While many Dana Hall students were returning to campus for pre-season or leadership training or spending one last summer weekend with family, A. Niles ’19 was heading to Canada to compete at the inaugural three-day event at Foshay International in Jemseg, New Brunswick, Canada. Niles brought two horses to compete, her 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Carrick Finest Lad or “Finn” and her seven-year-old Holsteiner mare, Delight or “Dilly.” Finn and Niles contested the CCI* and Dilly took her around a brand new level in International Eventing, the CCI Introductory level. This level is an introduction to International level competition.
Dana Hall students are no stranger to equestrian events and traveling to compete against top competition. Many Karen Stives '68 Equestrian Center
riders head to Florida for the winter circuit and to Vermont and New York in the summer. Foshay adds a second upper level event in Canada for the very best athletes in the sport of three-day eventing. Where Dana Hall students compete in equitation classes on the flat and over fences and in jumper classes, three-day eventing displays the elegance and precision of dressage on the first day, followed by the fast paced, aggressive and risky cross country phase on the second. On the third day, the horse and rider finish with a second jumper phase that tests whether they have the energy and the gymnastic ability to again be precise and powerful over show jumps in an arena. It is the goal of the rider and horse pair to have the lowest cumulative score at the end of the competition, starting with a score in dressage and then potentially gaining penalty points for time or refusals in the jumping phases.
At Foshay International, the CCI* cross country course was 7:14 long, putting both horse and rider’s conditioning and preparation to the test. The pairs galloped at 540 meters per minute and jumped over 24 efforts, many in combination, including fallen trees, ditches, banks and through a brand new water complex. Many of the jumps were at the maximum height for the level of 3’7”. In stadium jumping, the jumps can be as high as 3’9”. The Intro Level is a half step below that, with the cross-country course taking 6 minutes and the jump height being 1.05 meters or 3’5”.
Niles was the top placed American at the competition and won awards for being both the first and second placed Young Rider on her two horses. Her work with Karen Stives ’68 Equestrian Center Director Sarah Summers ’98 and Head Trainer Greg Best showed in the show jumping phase, where she left all of the rails up with both of her horses to move from 9th place to 4th with Finn and from 6th to 5th with Dilly.
When asked if she was looking forward to starting her final year at Dana after such an incredible success, or if she would rather continue riding, Niles said, “I love riding and I love my horses, but with my job at Scarlet Hill Farm in Groton this summer as a working student and living there, I haven’t seen my friends very much and I miss them. I also miss Dana Hall. I’m looking forward to classes and to seeing my teachers again and to all the traditions of senior year.”