On August 7, 2021, at 4:30am six endurance riders are warming up at the start line of the 160 km “Piles of Miles” endurance ride near Devon, AB., wearing head lamps, flash narrow beams and glowsticks. As the riders vanish into the dark, Natasha Dombrosky, mother of one of the riders, stands on the sidelines with her video camera and calls out, “don’t lose the kid!”

The kid in this case is nine-year-old Paige Dombrosky, from Redwater, AB., riding NightWind’s Indigo Bey (Indi) (Dakotas Keyanti x Bold Strike V), a 19-year-old black Arabian gelding. “She has been interested in horses since she was a baby,” said her mother. “Paige loved sitting on them when she got a little older, because she didn’t have her own pony, rode my 15.3hh paint mare around the yard.”  

I am Equestrian Canada”: Nine-year-old Endurance Rider Sets the Pace

Paige Dombrosky smiles before taking the saddle
Photo Credit: Natasha Dombrosky

At four-years-old, Dombrosky realized her daughter wanted to ride her own horse and would require a professional coach. She was successful finding Colleen DeVry at NightWind Arabians, who took her Paige under her wing. “I had never taken on a rider so young, but her mother convinced me to give her a chance because she was comfortable with the horses at home,” said DeVry. “She was focused, determined to learn and to be at her very best, in a few short months she was promoted to ride with older girls in lessons.”  

I am Equestrian Canada”: Nine-year-old Endurance Rider Sets the Pace

Colleen DeVry and Nightwind’s Bey Infiniti riding with Paige Dombrosky and NightWind’s Indigo Bey
PHOTO CREDIT: Natasha Dombrosky

Dombrosky continued riding lessons, attending summer riding camps and she became fascinated with endurance riding. Her mother and younger sister Kylie joined her in attending endurance rides and crewing for their coach. The following year, the young endurance rider rode a school horse used by new juniors for a short time before discussing with her coach to switch reins and condition NightWind’s Indigo Bey.

Over his career, he has logged over 6,960 km, having completed six 160 km rides, including two with juniors. In 2018, Indi received the Equestrian Canada (EC) Endurance Elite Horse and tenacity award after representing Canada with DeVry at the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) in North Carolina. After the games, DeVry promised Dombrosky she could ride the horse once she was ready to complete 80 km.

Dombrosky would complete 40 km on her first ride with NightWind’s Indigo Bey and that same evening, it was decided that the duo was ready for 80 km the following day. In their first competition together, Dombrosky rode a very tough 80 km, placing in the top three. Throughout the challenging year of 2020, Dombrosky and her friends spent time enjoying their horses and partaking in virtual rides, recording their distance. 

I am Equestrian Canada”: Nine-year-old Endurance Rider Sets the Pace

Colleen DeVry and Nightwind’s Bey Infiniti riding with Paige Dombrosky and NightWind’s Indigo Bey|
PHOTO CREDIT: Natasha Dombrosky

At nine-years-old, Dombrosky and Indi competed in their first 160 km Piles of Miles, placing second in the 100-mile ride. When asked about their ride, Dombrosky said “Awesome! We rode in the dark and I had to trust him to pick up his feet, not trip and fall with me on him” and coach DeVry followed up the commentary, “I am beyond proud of Paige for accomplishing the feat of completing her first 100-mile ride at nine-years-old.”

Dombrosky had no hesitation in defining the qualities that make Indi a superior trail horse, “I like that he can go anywhere in the group – lead, middle, back and still listens to what I ask. I like that he is older and has done many miles so that he is calm, and he knows how to do it all. He does things to take care of me when I need him to.”

Alberta’s own nine-year-old Dombrosky has accumulated a competitive experience of over 1,200 kms in her young career and with that kind of passion in her horse and endurance riding, the love for record keeping and statistics, Canada may have a world class competitor soon.  

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