May 5, 2016 – Duncan, BC, Canada – One of Canada’s most prestigious equestrian awards has been bestowed on a rider from the Queen Margaret’s School Equestrian Team. Graduating rider, Kassidy Keith, has been named Equine Canada’s Junior Equestrian of the Year.
Founded in 1993, the Junior Equestrian of the Year Award – The Gillian Wilson Trophy – is awarded in honour of Gillian Wilson, who served as technical director of the Canadian Equestrian Federation for more than 15 years. The award 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.
“I was really surprised when they called and invited me to receive the award in Montreal,” explains a humble Kassidy Keith. “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 (EC), to take part in the 2016 EC Awards Gala on April 22.
Queen Margaret’s School Equestrian Program Director Jodine Buydens explains that this particular equestrian award is not something athletes can actually strive for as winners are nominated by Equine Canada community members and voted on by the board. Thus, being selected is very poignant for equestrians across the country. “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,” notes Buydens. “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 made it clear she shares this award with everyone who has supported and influenced her riding career, such as her family, the QMS community, the equestrian community, Ellen and Mark Brown, Jolene Benham, and John Turner.
What is next for Kassidy? The talented young rider is already training to earn a place on the U18 Junior National Team and make her debut at The Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Colorado this July.