Hello fair readers, I’m Amanda Lee, or just Amanda, and I’ll be (one of) your host(s) on this journey through ammy-land! I’m a triplet, my favourite colour is orange, and despite appearances, I am not actually a ginger (it’s henna). But you probably don’t care about any of that. Onto the horsey stuff!
My equestrian journey started literally before I can remember. No one knows where I got the horse-crazy gene from – no one in my family had ever done anything with horses – but ‘pony’ was one of my first words (third word, actually – the first was ‘spaghetti’, believe it or not), and my earliest memory is of watching stadium jumping live at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. I remember crying, because it was loud, my hands were sticky with melted popsicle, it was a hundred degrees in the shade, and I had begged to go see the ponies – but I hadn’t realised that I wouldn’t be able to pet them. I was three years old.
It wasn’t long before I started asking for riding lessons – and at the age of four, I almost got them, but the instructor actually told my parents no, because I was too small and too fearless! I came back a year later and the rest, as they say, was history.
For almost fifteen years I would take regular lessons, most of that time with the same trainer who had turned me down initially. She practically raised me, and though I no longer ride with her, I am grateful every day for the opportunities she gave me. In my teens I was able to show in the occasional local hunter shows, on half-leased horses or on my trainer’s horse. Her influence has shaped me immensely as a rider and as a person.
I took a year off after high school and spent a summer working at a high-end hunter/jumper sales barn, where I gained experience handling performance hunters and grand prix horses and learned an incredible amount about grooming and barn management. I’ve always been a do-it-yourself kind of horseperson, but it was here that I really discovered my love of grooming and the day in, day out of horse care.
Eventually I did go on to college at Hollins University, which is a school I had chosen for its incredible riding program. My riding improved leaps and bounds in the months I was there, and although college and I ultimately did not get along, my time there really changed me as a rider.
It’s been two years since I left school and I’m now working a variety of part-time and on-call jobs trying to make ends meet (I am not interested in getting my degree). After college, I no longer had any opportunities to ride, especially when it came to the money question. Over the summer of 2014, having maintained a much more steady income, I decided to start pursuing riding again (unfortunately not with my longtime trainer, who no longer had horses appropriate for me), and after about six months of ‘trainer shopping’, I landed with Kelsey’s new trainer, M. I’ve been riding with her for less than a month and I’m really pleased with what I’ve been able to accomplish just in that time. Here’s to a future filled with as many horses as I can handle!