Amanda Shirtcliffe

Rider Profile

Amanda Shirtcliffe
Competition Grade:

I had my first riding lesson at six years old and from the moment I climbed aboard that fluffy white steed, I was smitten. I've riden regularly from that day on, saving up all my shiny gold coins until I could afford to purchase a four-legged friend of my very own. 

My competitive career kicked off in the showring, but my heart always belonged to galloping flat-out across country and soaring over natural fences. Over the years, I’ve had a few near misses – a nasty rotational fall caused significant damage to my spine, resulting in months of rehabilitation – but this never deterred me, and I was back hurtling over ditches and hedges the minute I was able.

In 2012, I was diagnosed with Dystonia, an incurable neurological movement disorder. My legs, arms, and neck are affected, and so is my balance, co-ordination and motor skills. As the disease progresses, my body is a lot less obliging than it used to be, so getting back in the saddle and regaining my balance is something I’ve had to work hard at.

Most people in my position would be content with just being able to ride, but for me it’s not enough – I missed the electrifying buzz and nervous energy of a competition arena. Inspired by the London 2012 Paralympics, I set my sights on competing in para dressage and representing my country on the world stage. I competed in my first para dressage competition in January 2013 and I haven't looked back since!