Twenty-four-year-old British rider Lucy Jane Amy has had a slightly unconventional path to becoming a grand prix dressage competitor. Yet this week, she is competing in the under-25 European Championships in Hagen, Germany, which has been running alongside the senior European Dressage Championships too.
Lucy is riding Richard Amy’s Rudy, who didn’t start life as a dressage horse.
“I bought Rudy him as a two-year-old from Brightwells and he was bred to jump,” explains Lucy, who used to focus primarily on showjumping, and who grew up on Jersey. “I jumped Rudy in 1.20m classes and he jumped at Hickstead as a five-year-old with me too.
“It was around that time I started having lessons with Roland Tong as I needed to work on my flatwork to help improve my showjumping. When I started having some dressage lessons, Roland said ‘you should take him out to a dressage competition’. The first time we went out we scored 62% and I was like ‘I’m not doing dressage’, but in our next test we scored 78% and I said ‘ahh actually, I’ve changed my mind!’.”
Lucy explains that, as Jersey doesn’t hold as many British Dressage competitions as they do on the mainland, double points are awarded at each competition.
“We ended up qualifying for the regional finals in one show – we went to regionals and won, so qualified for the nationals at prelim level. Then we went to the nationals and won that too, so I thought ‘this dressage malarkey is very enjoyable’.”
While Rudy, who is Holstein-bred, was the first horse that Lucy got a real taste for dressage on – she made the switch properly four years ago — she never imagined that it would lead her to her first European Championships this week.
“Rudy is very honest, so I started teaching him things like passage, even though I didn’t really know what it was,” she says. “One day we went past some cows and I was like ‘oh, he’s started passaging’, so I thought we would try that in the arena. I put what I thought was the right aid on thinking ‘I think that’s what you’re meant to do’ and that was it – he is a ‘yes man’ and very trainable and we have just built on it and got him stronger.”
Lucy, who has now trained with Gareth Hughes for a few years, and is now based on the mainland in the UK, says that Rudy is “a great character”. The pair scored 65.91% in the intermediaire II and 64.74% in the grand prix this week.
“He’s a nice person and he does try really hard – he just needs to gain more confidence at this level,” explains Lucy. “He seems very confident, but he’s actually a very sensitive horse, so you can’t override him because then he panics, but he has surpassed all of my expectations when I think about how far we have come.”
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