Amanda Starbuck is no stranger to hard work. She started riding when she was just two years old and trained for and competed in her first show when she was five. While most five-year-olds struggle to get up and get themselves dressed on time for school in the morning, Amanda not only got up and got dressed but would tend to her horses and train. This early dedication to her training didn’t flag as she aged. Ms. Starbuck went on to use the skills and discipline she gained as a youngster to compete on a national level in equestrian events, and the state level in skiing. Additionally, Amanda lead charitable organizations and managed her own equine facility and school.
When asked to list her favorite things, Amanda predictably lists riding first. It was her first joy and something that’s been a part of her life so long it’s become second nature. She has accomplished a lot on horseback, including a win at the North American Young Riders Championships, National Hunter Championship, and Intercollegiate National Championship. Furthermore, she is the winner of the National Professional Horseman’s Association from 1993 to 1995, an impressive feat as it is one of the nation’s most prestigious awards. In 1997, she won the New England Horseman’s Adult Medal Finals. With these victories alongside a number of others, she was considered a top ranked amateur for ten years before turning professional in 2007. Amanda was also named the KWPN North American Horse of the Year for three years. Competitions have always been exciting for her, but it is the training that really drives her. “I love working with young horses, I’m the first on their back and I love bringing them from that point up to the grand prix level. I just love it,” Amanda says passionately.
Over the years, Amanda developed her own training techniques and admits that much of her success can be attributed to the way she trains her horses. Her dedication and the care she gives to each horse is unique, exemplifying her love for the sport and its competitors. She describes it saying, “I spend a lot of time on them and try to get them to enjoy human interaction and people. It’s one of those sports that people rush into and they don’t let the horses enjoy their life. I spend time with them so they learn to like their job. I spend time making them comfortable. I bring them along slowly.” The horses feel the love and passion Amanda has for them and return it ten-fold. This has lead to wonderful moments for both horse and rider during competitions.
Amanda Starbuck’s passion for teaching extends from the horses to the riders. She dedicates much of her time now to training young men and women at the equestrian center she and her sister co-own, Starbuck Equestrian. She teaches her young students to ride and does it with the same care and thoughtfulness learned after years spent training. She coaches kids every afternoon and loves it. “I really enjoy the coaching of the kids,” Amanda says, “I bring the kids from picking up trot all the way up to the national level.”
Amanda Starbuck spends much of her time at Starbuck Equestrian, but it doesn’t define her. She will always be a trainer and rider, but Amanda is much more than that. She is also interested in skiing, playing tennis, helping others, protecting the environment and saving endangered species. Currently, she leads the board of the Central Park Zoo and is an active member and supporter of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Fresh Air Fund, the Boys Club of New York and several other charities.
Amanda Starbuck has accomplished much in her life but she is not showing any signs of slowing down. Keep checking in to see updates and find out more about this incredible woman.