride. Growing up on the coastline of the south of France and far from the country side, I didn’t start riding until I was 10 whilst on holiday in Provence. A few years later, completely obsessed with horses, I got my first pony. Eventing very quickly became a way of life and everything else had to fit around it.
With Rio 2016 around the corner, have you got a different outlook for this year?
My main aim for this year is to get on the Senior team at the European Championships at Blair in September. I am fortunate enough to have an incredible horse in Wise Crack, who I believe has everything to make a team horse. He had a faultless season last year, really putting us on the map with some top results at major International 3 star events. Now we need to keep progressing, consolidate and move forward with what we have achieved so far.
What or who inspires you within the equestrian world? Past and present.
As a female rider, the person I would most aspire to ride like would have to be Piggy French. She is a class act in all three disciplines as well as a serious competitor.
Do you have a favourite equestrian possession?
I love my Devoucoux saddles and Parlanti Boots.
Is there an all time favourite yard/stables that you’ve been too? And why?
Badminton – nothing beats it ! 200% ! It was incredible. The feeling you get walking into the main courtyard is like walking back in history, it gives you goose bumps.
Which country in your opinion does equestrian best? And why?
For eventing it is definitely England – no doubt about it. All the other nations are here. For me, I originally had no intention of living in the UK longterm having grown up in France. I came over for University and left half way through to concentrate on my riding. The opportunities are incredible, the competitions, the facilities, the owners, the sponsors. Horses are part of the culture here.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I suppose I would like to be remembered as being very competitive having achieved the top level in my sport but equally someone passionate about her horses with a great “joie de vivre” !
Do you have an equestrian hero?
To jump around a CCI**** sat on Lenamore would have been a pretty cool experience!
What is the quality that you most like in a horse?
I like an athletic horse with a kind eye and eagerness to work for you. Temperament is important, they need to be trainable. It doesn’t take me long to know whether or not I like the feel of a horse. I’m fairly open minded and all my horses are very different in type but you have to enjoy sitting on them day in day out, they have to stand out and say take me home. I like a blood horse, quick thinking, sharp on his feet and manoeuvrable. They need to jump, I’m happy to work away on the flat as long as they’re uphill and careful.
If you weren’t a 3-day eventer, what would you be doing?
Travelling! I did quite a lot of humanitarian work in South America during my year abroad and having studied languages and history at university, I have a passion for learning about different cultures. Horses keep my feet on the ground and eventing keeps me in the UK, otherwise I would be off exploring!
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given? Who gave it to you?
Laurent Bousquet, the French team trainer that I was based with when I was 18, always said “It is not about when things go well, it is about when things go wrong – what you learn and how you come back from it”.
Eventing is a very grounding sport, you need to make the most of the highs as you never know what is round the corner.
Tell us something about yourself that only you know?
I used to think I was Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, at a very young age of course!
What would be your message to the equestrian world?
Follow your passion but be prepared to work hard. Unlike most sports you are reliant on another living being, meaning that no matter how badly you want it and how much hard work and dedication you put in, there are absolutely no guarantees. It’s tough! Saying that if it’s your passion, go for it. You’re a fortunate person if you can genuinely do what you love doing on a daily basis.
Do you have a secret superstition before an event?
I don’t like using anything new on the day, it has to have been worn before hand. I have a bit of a routine at events. I like to have a sleep before the cross country. I get all dressed up ready to go, hat and everything and have a quick 10 minute power nap… I have to set the alarm, just in case!
Where are you off to next?
Next stop is Oasby with the big boys, Figaro, One of a Kind, Wise Crack and Stacato as well as Direct Ballytarsna du Carel & Barnadown B Lucky!
What are your top 5 indispensable pieces of kit, for you or your horse?
Equetech dressage tails and XC colours
Activo-med magnetic rug for the horses
NAF Optimum balancer
And last but definitely not least, Vicky, my head girl, for her complete attention to detail and love of the horses.
Against The Clock…
Dick Francis or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper
Royal Ascot or Cheltenham Festival? Cheltenham
Badminton or Burghley? Badminton but Burghley is a close second because the weather is nice
Sand or Snow? Sand
Tea or G&T? Mojitos
Bay or grey? Bay
Keep up to date with Jodie’s news by following her on Twitter