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Amanda Vance

Amanda Roxborough recently spent some time with Equine Info Exchange to share her fascinating journey from jockey to trainer and now an Award Winning video and television producer!

EIE: Amanda, please tell us how your love of horses began? Did you come from a horse loving family or was it your own passion?
AR: I fell in love with horses, and apparently donkeys, at the age of two, on a family outing to Blackpool beach in England [where I was born]. The story goes, that once upon the donkey, I refused to get off and the magical equine connection began. My parents did not have any connection to horses and from that day forward were hounded by my request for a pony.

EIE: How did you become a jockey?
AR: I finally achieved my dream at 11 yrs of age, when after 9 years of begging and many riding lessons, I got a pony. My passion [and obsession] was in full throttle, spending all waking hours at the barn where we boarded my pony. Two years later my parents bought a small farm with a little barn on it for me to expand and I bought a young ¾ thoroughbred mare as my next horse. In hindsight, it was a crazy decision for a 13 yr old to get a green horse but it was a stamp of my fearless and determined attitude that carried me through my years in the horse business. After showing hunter and jumper in my teen years, I heard about a summer course at a college in Toronto, a jockey training program. After years of being told by coaches and the odd hunt master [loved hunting with my bold welsh cob} to slow down and that I should go to the race track, I knew my destiny was sealed. I worked for 7 years with a master Art Warner, who trained for Kinghaven and Sam Son Farms back in the day, he became my mentor. I rode my first race in 1984 at Woodbine racetrack in Toronto Canada.

Amanda at the Arabian President's Cup at Churchill Downs EIE: Which was your favorite horse you rode as a jockey and why?
AR: I was blessed to ride so many good horses in my years with Mr. Warner, he was training for the Kennedy’s at the time and the barn was full of graded stakes horses. A colt named Archregent captured my heart, even though he was terror and cheeky to handle. I think my favorite was a mare named Nonna Maria. We won 3 in a row at Woodbine. Another memorable mount was my first winner, a filly named Artistic License. As my life has unfolded I always smile at the irony of her name!

EIE: You trained horses as well, correct?
AR: I rode as a jockey for a short time and went on to become an assistant trainer. I worked with Charley Barley, a champion in Canada and then took out my license and began training a small string. My first win as a trainer was with a filly named Attraction Fatale; she won the Grade 2 Lady Angela stakes at Woodbine. I loved training horses. Life carried on and I found myself in New York, a mother of a new baby boy and galloping horses for top stables at Belmont Park. One of my favorites was Chief Seattle, a very talented two yr old and Friend’s Lake, winner of the Florida Derby, who ran in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.

EIE:: How did you get involved in your current business Kylar Productions, and creating amazing videos? Tell us how you selected the name "Kylar".
AR: I broke my neck in a morning training accident in Florida one March morning in 2004, and although I healed quickly and continued galloping the rest of that year, I knew I had had a great 26 years in the saddle and it was time to try something new. Not easy for most of us “racetrackers”, as our job is not a job, it is our passion and finding the next chapter is difficult for most. With many life changes happening at that time, I began writing. To my surprise, I found great solace in writing about the race track and the horses. As fate would have it, my old friend Mr. Steve Haskin called me to ask about a horse I had ridden and I explained I was no longer working at the track and trying to figure out what I was going to do next. After a wonderful conversation with a man I consider a master of his craft, I was to expect a call from someone he knew at TVG. My friend Steve had a feeling I might just find my new passion… The call went well, and I was on a plane to Louisville to work for TVG at the Kentucky Derby. After 1 day of being surrounded by creative talented people who loved racing and horses from the “other side”, I was hooked. I continued to freelance for TV networks, and started doing production work locally in Florida. Kylar Productions is my production media company I started in 2006, named after my son Kyle and my initials AR and it is the result of a lot of hard work and passion, two things I brought with me from my life on the racetrack. We specialize in TV productions, Web videos, event coverage and Equine Productions, from mainstream business to sports related industries.

Amanda Winning the 2014 Darley Award in Hollywood

EIE: Do you specialize in any type of equine videos?
AR: Equine Production is one of my main passions. With over two decades in the Thoroughbred racing industry, I have the ability to use my expertise in the equine industry and create dynamic and truly organic productions. I have produced short documentaries that have been instrumental in creating positive changes in the thoroughbred industry and it is my passion to continue to do more.

EIE: What are some special moments when shooting videos or something which moved you emotionally)
AR: I am proud to do work for several non profits for children and animals. I am a very valued based person and giving and making a positive impact makes me very happy. I have produced several tribute videos for the Belmont Child Care Ass over the years and giving back to the racing community is very important. I have interviewed Bill Parcells and Mike Singletary, two football greats and I loved that… EIE: What are the greatest challenges? AR: I produced and hosted a weekly TV show on CSS in the Southeast market, called EquiStarsTV. I put it together and on air, learning as I was going. It was propelled by more guts and hard work than sponsorship, but I learned so much and realized I could make it happen!

EIE: Tell us about your awards and the times when your amazing work was recognized!
AR: I began covering Arabian Racing in 2010 when I was contacted by a friend from Abu Dhabi, who I reconnected with in Dubai [I worked for Sheik Hamden stable in Dubai for 3 years}. The President’s Cup is a worldwide racing series for Arabian horses and they were coming to the US and I was contracted to cover the race and produce content for their TV and media outlets. In 2013 the Arabians had their first Gr 1 Breeders Cup race. The coverage from those events lead to my nomination for a Darley Award in 2014 - the equivalent to an Eclipse Award in thoroughbred world (photo at left). The magical event was held in Hollywood, California and I won for best TV Presenter. I was lucky to have been nominated again this year for the 2015 Darley. It is important to me to do a good job and my work is a reflection of my heart and passion for life.

EIE: Where can we see your work?
AR: My website and my YouTube channel Kylar Productions.

EIE: Tell us about your next project.
AR: I am busy producing work for main stream businesses as well equine projects. I am working on a documentary that I hope to submit to the Equine Festival in NY in the fall. I also do PR media training and coaching for clients. I am always open to creating!

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