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AGE QUOD AGIS: St. Mark’s Equestrians Ride to Success

Posted: September 21, 2012

The St. Mark’s motto—“Age Quod Agis”—can have many shades of meaning. But the essence of its message—“do what you do”—remains unchanged. “Whatever you’re doing,” explained Dr. Matthew Hartnett, former chair of the St. Mark’s Classics department, “do it to the best or your ability with effort, focus, attention and care.” Heather Harwood, the current Classics chair, takes it a step further: “Own what you do.” Both interpretations of the Latin are exemplified in the efforts and accomplishments of two current Mark’s students: Jane Chiavelli ’14 and Paige Crotty ’15. Both young women are accomplished equestrians, and have ridden to tremendous success over the past year.

Chiavelli, a V Former from Ashland, MA, has been riding for more than nine years. She competes with the hunter-jumpers, where the horses are scored as hunters and the riders for equitation. During the summer of 2012, Jane won multiple championships in several events sanctioned by the U.S. Equestrian Foundation in the Children’s Hunter Division. With these individual competition titles, she has already qualified for the Massachusetts finals in Northampton on September 27-29, and for the New England Finals during the first week of October at the Big E in Springfield. After those events, she starts a season with the Concord team in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, a league which mimics the kind of competition found at the college level.

Crotty, a IV Former from Southborough, is an “eventer”, competing in dressage (for form), cross country (timed races), and stadium jumps. Thus past summer she won four major events, in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont, and she is currently ranked 2nd in the entire nation for the Junior Division. There are just three events remaining for her to compete in before Thanksgiving, and then her schedule will prevent her from travelling south to continue competitive riding during the winter.

She is not complaining. Both Paige and Jane came to St. Mark’s fully understanding that their involvement at the school comes first. “Riding takes up so much time,” says Jane. Paige agrees: “you have to make time for it, and for all the demands of school and schoolwork.” A typical day has them riding at night or on weekends. They appreciate and embrace their St. Mark’s experience. “We’ve definitely learned how to better manage our time,” says Chiavelli. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made. “There’s the dance you can’t go to, the event you have to miss,” but they both have a strong work ethic and are effectively balancing their St. Mark’s obligations and their passion for a classic sport.

It takes plenty of hard work. “This summer I had the opportunity to work for my trainer—my coach,” says Crotty. “It was a 12-hour day, cleaning the barn, taking care of the horses, and riding,” she says. “There was not a lot of time for relaxing or for seeing friends, but it is a commitment I love.”

Riding will remain on their schedules even through college. Jane notes that there are plenty of college opportunities for hunter-jumpers. The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association provides collegiate riders of all skills the opportunity to compete individually and as teams in equestrian competition. The NCAA also has equestrian teams, and schools like Tufts, Boston College, Duke, and competitive riding programs. The Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) offers organized competitions and the opportunity for students to make dressage part of their college experience, while the United States Eventing Association (USEA) also provides competition at that level. Colleges like Clemson have eventing teams, and Paige has a number of options to consider.

But all that lies in the future. Right now, they are making the most of their time at St. Mark’s while continuing to pursue their athletic dreams. Head of School John Warren ’74 is certainly impressed. “The dedication Paige and Jane display with their riding is very impressive,” he says. “What they have each accomplished deserves great celebration. Paige and Jane are each approaching a passion in the true spirit of Age Quod Agis; I am so proud.”