In 1997, Atlanta native Amy Lance founded the nonprofit organization Chastain Horse Park Ltd. She served as general contractor for the $4 million redevelopment of the local landmark, which was in desperate need of a comprehensive facelift. With the help of the community, Amy eliminated the old, dilapidated structures and created a new horse park, which began operations in 1999. She also initiated a scholarship program for students with disabilities and inner-city children-at-risk. Amy has received the Development Authority of Fulton County’s Economic Development Award for Excellence in Business, and has been honored as Woman of the Year by Atlanta’s Buckhead Girl’s Club for her work. She’s a single mother of four children ranging in age from 8 to 15 years old.
What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever learned?
That complete personal satisfaction cannot come from money, careers, things, friends or even family. It must truly come from within your own self, which is to face utter honesty in who you are and who you want to be.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Being able to see that determination and heartbreaking discipline gradually pay off as I watch my four incredible children exude happiness and confidence within themselves and share it with those around them.
What’s your No. 1 fitness and health secret?
For fitness, I run around after my kids and multitask at work—not sitting down for long! For health: Laughter! Aside from that, I eat healthy food and keep a positive frame of mind.
What do you see as the keys to being your “best self”?
Knowing who you are inside and out is the first key. Identify your weaknesses and do something about them. Identify your strengths and use them in your decision making. My favorite personal quote is: “Balance is a very personal thing. If you truly love what you do and it fulfills your life purpose, you can do much more of it than others. If your work nurtures you, it builds stamina and gives you strength that seems impossible to others.”
How did you become involved with animals? What is the key to your bond with them?
The key to my bond with horses stems from a well-known quote, which Winston Churchill made famous (long before Ronald Reagan): “There’s nothing better for the insides of a man than the outsides of a horse.” I became involved with horses at a very young age and had no idea it would be central to my career. Once I had the opportunity as an adult to have enough hindsight to know what I wanted, it was just a matter of making a plan and following through.
What is one thing you would like people to know about horses?
I wish more people wanted to be close to horses and learn from them—dogs and cats are the norm, but horses are so unique and exciting. They embody so much of what we all want for ourselves in my opinion. They are the symbol of grace, strength, beauty, power, and they love to stick together. They are such good partners with people—and can teach them a great deal about communication!
What is one change you would like to see made in the treatment of animals by people?
I wish people would spend more time seriously considering what is best for their animals. If someone has a large dog, for example, they should consider professional training along with having a fenced yard (invisible or visible)—not keeping the dog untrained and on a chain. If they are not equipped to keep a dog in a fenced yard, they should find the dog a good home.
Why is your cause of choice therapeutic riding?
My heart belongs to the therapeutic riding programs because I have had the fortune of witnessing year after year how much it means to these families on every level. So many don’t know where to turn and feel their child has no option of a “normal” life or little opportunity to enjoy triumphs and personal victories which their entire family can be proud of witnessing. Not only have I seen the physical and emotional triumphs of those with disabilities, but I have also seen the stone faces of those injured military returning to the U.S. who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder—and then watched them open up and break through that wall when they can be one on one with a horse. It’s more than incredible.