Amy Phillips, travelling head girl to five-star winner Piggy March, admits she does have favourites among the horses on Piggy’s yard.
“I’m very fussy about Vanir Kamira and Brookfield Inocent especially – they’re my favourites so I like to do them,” she says. “I would always muck out Brookfield Inocent and I used to muck out Vanir Kamira all the time, but this year they’re stabled at opposite ends of the barn so it doesn’t really work.”
Amy, who was speaking to H&H on episode 35 of The Horse & Hound Podcast, has certainly picked a pair of superstars as her chosen ones – Vanir Kamira is the 2019 Badminton Horse Trials winner while Brookfield Inocent was second in the five-star at Pau Horse Trials last autumn.
“Brookfield Inocent is very special – he’s very talented,” she says. “He’s actually very easy to do as well which is nice, although he is quite grouchy around other horses. He’s quite funny if you’re trying to tie his haynet up and he thinks his next door neighbour is going to get it – even though we’ve got breeze block stales so they can’t see through.
“But he’s just really cool. He’s quite laid back on the floor. He’s a spooky little toad when Pigs is riding him, but he’s got a lovely eye and he’s gorgeous to look at as well.”
The older, more experienced Vanir Kamira is “almost the opposite” of Brookfield Inocent.
“She’s a bit of a pain, but I love her because she’s so gutsy, says Amy. “She rules the roost – there is no one higher than her and she knows she is the queen of the yard. She’s horrible to all the horses as well, she spends her whole time pulling faces at everyone and she’s always got this horrible snaky face if she’s in the cross ties. But I love her – she always tries.”
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Although Amy has her favourites, the team don’t each look after specific horses – Amy says all their horses are well behaved, so anyone can look after any of them, although some will only be ridden by Piggy. Vanir Kamira is only ridden by Piggy or if she’s away, by her sister Nini.
Amy doesn’t do a lot of riding herself – she sometimes does some hacking when the horses are first coming back into work, but in general, she prefers to be on the ground. The team ensure that horses are tacked up ready for Piggy and work rider Mark Davidson and then untacked and put away after their day’s exercise so that everything runs smoothly.
And what’s the worst part of Amy’s job? “The early mornings!” says Amy, who is on the yard at 6.45am.
If you’d like to hear more about the routine at Piggy’s yard and how Amy landed her job, listen to episode 35 of The Horse & Hound Podcast here or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.
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