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March 17, 2004

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Publication Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Miles Files: Gina Miles aims to ride her Irish thoroughbred to the Olympic games in Athens Miles Files: Gina Miles aims to ride her Irish thoroughbred to the Olympic games in Athens (March 17, 2004)

By Miles McMullin
7th Grader, St. Joseph's School

Imagine being 30 years old and a member of the U.S. Olympics equestrian team competing in 3-day eventing! This is the potential honor that awaits California native Gina Miles, who has been riding since she was 7.

Gina Miles has taught riding locally at CTETA and at the Pony Club in Woodside, and she thinks it's a "great sport for young people; it teaches you about life."

Gina and her horse, McKinlaigh, an Irish thoroughbred gelding, will compete in late April at the Rolex Kentucky 3-day eventing meet. If they win, they will move to the short list for team selection. If Gina makes the team, she will compete in Athens, Greece, at the Olympics in August.

Three-day eventing consists of three different events on three days: Dressage on the first day of the competition tests the gaits, suppleness and obedience of the horse through a series of prescribed movements. The cross-country test on the second day proves the speed, stamina, courage, boldness and jumping ability of the horse and the rider's knowledge of pace and use of the horse across country. Jumping in an arena on the third day provides the final test of the horse's athletic ability, conditioning and training.

Of her chances to make the Olympic team, Gina says: "If it is meant to work out, it will."

Gina began to dream about the Olympics in 1984 when she went to Los Angeles to view the Olympic 3-day eventing competition. From 1984 to 1999, Gina's riding career revolved around riding ex-racehorses and teaching lessons. In 1999 she met McKinlaigh, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, McKinlaigh and Gina make an unusual partnership because he is 17.2 hands high (about 5 feet 8 inches at his shoulder) and she is just 5 feet 3 inches tall.

Gina has many supporters in the Woodside and Portola Valley community. A party for people interested in sponsoring Gina is being planned for May 15 to help her meet the expenses. Anyone interested in helping Gina is asked to e-mail [email protected]

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