For the first time in the long history of the show jumping program at Queen Margaret’s School, a student has qualified for the ASPCA National Championships.
Kassidy Keith became the first QMS qualifier for the prestigious event in Kentucky, coming up in October, when she managed a topfive finish at the Maclay Regionals in Monroe, Wash. last weekend.
On the first day of competition, she placed third and fourth in the hunter division on QMS-owned horse Will I Am, which came as a surprise, because the horse isn’t known as a hunter. On the second day of competition, she wound up fifth, just missing fourth place overall, and was the only Canadian to make the top 10.
The success felt a little surreal for Keith, who gave credit to everyone who helped her get that far. "My performance can be directly
attributed to the incredible support I’ve received from my coach, equestrian partners and a very long list of generous people," she said. "It has been my dream to compete in Kentucky so it’s still setting in that I’ve qualified."
Keith’s journey to Kentucky began with the QMS equestrian team’s first event of the year at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, where she was one of three riders from the school to put up impressive results.
"We always look forward to competing at Thunderbird," said QMS head equestrian coach Cheryl Keith. "The facilities are beautiful, the courses are challenging and our girls always rise to the occasion."
Grade 9 student Emily Cake rode Marlowe to first place in pre child equitation, and Grade 11 student Christine Coels won reserve champion in short stirrup hunter aboard her horse, Landmark.
Kassidy Keith was the school’s star of the show, however, as she and Will I Am claimed both the Pessoa Medal and Jump Canada Medal, placed second in the Thunderbird Good Hands Seat Medal finals, won the Alf Fletcher Equestrian Award for Excellence in Equitation – awarded to the rider with the highest points in the equitation classes – and received one of two Dianne Tidball Legacy Scholarships for 2015.
"I am humbled to be awarded this scholarship," Keith said. "The Tidball family is passionate about giving back to the equestrian community and I hope that my actions will honour Dianne’s memory."
Keith’s results at Thunderbird gave her enough points to qualify for the Maclay Regionals in Monroe, as well as the CET Finals, back at Thunderbird Park this weekend. A top-four finish there will qualify her for the Royal Horse Show in Toronto in November.