‘He deposited me at Carl Hester’s feet’: Becky Moody on the horse who ‘bottled it up’ but could be an 80% prospect

  • “I’ve got probably the best string of horses I’ve ever had,” said Becky Moody, speaking a couple of weeks after her triple win on her upcoming star Jagerbomb at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships.

    The son of Dante Weltino, out of a Jazz mare, is eight years old and scooped victories at prix st georges, inter I and inter I freestyle. He did not always appear to be destined for glory, though, having seemed very ordinary as a young horse, but has blossomed over the years into an exciting grand prix prospect.

    “Bomber” is not the only young horse that Becky is excited about – and not the only horse who has presented her with challenges, surprises and learnings along the way, as she explained on episode 100 of The Horse & Hound Podcast.

    “My wonderful owner Jo Cooper, who has been such an incredible support to me, bought Jack Diamond as a three-year-old stallion,” said Becky, referring to the eight-year-old by Electron, out of a Diamond Hitmare, a national champion at medium in 2021 and reserve winter champion at advanced medium this year.

    “He was not outwardly stalliony at all, but he was an inward worrier – as I discovered when he deposited me pretty much at Carl Hester’s feet during the four-year-old semi-final at Hartpury,” laughed Becky. “Of all the people to fall off in front of!

    “Jack Diamond, aka Legs, was not a typical stallion, but actually he just bottled it all up until he couldn’t anymore. We had him cut as a five-year-old, and then I didn’t really do anything with him until last year when he was seven – largely because I couldn’t actually get him on the bit!” she continued, adding that “we have to be honest about these things”.

    “He is an incredible moving horse, the most scopey horse I’ve ever had, but physically he was not able to deal with that. He wasn’t strong enough in his body to deal with the movement and that meant he became difficult through his back and his mouth,” she explained, saying she was on the verge of deciding he simply wasn’t cut out to be a dressage horse.

    “Luckily I work with my sister Hannah, and I actually gave Legs to her for three months. It was definitely the start of a turning point for him.”

    Hannah and Becky, who together run Moody Dressage near Sheffield, work their horses “very much along the same lines”, but Becky explained that Hannah used a slightly different, less demanding approach to her own, that benefited Legs at that point in his training.

    “Hannah isn’t as competitive as I am by nature, which is why she is sometimes prepared to take a little less from the horses,” Becky said. “I later took back the ride and Legs is now a really exciting horse. He still needs more time, probably a couple of more years before he really comes into his own, but he has the capacity to be an 80% horse I think, if we can get everything right.”

    Becky is also excited about the eight-year-old stallion James Bond II, who is by Desperado and out of a Fidertanz mare, who was national champion in 2019 at elementary.

    “He has just started small tour this year; I have needed to spend the time training him,” she said, adding that lockdowns actually benefited James Bond by giving him the time he needed to consolidate his training. “He is the type of horse who, if he is going out, he needs to go out consistently. But I appreciate and recognise that I’m in such a lucky position that if I feel a horse isn’t in a position to go out competing I don’t need to, as I have others.”

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