LEESBURG, Va., — For veterinary nurse Amanda Compton, 2013 was a year to remember. Not only did she receive numerous academic and career accolades, but she also achieved national success in the sport of competitive carriage driving. An employee of the college’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Compton holds an associate’s degree from Potomac State College of West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree in animal veterinary sciences from West Virginia University. She graduated from Northern Virginia Community College in veterinary technology and became a licensed veterinary technician in May 2013. In addition she was awarded Veterinary Technician Student of the Year by the Virginia Association of Licensed Veterinary Technicians.
The accolades didn’t stop there. Compton received the Potomac State College Young Alumni Award and was named Member of the Year of the American Association of Equine Veterinary Technicians in December 2013.
The Washington, D.C. native, who lived most of her life in West Virginia, is also a registered equine dental technician with the Board of Veterinary Medicine and the first person in Virginia to hold both veterinary technician and equine dental technician credentials.
To say that Compton is a horse lover is definitely an understatement. She admits that she lives and breathes horses. When not working part-time at the equine medical center as an animal care technician, she operates her own equine dental business, and works with veterinarians throughout Northern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley and other regions in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. Learn more at her website and Facebook page.
Any spare time Compton has left is heavily devoted to training, caring for, and competing with her own horses. She got her start in carriage driving shortly after graduation from West Virginia University. She had the opportunity to work as a resident groom at a large farm in Upperville, Va. which breeds and trains Shire horses for driving.
While there, she worked with renowned carriage driving expert Paul Maye, an Englishman, coachman and trainer. During her five years under Maye’s guidance, she learned that carriage driving required immense preparation, skill, and attention to detail. Preparation for an event takes many hours; horse, carriage, and driver are expected to be spotless and attention to detail is imperative.
Today, Compton owns a small horse farm in Frederick County, Va. and in her spare time competes with her homebred Arabian horses in carriage pleasure and combined driving events. In June 2013, her dapple grey Louie Louie AA, trained exclusively by Compton, won the Carriage Driving Grand Prix at the esteemed Upperville Horse Show, the oldest horse show in the United States. The win carried with it a $5,000 prize.
Plans to compete with Louie at the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in September 2013 were derailed when a stifle injury sidelined him for the rest of the year. Not missing a beat, Compton competed with Louie’s full brother, Finale AA, and brought home one National Championship, one Reserve National Championship, and four other top 10 placings.
Equally impressive is the fact that Compton also received the first Sport Horse National Championship Sportsmanship Award in Carriage Driving. Her competitors at the national show voted for who they felt best demonstrated and exemplified the ideals of sportsmanship on a consistent basis—an accolade that speaks volumes about the horsewoman who is seen as a gracious winner and loser, encourager of fellow competitors, and someone who consistently puts her animals first.
She also gives back to the community by donating her time to horse-related youth causes. One voter noted, “Amanda does an excellent job promoting the Arabian breed. She not only shows her horses in open driving competitions, but has done numerous demonstrations for 4-H and Pony Club members to promote the versatility of the Arabian horse.” Another competitor noted, “Amanda has helped with judging team practices focused on the history of driving, rules of the sport, and the ideal driving horse. She is a great representative of the Arabian breed, their versatile nature, and the association as a whole.”
Compton was recently featured in a first-person article in The Arabian Sport Horse magazine (see page 20). In the article, she explains the path she took to become a top carriage driver thanks to some wonderful mentors and her careful breeding and training of horses. She is looking forward to continued success in 2014 which, maybe not coincidently, is also the Chinese Year of the Horse.
Written by Sherrie Whaley and Sharon Peart for VA-MD Regional College