This week I’m chatting with the extremely talented dressage rider, Amanda Perkowski. Amanda rides for Helgstrand Dressage in the USA. Read on to discover more about Amanda, her horses, ambitions, and top tips for success.
Tell us a little about you and your horses
My name is Amanda Perkowski, I’m twenty three years old and I work as a rider at Helgstrand Dressage USA. Currently, I own one 4 year old gelding and train/compete a 7 year old mare. Outside of these two, I’m typically ride between ten to twelve horses per day.
How did horses come into your life?
I was introduced to horses and specifically dressage at a young age through a family member. I started taking formal lessons at the age of seven and began my first working student position not long after that.
How long have you been riding?
When and where do you ride?
I start my day at 6:45am in the stable, and I am typically on my first horse by 7:30. I am in the saddle most of the day, and our farm is based in Wellington, Florida.
What are you and your horses currently working on?
With my young horse Nuevo we are working on preparing for the FEI Four Year old Tests in the spring, and with the 7 year old mare Sonata MF we are competing in the FEI 7 Year old tests. The rest of the horses I ride are for sale through the company I ride for, so I am working to keep them fit, ready for clients, and progressing in their training.
What do you love about riding?
I love how there is always something you can improve on, a next step in a horses education, and new goals to work towards. It never gets boring. I also really cherish the partnership you can develop with the horses. When they work with you it’s a feeling like no other- it’s what gets us addicted!
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
For the foreseeable future I would like to keep working for Helgstrand dressage and gain as much of an education from my time there as possible. I would like to continue to develop horses and compete internationally, and someday ride on a U.S. Team.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
I have never been someone that had a lot of issues feeling “nervous” per say, but I have had to learn to cope with riding under a lot of pressure. My company places a very high standard on the work we do with the horses and has high expectations from their riders, which is something I really value about being there, but have had to learn to manage within myself. Competing horses for owners, sponsors and clients also adds an element of pressure, and learning to let go of the concern for what others will think and focusing fully on your ride is also a process I think for all riders.
How do you deal with them?
The biggest thing I learned is when I’ve made mistakes or had a bad ride, is to learn what I can from the experience and let the ego damaging piece of it go. Beating yourself up over what is already done only puts you in a worse state of mind for the next horse. All you can do is assess what you can do better, put your all into improving, and forgive yourself for the growing pains. Thinking this way has helped me a lot.
Your Top Tip
Take your time! It’s not a race, focus on the flow of the test and use your short sides and corners to rebalance and set up before the next movement.
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
The Helgstrand stallion Jovian, or Charlotte Dujardin’s Valegro
Who is your equestrian hero?
I have so many! Allison Brock and Ulf Möller have shaped me as a rider and a person throughout my career and I will always look up to them. Ingrid Klimke and Charlotte Dujardin are two riders who I really idolize and have the utmost respect for the horses they have produced. We are lucky in our sport to have many role models.
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
Tough one because I eat everything, but probably oysters or popcorn
Favourite way to relax?
Spend time with people I care about
The Art Of Racing In The Rain
If you enjoyed meeting Amanda you might like to view more dressage rider chatting with interviews here You can keep up with Amanda’s progress and check out her instagram page here