Tales from Stoneleigh: ‘He reminds me of Macbrian; I don’t want to give him back’

  • At the end of her test in the intermediate I freestyle, Amy Stovold threw her arms around Waldessarini’s neck with a huge smile on her face.

    The pair came ninth yesterday in the straight class to qualify for the music. Today, they nailed a superb test to finish third with 74%.

    “I had too many mistakes yesterday, and I had a costly mistake on my first horse, Bo Bo L, this morning, so I rode my arse off in there!” she grins.

    ‘Foxy’ belongs to Nicolle Begovic, wife of Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir. Amy —who is based with Olympic husband-and-wife team Anders Dahl and Fiona Bigwood — has only had the ride for four months.

    “Nicolle’s been crazy-busy, so I’ve been riding him on and off. I adore him; I don’t want to give him back,” she says from aboard the tall, elegant chestnut.

    “He’s one in a million; he tried his hardest in there and we’ve only gone through the test once. He gives me such a great feeling — you can ride him to be hot or calm.”

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    Next year the plan is for Nicolle to take back the ride, and they will continue working Foxy towards grand prix.

    “I really enjoy helping her with him. He reminds me of Macbrian [Amy’s former grand prix horse, who died this year]. He’s so genuine, and he really listens. He’s worth his weight in gold.”

    Riding for the big names

    What’s it like, riding for a professional footballer?

    “I don’t think about it,” she laughs. “They’re so normal, they’re just people! I really respect Asmir as a sportsman, and he appreciates the mindset. They’re such nice, understanding owners; they’re great people to ride for,” she says.

    It’s been a busy year for Amy outside the dressage arena. She recently married partner Simon and will soon head off on her honeymoon to South Africa.

    “I’m actually teaching there for four days first,” she admits, “but then we’re going to Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, and we’ll go on safari.

    “We’ve done everything this year: got married, bought a house — this is a great way to finish,” Amy grins.

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