Article by AndalusianWorld, Photos by Kevin Kidder
On February 1, 2017 the Southern California horse community lost a great horsewoman and role model, Amber Lentz, following a prolonged battle with ovarian cancer. Amber was 39 at her passing at City of Hope, in Duarte, CA.
As a co-founder and primary driving force behind the Andalusian World Cup, she leaves behind an uncommonly weighty legacy by all standards. However, factoring in her age and the struggles she faced throughout her life, Amber’s accomplishments are all the more remarkable. Even more remarkable, perhaps, was the mercurial way in which Amber was able to navigate every social class and circle, forming Columbia, Canada, Amber piled everything she owned into her car, and moved to Southern California to become more involved withAndalusian horses as an adult, and went on to win many championship titles in the Andalusian circuit. A gifted dressage rider and halter hander, Amber’s eye for quality horses and meticulous presentation and turnout became a well-earned reputation.
Amber was adamant about doing right by horses as sentient individuals, rejecting the “horses are livestock” mode of thinking adopted by so many in the horse industry at large. She believed in putting in the time and enrichment an individual horse needed to bring out its very best, and in many respects, applied the same philosophy to her friendships; bringing out the best in everyone, and finding and polishing diamonds in the rough wherever she went. With the progression of cancer came a limit to the “hands on” interaction with horses. Amber filled her time volunteering at local animal shelters where she soon recognized a need: placement for feral cats. With help from friends, the “cattery” was born and Barnyard Guardians was launched, giving new life to thousands of homeless cats across the country and touching the hearts of cat lovers globally.
Amber’s legacy will live on in every single person who was somehow influenced by her generosity of spirit and uncommonly brave heart. It will also live on in the Andalusian World Cup, which grew to be the largest Iberian horse show in the world, within four short years, due largely to Amber’s own relentless passion and drive to make a difference for horses, and the people who love them. Needless to say, she will be deeply, deeply missed.