Dana Hall equestrian team earns champion

The Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), one of the Dana Hall equestrian teams, traveled to a competition in Wachusett, Massachusetts, on September 10. Twenty students participated, and through their combined efforts the team came home champion.

In IEA, there are 14 levels riders can compete in, ranging from beginner to varsity level. Each rider competes individually, and the scores are added up at the end. Dana Hall brought home wins in 11 of those 14 classes. In the three classes they did not win, Dana Hall riders came in second place. 

Coach Dani Corkill, who joined the Dana Hall equestrian program early last school year, reflected on the competition, “ I was really pleased with everyone’s performance on Saturday. The group was cohesive, efficient, and supportive of each other throughout the day.”

If the team continues to do well throughout the season, they will qualify for the regional competition in February. A second or first place finish at Regionals will take them onto Zone Finals and then Nationals in Pennsylvania in early spring.

Last year the Upper School team finished eighth at Nationals. Coach Corkill’s goal for the team this year is to be in the top five with at least one individual National Champion. “It would be great if both our Middle and Upper School teams were able to represent Dana Hall at Nationals. We have hit the ground running with team bonding events, and it is my goal to continue to cultivate an inclusive, strength-focused team based on a shared love of the sport.”

Team Captain Madi Kastner ‘23 commented, “We’re trying to make sure everyone on the team has fun together. We had a team dinner at my house, and we’re trying to set up a team game of laser tag.” Co-Captain Millie Essex ‘23 said, “I’m most excited for new team activities like our workouts and team dinners, since I think they’re going to be really great for bringing the whole team together.” Millie also remarked, “I’ve loved being on the team since everyone is always so fun, and I really wanted (to be captain) to help continue creating that fun and inclusive environment.”

There are many opportunities for students to get involved in the riding program at Dana Hall, and Coach Corkill believes that joining the riding team is beneficial to horseback riders in many ways. “Joining this team means joining a family, and it is truly a special experience.” A common theme of this team’s values is not only performance but connection among team members to create a strong dynamic.

Zoe Cole, Katie Field, and Aneliese Hitron contributed to writing this article.

Photo credit: Coach Dani Corkill, Katie Field.

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