Local News

Olympic medalists Miles knows she can always come home again

By From page A1 | August 29, 2013

Davis High graduate Gina Miles clears a gate during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Courtesy photo

Davis High graduate Gina Miles clears a gate during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Courtesy photo

Join the fun

What: Davis High School Hall of Fame 2013 induction ceremony

When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14

Where: Freeborn Hall, UC Davis

Tickets: $65 each; visit www.dhsblueandwhite.org

* Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories profiling the 2013 inductees to the Davis High School Hall of Fame.

“The whole process has been pretty incredible…”

Gina (Ostini) Miles took some time to reflect on her journey from a wide-eyed youngster, who began riding at age 7, to an accomplished Davis High graduate, who became a standout equestrienne, to realizing her life’s ambition — competing in the Olympic Games.

In 2008, Miles not only competed in Beijing, she earned a silver medal and forever stamped her name next to the world’s all-time great riders.

Miles will be honored in September when she is one of five new inductees into the Davis High School Hall of Fame.

Included in this class are former Blue Devil administrator Rick Stromberg, city of Davis Public Relations Manager Bob Bowen, actress/drama instructor Theresa Hayes and Blue and White Foundation founder Lynne Yackzan.

“Riding has always been a passion,” the 1991 DHS graduate told The Enterprise. “I always had aspirations (of riding in the Olympics). But I mostly (rode) because I loved riding.”

When 10-year-old Gina had a chance to attend eventing — where horse and rider compete in multiple events — at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, there was no stopping her.

Miles says she immediately became a member of the U.S. Pony Club, attended local horse shows and joined the UC Davis equestrian Team.

For a year after graduation from DHS, Miles worked as a trainer in Petaluma before heading out to attend Cal Poly.

After earning a degree in crop sciences, Miles chuckles when she says “I thought for a while that I would get a real job.”

But she followed her dream … a dream she says she’s still living.

Miles owns Templeton Farms, trains future dressage and eventing stars and offers a great deal of her time conducting free clinics, introducing hundreds of young riders to the ins and outs of horsemanship.

She married another ’91 Davis alum, Morgan Miles, and together then have sons Austin and Taylor (who starts high school this fall).

Despite, having been gone since high school, Miles repeatedly has returned to town to give back.

Miles remembers the mentoring of folks like Barbara Kendrick (Happy Horse Riding School), the friendship of stable owners like Laura Powell of Capstone Farm and the support of family and friends as her Olympic dreams took shape.

“We had a sense of pure joy,” recalls Tara Richardson of the Panache Pony Club in looking back at Miles’ medal and subsequent visit to Davis. “There was excitement in all of the horse community … all of Davis.”

In fact, it was Miles’ pals Richardson and Powell — as the final results were being posted from China — who planned the whirlwind homecoming for Miles in September of 2009.

And, true to her heart-felt commitment to her sport, Miles judged an event in town and  met with young area riders.

On her visit for Hall of Fame induction, the 39-year-old will conduct a jumping clinic on Sept. 14 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at Capstone Farm.

It will be hosted by the Panache Pony Club, which is affiliated with the international Pony Club, a group that teaches riding, horsemanship and leadership skills to young folks up to 25 years of age.

In addition to her whole family, Miles’ children, her mother Patricia, Morgan’s parents Cyndi and John and “a whole bunch of other family and friends” will be in attendance when Blue and White Foundation honors her later in the day at Freeborn Hall on campus at UCD.

Despite living her adult life in and around San Luis Obispo, Miles has known she can always “go home again.”

“I loved living in Davis, growing up in Davis,” Miles continues. “I think back on those days fondly … and now, to be honored by the high school group, it’s very special.”

Notes: “Gina has won our hearts with her journal-writing, her performance and the excitement she brought us all,” says Davis resident Cindi Kerr, mother of another aspiring DHS-graduated rider and Miles protégé Jenny Kerr. … If you need a kimberwicke or a stylish double-break snaffle, Miles has just the equestrian “jewelry” for you. Yes, there’s a Gina Miles Collection of tack enhancements available through Professionals’ Choice (www.prochoice.com). … Tickets ($65) for the induction ceremony are available at www.dhsblueandwhite.org. … McKinlaigh was a 12-year Irish sport horse that teamed with Miles to win team gold and individual bronze medals  in the Pan American Games before hitting the podium together in Beijing. … Want to attend Miles’ Sept. 14 clinic? Contact Angie Dennie ([email protected] or www.ponyclub.org).

Bruce Gallaudet

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