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Former Olympian Equestrian Takes Post at Dana

Dana Hall School has secured Olympic show jumping veteran Greg Best as full-time trainer at the School’s Karen Stives ’68 Equestrian Center (KSEC) beginning in May 2017. Together with his wife and children, Best will relocate to the United States from New Zealand for six months each year to coach Dana Hall equestriennes and help them to prepare for top competitions.

Best will take over for Cookie DeSimone, who has been the School’s trainer in residence since the 1970s. As she transitions to retirement, DeSimone will continue to work full time through the end of December 2016, after which she will collaborate with Dana Hall on a part-time basis.

Best is most well known for his partnership with the gray American Thoroughbred show jumper Gem Twist. Together the duo earned individual and team silver medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and placed fourth at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm. Although he resides in New Zealand, Best spends much of his time traveling and teaching clinics all over the world. He is well regarded at Dana Hall where he has been a regular clinician during the past five years.

“I’ve been coming to Dana Hall for a few years now thanks, in large part, to Karen Stives’ generosity and the enthusiastic support of Cookie, Sarah and the Dana Hall students,” said Best. “I am so excited to join the community here and to help lead the equestrian program forward. Cookie will be leaving some very big shoes to fill and it is my aim to honor her legacy, Karen’s vision for the program and incorporate the ideas of myself and the rest of the staff to create something very special for the students here at Dana Hall.”

The legacy of fellow Olympic silver medalist Karen Stives ’68 has allowed the School to build a top equestrian facility and develop a program driven by an emphasis on excellence in horsemanship.

“Greg exemplifies the qualities that Karen Stives ’68 envisioned for our program, and we know she would have been very pleased with his addition to our staff,” said KSEC Director Sarah Summers ’98. “This is an exciting time for Dana Hall and its history of excellence in riding and horsemanship.”

Prior to taking the official trainer post, Best will host clinics at KSEC in both August and October 2016 before starting his engagement in May 2017.

Last Updated: June 13, 2016
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  • Maya

    "My favorite Dana Hall memory would be the first time I ever sang the Alma Mater with my fellow classmates. That was most definitely the first time I felt like I was truly a part of something. Joining hands with my future Silver Sisters made me truly feel like I was a Dana girl."
    -Maya '20