Eighteen year-old Canadian FEI dressage rider Amy Rogers has been described as an Über Talent “wonder kid” by her trainer Shelley Lawder. Amy accepted a winter time position working for Natalie Hinnemann in California before returning to Canada. In 2021, Amy became overall BC Young Rider champion at the Prix St Georges/Int 1 Level. Watch out for this rising dressage star! Read on to learn more about Amy, her ambitions and top tips for success.
Tell us about you and your horses
My name is Amy Rogers, and I am an eighteen-year-old Canadian FEI dressage rider and I have competed up to the FEI small tour level. Currently, my equine partner, “RMF Schock & Awe”, affectionately known as “Clifford” or “Cliffy” in the barn; is a 5-year-old Oldenburg (Sir Gregory x Totilas). Clifford has been with me his whole life; I was twelve when I assumed ownership of Cliffy. We’ve had our ups and downs, but this past year, our partnership has really clicked. Despite his cheeky side, Clifford’s personality shines through, and we’ve finally found a rhythm.
Prior to Clifford, I had the privilege of riding other horses who have had lasting imprints on my career. “Lotus” and “Schoki”, just to name a few, both played a significant role in my development. Those partnerships led to numerous lessons, learning opportunities, championships, and personal records, making our times together unforgettable.
How did horses come into your life?
Horses have been a constant in my life from day one, they have always been a thing in my family; a tradition that goes way back. It all started when my grandma, known as “Grannie Annie” gifted me riding lessons for Christmas. That sparked my passion for horses and dressage, the rest is history!
When and where do you ride?
I ride 5-6 days a week at Brianna Frewin’s farm. When it comes to lessons and training, I head out to Shelley Lawder’s farm. In the past I have had the privilege of training and competing in California and hope to return some day.
How did you start riding?
Riding has always been a family affair; my passion was really sparked when my Grannie Annie gifted me riding lessons for Christmas.
What you and your horses currently working on?
Basics, basics, basics. For me, basics are the most important. This means every ride consists of many, many transitions, within the gait and between the gaits; as well as prioritizing geometrical accuracy to ensure the correctness and accuracy of my aids and ability to position my horse.
Clifford has a super talent and balance in the canter work, especially for such a young horse. He has gotten a clean change in both directions which makes me super proud considering I have done most of the work with him since day one. Now, we work on strengthening his weaker gait, the trot; with lots of trot poles, hill work and conditioning.
What do you love about riding?
What I love most about riding, particularly in dressage, is the sense of harmony and connection that you create with the horses. Dressage is a silent conversation between horse and rider. It’s not simply about guiding the horse through a series of maneuvers; it’s about understanding their body language and creating a harmonious bond. The bond that develops through dressage is a testament to the trust and respect created between horse and rider.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
My aspiration is to bring Clifford up to the Grand Prix level, envisioning a future where he becomes my personal Grand Prix horse. Recognising the unpredictability in the equestrian world, I approach this endeavor with a steadfast commitment to nurturing his health, mental and physical. Simultaneously, I am driven to pursue academic excellence, aiming to complete my Bachelor’s degree as a stepping stone toward attending law school by the age of 23.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
Absolutely, for the first-time last year I experienced severe anxiety surrounding riding a particular horse. Every time I swung my leg over my mind went to the worst possible scenarios, and the risks filled my head, all of which I have been aware of my entire riding career but at that time it felt like those negative “freak accident” thoughts controlled my riding.
How do you deal with them?
Overcoming this anxiety was not an overnight process; it required giving myself the time and space to rebuild my confidence. I implemented a gradual approach, taking it slow and starting with activities that felt comfortable before progressively challenging myself. Setting realistic goals and celebrating small achievements became crucial building blocks in regaining my confidence.
Do you have any rituals before competing?
Lots of visualisation. The night, and moments, before a test I will think through every single step. How I want it to feel and, how I want to ride it; over and over until every motion is ingrained in my mind.
Your Top Tip
Never stop learning and, stay humble. The moment you think you know it all is the moment your growth ends. This philosophy emphasises a continuous, open-minded approach to the dressage journey. Every experience, whether positive or challenging, offers an opportunity to gain insights and grow. Combined with humility, you are ensured an ongoing journey of self-improvement.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?
“Remember. It doesn’t matter whose eyes are on you. Block them all out. It’s all only about you and your horse. Focus. Focus. Focus” – Shelley Lawder
Down the Centre Line
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Cathrine Dufour’s Cassidy
Who is your equestrian hero?
If you could have 5 people to dinner, who would they be?
Carl Hester, Cathrine Dufour, Ingrid Kilmke, Kyra Kyrklund and Patrik Kittel
Favourite colour horse?
Favourite horse event?
I have never attended in real life, but the WEG looks like a spectacular event to audit and is one of my favourites to watch on screen.
Favourite way to relax?
I love to hack in the forest
If you enjoyed meeting Amy you might like to view more dressage rider “chatting with” interviews here . You can keep up with Amy’s progress and check out her instagram page here