Dana Cooke places 5th at Kentucky 3-day event

After another successful weekend in Kentucky, Merritt-born and raised rider Dana Cooke has her sights set on competing at the World Equestrian Games and giving back to her hometown.

Cooke spoke to the Herald after placing 5th and claiming the top Canadian spot in the CCI 4*-S at the 3-day Land Rover Kentucky event from April 28-May 1.

“Merritt has taken a lot of damage and damage over the past year, and it’s my hometown. I can’t be there in person to help, so that’s how I felt able,” Cooke said.

Currently raising funds for her place at the World Equestrian Games, part of the proceeds will go to Cooke’s “Merritt Relief Fund”, in hopes of
providing assistance to community members who continue to recover from the November floods.

Recently, Cooke hosted an online auction as well as a fundraising event at Kingfisher Park in Mooresville, North Carolina, which is now home to the Canadian-born horsemanship.

“It went really well, I’m currently around $30,000 in total funds,” Cooke said, noting that fundraising efforts are still ongoing.

Next, Cooke will take part in the Millstreet International Event in Ireland from June 2-4. After the competition, she plans to return to the Nicola Valley for the first time in three years.

“I was teaching in Oregon and had planned to return home in November, but that’s when the flooding happened. I tried very hard to go back to Merritt and back to BC for three years.

Cooke hopes to raise awareness about the sport as a whole, which she says is at risk of being dropped from the next Olympics.

“Our sport is very different from any other sport. You have an animal involved, so you need to be a good athlete as a human and communicate with your horses.

For more information on how to donate, please email Marcia Cooper at [email protected]

Joseph K. Bennett