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16 June 2019

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Amanda Johnson

All Images © John Borys

American Dressage Grand Prix rider and trainer Amanda Johnson lost her battle with triple negative breast cancer, on December 2, 2018. Mandy was 37 years old. 

Amanda was born in Iowa, was a member of the Region 4 1999 NAYRC team, with her gelding Glissade (Guarantor - Puritano), the first of many horses Mandy trained to Grand Prix. Amanda became a working student for Temple Farms in Wadsworth IL, training under George Williams. She continued to work with Williams after his move to Gypsy Woods Farm. Amanda established her own dressage training business in Region 2, in 2002. Amanda was a well known and well-loved trainer in the Chicago area.

 In 2017 Mandy and her mount Foley provided a demo ride at the World Cup Finals in Omaha NE.

"Mandy was a reserved person and not one to call attention to her challenges or her accomplishments. However, she has given me permission to share this part of her story. Mandy had been fighting a three and half year battle with breast cancer. We found out on October 13, 2017 that Mandy’s breast cancer had returned after about 17 months of remission, and that it had spread to her brain in a form that was incurable with an incredibly poor prognosis. Mandy fought against her breast cancer diagnosis for 3-1/2 years.

Mandy approached her initial breast cancer diagnosis and the news of the recurrence with a courage that was truly inspirational," her husband James Borchardt wrote. "She resolved to fight back against her renegade cells with a steady determination while focusing on the positive of each day. She did not dwell on the unfair hand she was dealt and instead squeezed the maximum share of love, beauty, fun and professional achievement out of each day she was given. As in all other areas of her life, she was goal-focused during her treatment and helped me do the same." - James Borchardt, Amanda's husband.

Johnson took a family trip to Europe in spring 2018, and Amanda continued training, riding, and competing her dressage horses. This culminated in her achieving the highest score she had ever received in a musical freestyle on URock. They qualified for the 2018 regional championships and were awarded the 11th place USDF Year End Award for 4th level musical freestyle.

The family has established the Amanda Johnson Dressage Memorial Fund, a dressage related sponsorship/scholarship in her memory to continue to support Mandy’s love for dressage. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to this memorial fund.  

A celebration of life ceremony is scheduled for next spring.