Amy Woodhead: how working for Carl Hester has set her up for success

Playlist 20 Videos Sovaro Palm Beach Masters showjumping qualifier in Wellington, Florida: 3 February 4:57:24 Starting young racehorses: how do top yards do it? 01:20 ‘I did it for Vlad’: watch showjumper compete without a bridle 02:59 One-eyed racehorse excelling in falconry career 02:24 Watch what happens when a sprinter compares training regimes with a racehorse 03:02 'He's a once in a lifetime horse': history repeats itself at HOYS Cob of the Year championship 00:46 'It has been a long time coming': rider returns to win back Blenheim title after 16-year gap 00:36 Blenheim win for Christopher Burton by narrowest of margins 00:51 All eyes on Tokyo 2020: meet the team behind Britain’s renewed eventing success 01:26 Ever wondered what it takes to be a doctor at Burghley? Watch this video to find out… 01:43 'It's effort after effort': top riders share their thoughts on the 2017 Burghley cross-country course 03:45 What do Zara Tindall, Mark Todd and Harry Meade make of the 2017 Burghley course? 03:47 Amy Woodhead: how working for Carl Hester has set her up for success 06:14 Endurance riding: ‘The welfare of the horse is paramount in everything that we do’ 02:22 History made at Bramham as first Japanese rider takes CCI3* title: disappointment for overnight leader 00:49 'That was nerve-wracking!': Will Furlong takes Bramham under-25 title on dramatic final day 00:53 'I'm chuffed to bits': Izzy Taylor speeds to Bramham CIC3* victory 00:48 'She's so gutsy': Will Furlong takes commanding lead in Bramham under-25 00:35 'She's a little star but also hysterical': Gemma Tattersall has commanding CCI3* dressage lead at Bramham 00:50 'I couldn't ride at all last week': Paul Tapner leads Bramham CIC3* 00:41

Having worked for Carl Hester for three-and-a-half-years, dressage rider Amy Woodhead has returned home to Grimsby to run her family business. Horse & Hound visits her at home to find out what the future has in store

Having worked for Carl Hester for three-and-a-half-years, dressage rider Amy Woodhead has returned home to Grimsby to run her family business which was started by her grandmother and father as a riding school.

The yard has now been transformed into a professional dressage set up, and Horse & Hound paid a visit to find out what experience the young dressage rider has taken away from Carl — and what she has planned for the future.

Name: Amy Woodhead

Age: 25

Base: Grimsby, Lincolnshire

Biggest achievements to date: representing Great Britain on the young rider and pony dressage teams

When did you decide that horses would be your career?

“The moment I came back from the hospital I was sitting on a pony. That’s all I ever knew. Growing up, we’ve had a riding school here our whole life, so any group lessons me and my sister (eventer Holly Woodhead) could get on we did. Until we were about 13, both of us just did Pony Club and any kind of riding club, and so it wasn’t very serious. We just learnt to ride any ponies that we were given.”

What was the next step?

“Dad (Ian Wooodhead) at the time was the British pony dressage team trainer, and I used to go and watch all the pony team training with him. And when I was 13, we were on the way home once and I told him that I thought I’d really like to do this as a career — I’d really like to go on the pony team and get a flag. That summer he sent me to the German team trainer for the whole of the summer, and then when he picked me up we then went to a different yard where we tried a couple of ponies and I ended up getting a dressage pony from there.”

Continued below…

Liked this? You may also enjoy reading these articles…

How did you get the job with Carl Hester?

“I’d seen him at a lot of internationals and then he came out and helped at the young rider Europeans when I was on the team. Lottie Fry was meant to be going to work at Carl’s but she wasn’t able to get there for a couple of months so he spoke to my mum and asked if I’d like to come and work for him for six months — and I just didn’t leave.”

What have you taken away from working at Carl’s?

“I loved working for Carl. Just learning how to run a professional yard is amazing. I would suggest to anyone wanting to do horses, you should go and work on other yards and work underneath someone else. And I also learnt what it takes to become a top rider — which is a lot of hard work. A massive highlight at Carl’s was being able to do my first grand prix, for which I’ll be forever thankful — that’s an amazing opportunity in itself.”

For all the latest dressage news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday