The recent success of the Queen Margaret’s School equestrian program did not go unnoticed by the B.C. Hunter Jumper Association.
The QMS program came home with several awards from the BCHJA awards gala, held in Burnaby on Jan. 17.
Among the recipients were mother and daughter Cheryl and Kassidy Keith. Cheryl, the head coach of the QMS equestrian program, was named BCHJA Coach of the Year, while Kassidy, a Grade 12 rider, received three separate awards.
Following a competitive season in which she won two national championships, Kassidy Keith was presented with the Carol McGill Sportsmanship Award, which goes to the junior rider who best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and compassion to their equine partner; the Maple Meadows Year End Junior Equitation Award, for earning the highest standing in the 3’6”–3’9” equitation divisions over the season; and the Championship for the Junior A Equitation Division.
“This year was one of the best years of my life,” Kassidy Keith said. “I am so thankful to everyone who helped me get to this point and who supported me.”
Cheryl Keith wasn’t expecting the honour she received.
“It was a huge surprise when they announced my name,” she said. “I’ve been coaching for over 20 years and this is definitely one of the pinnacles of my career. It was really memorable to stand on stage with my daughter, Kassidy, and my student Emily. I am very honoured.”
Emily Cake, a Grade 10 rider, took home two BCHJA awards: Reserve Champion in the 1.10m Junior Jumper Division, and fourth place in the 1m Junior Jumper.
“Emily really stepped up and displayed adaptability this season, showing her skill set on a variety of different horses,” QMS equestrian director Jodine Buydens said. “We are very proud of the tremendous work put in by all of our athletes throughout the 2015 season.”
Kassidy Keith’s equine partner, Wallabee, was not forgotten, either. Wallabee was named Horse of the Year by the Horse Council BC.
“I love that he was recognized for his hard work too,” Buydens said. “Wallabee was key to Kassidy’s success and we will always be grateful to QMS alumna Jolene Benham for sharing him with us.”