American Grand Prix rider Amanda Johnson has lost her battle against cancer on 2 December 2018. She was 37 years old.
The Wisconsin based Johnson was a well known dressage trainer in the U.S.A. and competed two horses internationally at Grand Prix level in the last decade: Pip (by Pik Solo) and Pluto VI Andorella (by Pluto VI Almerina IV).
She began her international dressage career as a young rider competing at the 1999 North American Young Riders Championships on the Westfalian gelding Glissade (by Guarantor x Puritano). She was member of the Region 4 team which at the time included Johnson alongside Canadian Olympian David Marcus, Natalie Hamilton-Hinnemann and Jonni Adams.
Johnson worked as a working student at Temple Farms under George Williams before establishing her own dressage business in 2002.
Johnson fought bravely against triple negative breast cancer for three and a half years. One year ago in October 2017, Amanda's breast cancer returned after 17 months of remission. It had spread to her brain in a incurable form.
"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."
As an example of this mindset, while undergoing aggressive chemo this spring and summer, Johnson took a family trip to Europe, and Amanada 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.
Photo © Astrid Appels
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