Woodhead wows at Vale View HP

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 14:00

Amy Woodhead owned the Vale View High Profile show as she romped to victory with six wins and a significant number of high placings. In most of the classes she had two rides and rode a total of four horses.  Quite a feat!

The 14-year-old Finnish-bred Furst Heinrich x Weltmeyer mare Mount St John Kom Fairy Tale won the Grand Prix and inter II from Matt Frost and Tribiani. This was the mare’s third ever grand prix and with a score of 72.17% was a personal best. Any has been competing her for Mount St John Equestrian since February this year.

“Her first two Grand Prix tests were in the summer when it was hot and the venue was quiet,” said Amy. “This time she was clipped and it was cold and there were banners! So I was thrilled with her. There were still some green mistakes and I’m still getting to know her in the arena. My goal is getting her to relax and think less is more as she consistently over-tries.”

Like all Amy’s horses, Fairy Tale has a varied life, which includes jumping and visits to the beach. “She’s the yard favourite to hack to the beach – everyone fights to be the one to take her.” Her next outing will be the National Grand Prix Championship at Hartpury in December.

U-Genius is a tall impressive black stallion bred by Claire Hester and owned by her in partnership with Anne Cohn, Roly Luard and Carl Hester. U-Genius is the son of Carl Hester’s Olympic ride Uthopia and is out of the Negro full sister to Valegro. Amy has been riding him since he was four. He won one of the PSG classes and was second to MSJ Top Secret in another and won Saturday’s Inter I. “When I worked for Carl he was down the road at Claire’s so I would go and ride him on my lunch break,” reminisced Amy. “He’s a really big horse so we haven’t done much competing with him. He finds all the difficult movements really easy and can piaffe really well at home.”

“This year he’s got some good scores at PSG and Inter I although there’s still a lot to improve.”

Iwan Carlos gave Amy a win in his first ever Advanced Medium class. The pair has only contested eight classes together since she started competing him in January and have won seven. Carlos is seven years old and is by Ampere and owned by Anne Cohn. “His changes are still a bit green but all the other work felt established.” The gelding is currently for sale and Amy believes he will make someone a cracking Junior or Young Rider horse.

Amy’s other ride for the Mount St John Stud and Emma Blundell also did well.  MSJ Top Secret (Totilas x Dacaprio) also had a successful run, winning Friday’s PSG and coming second in Saturday’s to U-Genius by a narrow margin.  The nine-year-old mare is one of Mount St John Equestrian’s first homebreds and Amy started to compete her in October last year.

Not only was Amy juggling riding four horses over two days, they are all very different types. “I got off U-Genius who is huge and got straight onto MSJ Top Secret who at 16.1hh felt tiny,” said Amy. “I had to make sure I was on the ball for each of them.”

Amy would not have managed without the support of her team.  Jenny Martell groomed for Amy, drove the lorry and managed to fit in competing her own horse. Mum Tracey who helps Amy with the riding and training is an invaluable helper and Amy also benefited from warm-up advice from her dad, Ian.

Under-25 Grand Prix honours went to Lucy Amy and her 11-year-old Holsteiner, Rudy with a great 69%.  Lucy has produced him herself over the last six years from Prelim level to Grand Prix and the pair has been invited to compete in the National Grand Prix Championship in December.

Friday’s Inter I was won by Tom Goode and Ulla Smirnova’s Saint Julian (Sandro Hit x Donnerhall) who he has been riding for four years. “He’s been really good to train,” said Tom who faced stormy conditions in the warm-up. “He went in and felt really up for it. He coped well with the more advanced movements and his changes were a highlight as they have so much height and expression. I was also pleased with how his trot extensions are developing.”

Sara Fitton arrived at Vale View with no expectations so was thrilled to come away with a red rosette for winning Advanced Medium 96 with her own Florenciana (by Florencio I). The mare has been back in work for a year after being sidelined for two years on box rest and in the field after an attack of laminitis.

“We were told ‘Tia’ would never come right but she’s slowly got better and better,” explained Sarah, who credited her farrier Ben Benson’s remedial shoeing for getting her back into work. “During lockdown I’ve been working with my trainer Jane Green on her way of going.  She felt bouncier and more forward going in the test. It’s nice to see her back to her old self. I was pleased with his trot work and his canter pirouettes are always a highlight.”

Katie Bailey and her own Hillgrounds Wolkenhall (by Wolkenderry) won Sunday’s PSG with the highest score of the show of 75.74% “He was really good considering he hasn’t been anywhere for a while and this was only his third test at the level,” said Katie. “He started a bit nervy but had relaxed by the second test. “

‘Harry’ is currently medium gold winter champion and has won nine out his last 10 tests. Katie likes him so much he has bought his yearling full brother – as she says “double trouble”!

Photo c Fenwick Photography


Class podiums

Medium 75

1, Demi Howard Cartwright and WFS Top Red 68.51%%

2. Jane Gilby and Danja Lou 68.44%

3, Anna Wilson and Feliciano 67.5%

Adv med 91

1. Amy Whitehead and Iwan Carlos 73.52%

2, Emma Blundell and Mount St John VIP 71.47%

3, Charlotte Snape and Da Vinci 299 70.59%


1. Amy Woodhead and MSJ Top Secret 72.55%

2, Amy Woodhead and U-Genius 71.18%

3. Calum Whitworth and Hawtins Barolo 71.05%

Inter I

1. Tom Goode and St Julian 71.05%

2. Rebecca Hughes and Classic Goldstrike 70.21%

3. Amy Woodhead and MSJ Top Secret 70.13%

Inter II

1. Amy Woodhead and Mount St John Fairytale 73.72

2. Matt Frost and Tribiani 72.63%

3. Katrina Cantrell and Woodlander Donna Summer 69.91%

Med 76

1. Rose Foley and Cordici K 73.48%

2. Hannah Heaton and Sahara Hit 70.9%

3. Emily Coller and Ashley 70.9%

Adv med 92

1. Claire Johnson and Sensation 70.06%

2. Annabel Coller and My Delilah 69.52%

3. Emily Collings and D’Artagnan III 68.24%


1. Amy Woodhead and U-Genius 72.35%

2. Amy Woodhead and MSJ Top Secret 72.14%

3. Calum Whitworth and Hawtins Barolo 69.211%

Inter I

1. Amy Woodhead and U-Genius 72.36%

2. Katie Bailey and Hillgrounds Wolkenhall 71.97%

3. Matt Frost and Summerhouse Delano 71.75%

Grand Prix

1. Amy Woodhead and Mount St John Kom Fairy Tale 72.16%

2. Matt Frost and Tribiani 71.9%

3. Kate Cowell and Samba Dancer 68.9%

Med 75

1. Rose Foley and Cordici K 69.32%

2. Emily Coller and Ashley 67.9%

3, Anna Wilson and Feliciano 67.83%

Adv med 96

1. Sarah Fitton and Florenciana 68.68%

2. Claire Johnston and Sensation 68.15%

3. Anne Jesty and Dineros 67.56%


1. Katie Bailey and Hillgrounds Wolkenhall 75.74%

2. Matt Frost and Helga 72.06%

3. Nicola Lickley and Gullit LH 71.74%


1. Bridget Tate and CVS Night Fever 69.08%

2. Emily Coller and Ashley 68.25%

Adv med FSM

1. Louise Davison and SP Street Dancer 68.91%

2. Jade Porter-Harris and Saskia D’Amour 64.91

3. Zara Griffiss and Allegro III 64.58%


1. Natalie Widdowson and Gorgeous George IV 70.75%

2. Lindsay Hancock and Barachiel 70.31%

3. Tor Fenwick and Gucci III 70.18%

Grand Prix – under 25

1. Lucy Amy and Rudy 69.69%

2. Lucy Pincus and Sheepcote Fiesta 69.29%

3. Megan Ingham and Wanadoo 67.51%