Herd Member | Amanda Chico

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to be part of the Herd! My name is Amanda. I am 26 and I’m from Southern California. I have been riding for 7 years and have been around horses for 10 years! I got introduced to horses when I was a junior in high school. I had to do community service for a class I was taking and stumbled across the barn that I currently ride at. They offer riding lessons to children and adults with and without special needs. After high school I wanted to go into teaching, especially special needs, so I thought this was the perfect fit. I was terrified of horses! I did not know much about them but, volunteering each week I learned something new and started to become comfortable working around them. For my 18th birthday my sister gifted me with a month of riding lessons. I struggled with anxiety most of my adolescent years and riding gave me the space to be free of it.

Entering college, I needed a calming activity to do after working part time and being a full-time student. So, my riding journey began in January 2015! It was definitely not an easy start and my body reminded me it was not used to this kind of workout. After every ride I just wanted to give up and I felt like this sport wasn't meant for me. I didn’t look like the other girls that were riding. I felt I was too old to be doing a sport that many have been doing since they were young kids. I didn’t have the money for the fancy riding breeches, boots, or shirts the other girls were wearing. With the love and support of my family I kept pushing myself through every lesson. Riding in jeans, baggy t-shirts, $20 boots from Walmart, and borrowing helmets from the barn. I remember how excited I was when I purchased my very own helmet and breeches. I had worked so hard to get something that I could call mine. 

After a year of riding, I wanted to challenge myself to ride the new horses at my barn. That is when I found him or better yet, he found me. His name is Roy and at the time he was 8 years old. After he stepped off the trailer, I told my trainer “I want to ride him! I want to go far with him!!” I started taking lessons on Roy and man oh man was he challenging! At the time I had been taking lessons once a week, summers off. Needless to say, riding an 8 y/o Holsteiner was challenging. I wanted to ride the horses that everyone at my barn was scared of and that were too fast to handle. I wanted to prove to all the people that said I wasn't good enough to ride him, that I didn’t have the right skills to ride him, and that I was too old to learn how to ride that I could do this. Throughout the 6 years of riding Roy, I have learned how to canter, then ride over ground poles, from there I progressed to small jumps- cross rails and verticals, and even learned to walk-trot-canter bareback with and without poles and jumps. I began showing offsite and onsite. Offsite I have shown two different horses, one horse that belongs to my trainer and one that belongs to the organization that I started this journey on. I ride Roy for all on site shows. I have placed in 4th, 2nd, and 1st.

Fast forward to present day. I am in my 6th year of leasing Roy. We are jumping about 3 feet. Roy has taught me so much about myself. He has taught me to face fear and look at it right in the eyes, to do things for you and no one else. It shouldn't matter how much time you have been in the saddle, ride in fancy clothes, or have the money to purchase your own horse. It’s about having fun, being safe, and doing it for YOU! These are my stripes and I embrace every single one of them! I want to share with fellow equestrians to support one another! We are in this sport together to support one another. If you have the extra time, be sure to offer to help set up the arena and give a friend extra courage when they are feeling down. Remember to not stress over the small things. Enjoy every moment in and out of the saddle! 

Outside of riding I am an after-school daycare teacher for children and adults with special needs. My workplace is located on the property that I ride at which is pretty cool! If I am not at the barn, I’m either at home enjoying a football game or at the beach. I love getting cuddled in my Pittsburgh Steelers blanket rooting on the Steelers with endless amounts of snacks! I am a big food person and love all the snacks and appetizers. I also enjoy beach walks with my family breathing in the salty air and collecting sand dollars.
You can follow my journey on Instagram @amandachico.equine