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Metropolitan Equestrian Team
​Jane A. DaCosta
Training Coordinator
Hunter/Jumper and Equitation Instructor

Jane DaCosta brings a wealth of experience to her role as a Hunter Jumper Trainer at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy.  

Jane is a graduate of St. Leo University (B.A., 2006), and an Electronic Warfare Technician Third Class Veteran of the United States Navy. As a competitor, Jane was an undergraduate rider for Long Island University/C.W. Post IHSA Equestrian Team. Jane was also an undergraduate and alumni rider for St. John’s University IHSA Equestrian Team. Jane has competed and shown successfully in United States Equestrian Federation Horse Shows ranging from “C” to “AA” rated shows for 26 years in Equitation, Hunters and Jumpers. Most recently, she was the College Preparatory Invitational Alumni Challenge Champion (2011). Jane’s education as a trainer also includes the United States Hunter Jumper Association Trainer Certification Program, where she took part of the USHJA Trainer Certification Clinic with the renowned Olympian George Morris in September 2011. Jane passed the USHJA Trainer Certification Exam in 2012. 

Jane was the Coach of the Columbia University IHSA Team in Spring 2004. Jane is the Founder, Executive Director, and Head Coach of the Metropolitan Equestrian Team which is a NYS 501c3 Not for Profit Organization for Middle School and High School students to compete locally and nationally in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association

Jane served as City Council Appointee/Vice Chairperson of the New York City Mayors Office of Veterans Affairs - Veterans Advisory Board from 2003 – 2008. 

Jane DaCosta - 
If you are a current student of Jane and would like to schedule a lesson with Jane click on the button below.
Connie Giamanco 
Hunter/Jumper and Equitation Trainer

Coming from a family of trainers, Connie was introduced to the horse industry at birth. She began taking lessons at age three, started competing at age five, and continued to spread her knowledge at age sixteen by giving lessons to riders of all ages. Connie has competed in multiple competitions all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Long Island and has coached her clients and their horses to numerous titles and honors. At a young age, Connie recognized her natural ability to understand horses and used this ability to re-train or green broke “problem horses”. Connie has worked with all disciplines of riding raging from working at a standardbred farm, to competing in the hunter/jumper show ring. Connie also has worked hand in hand with natural horsemanship instructors and is a certificated Equine Massage Therapist. 

Connie's 28 years of experience, passion for the sport, and vast knowledge of various disciplines is an asset to horses and riders alike here at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy. 

Maria Danza
Equitation Instructor

Maria brings a wealth of knowledge to the students at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy. 

Maria is currently an Undergraduate student at Molloy College. As a competitor, Maria rode as an undergraduate for the Molloy College Equestrian Team. Maria has competed and shown successfully in United States Equestrian Federation Horse Shows ranging from “C” to “AA” rated shows since the age of 5. When Maria was in High School, she competed in the Interscholastic Equestrian Assocation on the Metropolitan Equestrian Team. 

Jessica Longo
Equitation Instructor

Jessica is currently an undergraduate student at Macaulay Honors College (CUNY). Jessica developed a passion for horses and riding here at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy when she began her riding career here in 2002, and has grown under the wealth of knowledge provided to her by the instructors at the facility. Jessica has competed at horse shows throughout various levels. Jessica has also served as the JBRA United States Pony Club coach by developing a hands-on curriculum for students to learn about horseback riding, horsemanship skills, and all of the important components of becoming a successful rider and horseman. 

Ellen K. 
Equitation Instructor

Ellen grew up on her parent's farm outside of Flemington, NJ. Her parents had many horses over the years, and rode their Western horses around the farm. Although she began riding Western, through the influence of her parents, she began taking English, Hunt Seat riding lessons at the age of 5. Ellen trained and showed under Kathy Kuntzman, winning in both Equitation and Hunter. At the age of 11, Ellen bought her Half-Arabian "Change of Heart" and became a member of the Amwell Valley Hounds Pony Club. She trained with Barbara Hay and Richard Lamb, and credits Pony Club with teaching her a huge portion of her equine knowledge. She showed her Arabian at both local and Pony Club shows/rallies, but also showed her mother's Quarter Horse and her brother's Shetland pony, as well. 

Ellen worked for John and Christine Ryan at Springwater Farms Arabians, LLC, before coming to Jamaica Bay Riding Academy. She has been an instructor at Jamaica Bay for 5 years, and has trained horses that have won in equitation, hunter, and jumper divisions. Her students include many Grand and Reserve Champions, of all ages and riding levels. 

Cassandra T. Lacitignola
Equitation Instructor

Cassandra Lacitignola started instructing at Jamaica Riding Academy in 2009. Deciding to make her passion a career she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales University’s honors program receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Equine Business Management/ Riding with an Instructor/Trainer concentration. In 2014, she was ecstatic to come home and share her knowledge and experience with fellow equine enthusiasts. 
Cassandra’s dedication and commitment to Jamaica Bay Riding Academy has led her to be the Coach of Jamaica Bay’s Drill Team, which performs at home shows bi-annually. She is also our Metropolitan Equestrian Elementary Team Coach and a full time instructor/trainer. Eagar to pass on her knowledge, Cassandra periodically hosts innovative clinics. She also obtains USEF professional status and a Massachusetts instructor’s License.

When Cassandra is not spending her time at Jamaica Bay, she is fulfilling her duties as Vice President of Mustang Camp. Mustang Camp is a non-profit organization dedicated to gentling and homing wild mustangs by means of applied behavior analysis which Cassandra took part in for 3 months as an act of finishing her degree.  
Cassandra is an asset to Jamaica Bay and will be advantageous to your equine career.