Dana Hall Launches a New Riding Ring

On October 10th, 2018, at 4pm, the Karen Stives Equestrian Center will open a brand new, 36,000 square foot riding ring behind the Dana barn.

Coach Sarah Summers is thrilled about the new ring because it has a fantastic footing that doesn’t freeze, a brand new set of jumps, several new paddocks in addition to two new medical paddocks, a handicap ramp, and it’s huge–“it’s so big you can’t get it all in one picture,” said Felicia Gormley ‘19, a rider at Dana Hall.

Two time Olympic Silver Medalist Greg Best said that the equestrian center needed a better quality ring. The old ring had poor footing, the fencing was weakening, and it wasn’t large enough for the horses to gallop and canter.

Best described the new riding ring as “world class” and “one of the most beautiful arenas he has ever seen.” He hopes that it will help “get the program and the kids and [their] expectations to a whole different level.”

Maddie Wirkala ‘19, a rider at Dana Hall, said that “the old ring was next to the parking lot and the Tenacre School, so the cars, children and weed whackers often spooked the horses.”

Coach and trainer Carly Corbacho says that the ring will be used for riding lessons and training the horses. It is necessary to have an outdoor ring because it allows riders to prepare for outdoor competitions and understand how their horses act differently outside.

This view of the new paddocks shows the seal dedicating the new ring to Cookie DeSimone.

The riding ring is dedicated to Cookie DeSimone, the past head coach of 44 years. Described by her colleagues as an impressive, kind trainer, DeSimone, who is from Wellesley, has been riding here since she was eight years old.

The ring is not currently open as it is not safe for the horses yet and new fences are still being put in.

Corbacho mentions that there will be an opening ceremony at 4pm on October 10th. All are welcome, and DeSimone will be there to cut a ribbon above a plaque that dedicates the ring to her.

Construction started in mid-December of 2017, and the total cost is over 1 million dollars. Construction was done by Phil Mastroianni Corp.

There is a live video feed of the ring on the Dana Hall website.

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