QMS rider named Canada’s top junior

Queen Margaret’s School equestrian team member Kassidy Keith has received one of the sport’s most prestigious honours in Canada.

Queen Margaret’s School equestrian team member Kassidy Keith has received one of the sport’s most prestigious honours in Canada.

Keith, a Grade 12 rider at QMS who calls Duncan home, was honoured last month with the Gillian Wilson Trophy as Canadian Junior Equestrian of the Year.

Named for a former longtime technical director of the Canadian Equestrian Federation, the trophy is given to “a junior equestrian athlete who has excelled in equestrian competition in the current award year while demonstrating exceptional talent, horsemanship, sportsmanship, and dedication to equestrian sport, as well as the vision and mission of Equine Canada.”

Although Keith collected numerous individual honours throughout 2015, she wasn’t expecting the latest award.

“I was really surprised when they called and invited me to receive the award in Montreal,” Keith said. “Some past winners of this award have gone on to ride at the Grand Prix level, so I am very honoured.”

Kassidy and her father were flown to Quebec, courtesy of Equine Canada, to take part in the 2016 EC Awards Gala on April 22.

Riders need to be nominated by Equine Canada community members and are voted on by the EC board, so even a nomination is a huge honour for athletes.

“I’ve known Kassidy my whole life, and I know what kind of dedication it has taken to get her to where she is today,” QMS equestrian program director Jodine Buydens said. “She got to where she is because of who she is. Her opportunities have not been handed to her or come easily. I love the story of her success.”

Keith acknowledged the many people who have supported her throughout her riding career, including her family, the QMS community, the equestrian community, Ellen and Mark Brown, Jolene Benham and John Turner,

Keith is now working on earning a spot on the U18 Junior National Team, and will make her debut at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Colorado this July.