Hickstead native, top ranked show jumper and the winner of Britain’s Leading Lady Riding Award: Amanda Derbyshire is an incredibly accomplished competitor and top trainer. We caught up with the busy professional to talk about setting goals and taking bodysuit fashion from competition to cocktails!
Amanda Derbyshire competing in the Hampton Classic Grand Prix, 2019 wearing her Elite Equestrian Bodysuit
How did horses and the sport become your life’s work?
I got into horses through my mum Julie, she rode as a hobby, and used to bring me along to the barn at a young age. The first time I rode was on her horse, not a pony, and I was instantly addicted. I think I was 6 years old when I got my first pony, Sparkle, for my birthday and I guess you could say we learned together. I think my parents thought the project of having a young, inexperienced pony would either make me or break me. I remember every time I fell off it just made me want it more, so at a very young age, I developed a passion for this sport.
What are some essential factors when it comes to your riding clothes?
I think the most important aspect when it comes to what riding apparel I choose is definitely comfort! Of course we all like to be stylish and look the part, however I think since I spend 90% of the day wearing riding clothes, more than anything I want to be comfortable in what I'm wearing.
How did you feel riding and competing in a bodysuit?
I have worn bodysuits for nights out and thought why not give it a go while riding! The bodysuit is definitely comfortable and keeps your shirt nicely tucked in all day long.
How has training enriched your equestrian career?
My favorite thing about training is definitely being outdoors all day long with the horses. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love as a job. The last 2 years have been so rewarding, becoming the leading lady rider in Britain and making the top 50 in the world are accomplishments you can only dream about as a young professional. The sport takes a lot of hard work but I've also been so lucky with all the support and backing I have received to pursue my career.
Amanda Derbyshire, Di Lampard, Ben Maher, Holly Smith and Scott Brash representing Great Britain during the 2019 Longines FEI European Championships
Is there advice you could give young women who are up and coming in the sport?
As far as advice goes to all the young women in the riding world trying to become a top rider, there are a few things I would focus on. Hard work is probably the number one ingredient but you also have to dream big. As a young girl from Hickstead, I always remember thinking how special it would be to ride for your country. Fast forward 12 years, I achieved that goal during the FEI European Championship in Rotterdam. It is something I will never forget and I will always be proud of. There are so many ups and downs in this sport, one minute your winning and the next you can't seem to jump a clear round. Unfortunately with horses there are no guarantees, but it’s important to never give up and always keep going and looking for new ways to achieve your goals.