By Catie Staszak for Thunderbird Show Park
At the Harvest Celebration CSI4*-W, Kassidy Keith (CAN) was named series champion of the MarBill Hill U25 League at Thunderbird Show Park.
Less than a week later, she has recorded her first senior FEI victory with her longtime mount, Havana.
Keith and her 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare bested a star-studded eight-horse jump-off en route to victory in the $36,900 CSI2* tbird 1.45m Friday evening at the BCHJA Fall Finale. In getting the first ranking class win of their respective careers, the pair even bested last week’s victors of the $150,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, Conor Swail (IRL) and Vital Chance de la Roque, who took second. For a second day in a row, Lauren Crooks (USA) and Louisiana van de Moortelshoeve finished third; they also completed the podium in Thursday’s $8,700 CSI2* tbird 1.40m.
“Since I went later in the jump-off, I did watch quite a few [other riders] go, and I decided that I was going to do eight [strides between the first two fences] like everybody else,” Keith detailed. “From there, I just thought I was going to keep the turns tight and give [Havana] room at the verticals. I thought she was fabulous. She did everything I asked of her.”
A young professional on the rise, Keith works alongside her mother Cheryl at the Langley Township-based Keepsake Farms, where Keith rides, trains and coaches. When she’s competing with Havana, she also receives help from fellow Canadian show jumper, Darrin Dlin. With Dlin’s guidance, horse and rider have become forces at the U25 level, and they made their CSI3* debut in August.
“I just started stepping [Havana] up a little bit. We’ll step her up and then back off a little bit,” Keith said. “She’s always giving me her best. We had a really good round on Sunday [in the $25,000 CSIU25-A MarBill Hill U25 League Final], but she was a little bit impressed [in the first round today], because it was her first time in the ring this week. But she went into the jump-off, and she was relaxed and happy and forward. When she’s relaxed, she’s naturally fast.”
Keith has been developing her mount since Havana was just four years old, and the two have climbed the ranks together. The talented young rider believes her mare still has more to give.
“This is by far the biggest win of my career,” Keith said. “It’s very special to have developed Havana to where she is now. She just keeps showing me that she can be better and better. I just can’t wait for the things to come.”
$36,900 CSI2* tbird 1.45m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
1. Havana / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Kassidy Keith / 0/0 41.4
2. Vital Chance de la Roque / Conor Swail / IRL / Conor Swail / 0/0 41.81
3. Louisiana van de Moortelshoeve / Lauren Crooks / USA / Crooks Show Jumping, LLC / 0/0 41.82
4. Beneficial / Alicia Gadban-Lewis / CAN / Alicia Gadban-Lewis / 0/0 43.28
5. Milton / James Brennan / IRL / Crooks Show Jumping, LLC / 0/0 44.82
6. Willow / Lauren Myers / USA / Lauren Myers / 0/4 47.74
7. Livestream 2 / Lisa Carlsen / CAN / Lisa Carlsen / 0/31 74.33
8. Chico ASK / Johanna Siefert / USA / Jill Davidson / 0/EL
9. Castros / Meredith Ellis / CAN / Meredith Ellis / 1 73.47
10. Concetto Son / Laura-Jane Tidball / CAN / Thunderbird Show Park Ltd / 1 74.26