Dacia Anastasia Hirsch

Catch up with Dacia Hirsch if you can! This former pastry chef, two-time equestrian champion, NTID Student Congress Director of Programming, and third-year Applied Optical Technology (AOT) student has filled her plate with passionate pursuits.

“I am always busy,” says Dacia, 33. “And I use my time management skills to reach the goals I set for myself.”

Born in Wisconsin, Dacia spent her childhood in Connecticut, Northern California, Colorado, and Oregon.

In 1993 and 1994, Dacia’s skilled horseback riding won her amateur and professional World Championships in Hunter Pleasure, a style of riding for Morgan horses. With that, she became the first deaf person to win a championship title on a Morgan horse.

Moving on, Dacia studied at the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colo., graduated in 2000, and became an assistant pastry chef at a restaurant in Aspen.

Since moving to New York State three years ago, Dacia, in addition to her AOT studies, has taken up equestrian dressage, a highly competitive form of horseback riding admired for its form, grace, and precision. She hopes to someday compete in the Olympics.

“Dressage needs an intense amount of concentration and communication with the horse,” Dacia says. “My being deaf eliminates outside distractions and helps me focus.”

Dacia trains four days a week in Shortsville, N.Y., where she boards her two horses, Zaravich, a grey Quarter horse, and Aladdin, a black Hanoverian.

“These horses are not just my pets, they are like my children. Along with my AOT studies at NTID, they are a very important part of my life.”

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2005 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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