My favourite Sussex: Dressage rider Amy Stovold

Dressage rider Amy Stovold. Photo: Frog and Field Photography

Dressage rider Amy Stovold. Photo: Frog and Field Photography - Credit: Frog and Field Photography

The international dressage rider talks favourite restaurants, her dream Sussex night out, and where she’d have a second home if money was no object

Dressage rider Amy Stovold. Photo: Frog and Field Photography

Dressage rider Amy Stovold. Photo: Frog and Field Photography - Credit: Frog and Field Photography

Home is...

I’m based just outside Horsham. I’ve been in this area for about 20 years. I was born in Coulsdon, Surrey. I was a groom for dressage rider Dorte Semler in Rudgwick and that’s what brought me here. When I moved to Balcombe I felt even more at home. I love West Sussex. It’s so nice to be able to go to London, Gatwick Airport and the sea really easily; I feel at the centre of it all.

Where do you go to unwind?

I love Horsham. Before Covid, Simon and I used to eat out quite a lot either in Horsham or Brighton. I love everything about Brighton: the buzz, and it feels free – everything goes. It’s cosmopolitan and vibrant, which is everything I want. Before all this, we were working our way through all the vegetarian restaurants – not that we’re vegetarian ourselves, but there’s just so much choice there – and we loved Food for Friends, that was one of our favourites. We had a long list of places to try, but that’s on hold for now.

Favourite Sussex walk?

Because I’m so active in my working life I don’t tend to walk that much. Simon, my husband, loves to walk at Devil’s Dyke but I get so much exercise I’m not really a walker. And because my horses are competition animals I don’t tend to go on two-hour hacks across the Downs – they’re a bit highly strung. I feel I spend enough time in nature!

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Favourite place to relax with the family

I like being at home, but it’s great to go away with the family, preferably somewhere hot with a Sangria! I really love Ibiza and I’ve been there on my own and with the family. South Africa is also a massive part of my life and very close to my heart. The wildlife, the people, the food, the lifestyle: it has everything. I taught there for a time and we were out there in January before everything kicked off. I’m hoping to go camping in Sussex soon.

READ MORE: Musician Joe Stilgoe on his Sussex Life and where he likes to spend his time

Favourite Sussex night out?

I’ve got a lot of friends who are DJs so I like to go to day parties up in London – festival-type things. I maybe do two of those a year. To be honest, I can’t stay out all night any more, having a little one – a day party is perfect, then I can be in bed by 11. We also love to go to the Gold Cup Polo at Cowdray - we try to do that every year, host a marquee and invite everyone we haven’t seen for ages. Sadly we didn’t get to do that this year, but that’s one of our favourite things to do.

Best place to eat/drink?

There was a place in Horsham called Wabi that we used to really love, but it’s not open any more. South Lodge is really lovely for a bit more of an experience. We were just starting to go out a bit more after having the baby when Covid struck. There’s an amazing restaurant called Tristan in Horsham which is beautiful – a special treat. We’re also hoping to try Restaurant Interlude at Leonardslee at some point.

If you could move anywhere in Sussex, where would it be?

I’d live in Brighton if I could, but it would be a little bit tricky with the horses! If I could afford to have a second home, that would be the place.

Your Sussex life in three words?

Busy, outdoors, happy.

Find out more about Amy and her competitive career or book a dressage lesson with her via her website or Facebook page

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