Originally from Melbourne, Australia Amanda's family moved to the UK when she was young. Once in England Amanda was quickly bitten by the riding bug when she discovered that the local farmer had a pony she could learn to ride on. Her enthusiasm grew and eventually her parents bought her a pony of her own, she joined the local pony club and was a keen child jockey competing in horse trials and working hunter classes.
After one year of A-levels Amanda decided that this was not for her and decided to make her love of horses into a career, so she turned her attention to training for her BHS exams. This early professional training has always stood Amanda in good stead and she quickly progressed through the BHS instructors qualifications gaining her BHSII, SM. In the early 1980's Amanda moved back to Australia with her family and with her new qualifications under her belt and premises to work from Amanda started a livery yard and began training in earnest to become an event rider.
In order to make her business work and capitalise on Australia's smaller equestrian community Amanda turned her hand to all aspects of equestrianism: re-schooling ex-racehorses, producing yearlings for the sales, showing, eventing, show jumping, and dressage - you name it she's done it! As the eventing scene in Australia then was much smaller than the UK Amanda regularly had to compete her eventers against single discipline riders in pure show jumping and dressage competitions to keep them ticking over throughout the season.
Once she started eventing in Australia Amanda gained great results at Gawler, Melbourne and Lochinvar international 3 day events which resulted in her being selected for the Victoria State Team. She returned to Melbourne with the team and her performance helped them to gain a team 1st, and secured her an individual 2nd place. Due to these impressive performances Amanda was then invited to ride at New Zealand's premier 3 day event and represent her country. This was a great honour which brought with it a tricky decision and after some deliberation and discussion with the Australian team selectors Amanda decided instead to return back to the UK to try and achieve her dream of competing at Badminton and Burghley.
Sadly her dreams were never realised as she suffered a serious ankle injury as the result of a fall and for a while it was touch and go whether she would even be able to walk again. Further heartbreak was to follow after her rehabilitation as she realised that her top ride, Thomas, wasn’t feeling himself. Despite passing a full medical investigation before flying to the UK she was worried about him so sent him for further tests and was totally shocked at what the vets discovered. Thomas had extensive arthritis throughout his body and sadly the prognosis was terminal. The cold weather in England had brought his previously undetected condition to light and Amanda was devastated.
Amanda then trained her remaining horse Bakala Beaver with Captain Mark Phillips for several years and he very successfully completed three 2* 3 day events before he began having issues at drop fences. Mindful of her previous heartache with Thomas, Amanda immediately sought veterinary advice for this uncharacteristic behaviour. The diagnosis for Beaver was also not good news which meant the end to his jumping career.
Despite her terrible run of bad luck Amanda was still trying to think positively so when Captain Mark Phillips suggested she began having dressage lessons with his wife Sandy she took him up on the offer. Beaver was a typical thoroughbred eventer who found the dressage phase very exciting but under the instruction of Sandy Phillips and focusing solely on the one discipline Amanda soon found herself and Beaver progressing quickly up the dressage ladder to Prix St George level.
During this time Sandy frequently made training trips to Germany and invited Amanda to join her on one trip and they spent a month at Conrad Schumacher’s stables near Frankfurt. This marked a dramatic turning point in Amanda’s career as she discovered a real passion for dressage and switched her attention to becoming a dressage rider and learning as much as she could about the sport. Fired up by her new found enthusiasm for dressage Amanda returned to Conrad’s just 6 months later with the latest addition to her team, Dreamtime - a young irish horse. Whilst learning her craft from Conrad Amanda also enjoyed the opportunity to train with Ellen Bontje, a regular team member for Holland and an Olympic Silver medallist.
Amanda made several trips to Germany with Beaver and Dreamtime, competing Beaver to Prix St George and Intermediare level until sadly losing him to colic. During her trips she also had the opportunity to receive training from Ellen and Conrad on 2 of his Grand Prix schoolmasters
Amanda continued with Dreamtime competing him to Prix St George level and working towards Grand Prix level and later on she was also introduced to Nichole Uphoff, winner of individual and team gold medals at European, World, and Olympic Championships. Nicole’s head girl had arranged to take two months off work and Nicole asked Amanda to go to Germany to fill her head girl's shoes, offering the chance for Amanda to take her young horse with her. Amanda had a brilliant time working and training with Nicole every day. This wonderful opportunity Amanda received from Nicole has in turn helped many of her own pupils especially the thoroughbred eventers in their dressage phase by focusing on working them softly, swinging, forwards, round, loose and supple.
Sadly Deamtime had to be retired due to unsoundness but Amanda continued to train with Conrad on clients' horses which included a throughbred, full spanish horse and a dutch horse.
Since that first inspirational trip with Sandy, Amanda has made repeated training visits back to Germany, once going for a month but ending up staying for 7! She continues to make regular training trips back to Germany as well as being a regular pupil of former Team GB dressage coach Conrad Schumacher.
Amanda's commitment to education and continual desire to improve as a rider and instructor give her a fresh and positive attitude which is infectious. Her pupils' results really do speak for themselves.
She has her sights firmly set on the future with plans to expand her client base and teaching opportunities even further as well as produce her promising young horse Royal Rhapsody (Rudi) to Grand Prix level.