Student Spotlight on Brianne Link ’16: A World-Class Equestrian
Brianne Link, a sophomore at The Knox School in St. James, NY, combines her love for horses with an incredibly active schedule that includes classroom studies, homework, and social activities. At 15 years old, she is already an accomplished horseback rider with a full trophy case at home. Brianne transferred to Knox last year from Ivy League on the strength of the Knox equestrian program. She currently boards four horses at a stable in Brewster, NY and works with Olympic trainer Jeffrey Wells.
Her dream is to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Brianne rides at Knox then travels upstate each week to ride and train. All of her hard work and dedication is paying off. At this year’s Hampton Classic in August, Brianne was voted the Grand Champion after accumulating the most points overall. She rode two horses, Ebay and Zycarla Z., competing against over 60 riders, and winning the Low Juniors division (14-18 years old). Competing in the Hampton Classic since she was six years-old, Brianne has won a medal every year. “It’s my turf, and I love riding there,” notes Brianne.
She also competes annually in the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, a 15-week competition held from January through April. This is her 8th year of competing in this festival, attending Knox Monday through Wednesday then traveling to Florida where she rides Thursday through Sunday; a busy schedule she maintains for nearly four months. According to Brianne, “I am so lucky to have such supportive parents as well as so fortunate to have this opportunity. Riding is my life, and I enjoy competing all over the world.”
Brianne’s most rewarding experience comes at the Just World International, where she competes in Guatemala and raises money for schools in poverty stricken areas. Joining this group when she was just nine years-old, she has raised enough money to fund a new roof for a school in Guatemala, as well as to buy new books, computers, a refrigerator, stove, and art supplies. She finds it very rewarding to see all the money raised going towards such useful purposes, and loves meeting the children, taking pride in them calling her their “angel.” “It means the world to me to hear this,” according to Brianne.
She plans to ride in college, and wants to major in International Business, where she can apply her Spanish language skills and travel the world. A strong student, whose academic performance has placed her on the school’s Honor Roll, she competed in the College Preparatory Invitational, once again, winning her division, and is now being heavily recruited by leading colleges across the country and abroad.
At the IEA Show hosted by Knox in October, Brianne took home medals once again, participating in two classes: Varsity Open 2′ 6″ and Under Saddle Class. The Knox Equestrian Team won five first-place ribbons and best overall school. The riders were so excited to ring the bell on campus! Brianne credits her success to her “amazing” parents, Linda and Brian, her great horses, and a great trainer. Aiming her sights on the Olympics, Brianne views the challenge as “scary and intimidating” but is determined to try. By starting so young and competing against older riders, she has gained a mental and physical edge. Brianne said, “I am so proud of what I have accomplished, and I am so grateful for all I have.” Despite her success, Brianne will always remember where she came from, noting that her roots are here on Long Island, and now at Knox.
The Knox School is a co-ed, non-denominational, college-preparatory day and boarding school for grades 6-12 and PG. Established in 1904, Knox has a long tradition for successfully preparing capable students for admission to highly selective colleges and universities. It also offers the region’s most comprehensive on-campus after-school riding program. The 9-month program features expert instructors specializing in equitation: hunters and jumpers. The Riding Program is based out of the Phebe Phillips Equestrian Center, an historic circular stable with 25 stalls for school and student owned horses. The Equestrian Center also offers a covered track, which is ideal for beginning riders and inclement weather. The focus is on fun with riders of all ability levels encouraging one another to succeed in the ring and in the classroom. Many advanced riders compete in local and regional horse shows. Knox encourages students to excel through a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum, infused with athletics and artistic pursuits. Small classes and a family-oriented environment serve to provide the individualized attention that young men and women need to achieve their maximum potential. Learn to be exceptional at The Knox School! For more information, visit www.knoxschool.org or call 631-686-1600 ext. 414.