Jan 04, 2017 Comments Off
By Hayley Picard
Communications Manager, Queen Margaret’s School
After a successful competition year in 2015-16 and graduating from Queen Margaret’s School (QMS) in Duncan, BC, Kassidy Keith is now putting all of her life skills to the test, working to attain her dreams in the equestrian industry.
As she approaches the completion of her junior career, Kassidy took a moment to reflect on her life after finishing high school studies and commencing her career as a professional equestrian athlete.
A: I have been really busy building my skills and continuing to enjoy success in my equestrian career. After representing Canada at the NAYRC in Colorado, I began working for Equimark under the guidance of Mark Laskin and Brian Morton. Mark Laskin is the Chef d’Equipe of the Canadian Equestrian Team and Brian is a very accomplished Grand Prix rider. My experience has been invaluable.
Q: What has been your favourite competition experience to date in your career?
A: That’s a tough one, but I would say going to Toronto for the CET Finals (and winning!) and traveling to Kentucky for the Maclay Nationals. I loved showing at The Royal because the stadium was full. That number of people watching and cheering for you is an incredible feeling.
Q: Do you have a mentor?
A: I have had several mentors growing up. I have learned from wonderful people such as Lisa Carlson, Richard Keller, Shelly Kerron, John Turner, and my mother Cheryl Keith. My current industry mentors are Mark Laskin and Brian Morton.
Q: What inspires you to keep training and pushing yourself further?
A: My passion for the equestrian sport inspires me to push myself further. Seeing so many young riders having huge success at the international level is inspiring. Their devotion to continual improvement drives me to keep training and learning, so that one day I can be at the top of our sport.
A: I have five very clear goals I want to achieve: 1) Compete at Young Riders 2017; 2) Show in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows; 3) Compete at the Masters at Spruce Meadows in 2017; 4) Be consistent in the Grand Prixs in 2017; and 5) Represent Canada on a Nations Cup Team. It will be challenging, but I feel these are all attainable.
Q: How do you feel your high school experience at Queen Margaret’s School assisted you on your current path?
A: I competed at a lot of equestrian competitions, clinics and workshops throughout Grades 8-12, many of which took me away from campus and my in-class studies at QMS. Teachers worked closely with me on creating strategies to finish projects and school work while on the road. The QMS equestrian program has been designed to help riders evolve, grow, learn and take on new challenges. The progression of skill building helped develop me into the rider I am today.
Q: Do you have any future plans to further your education at the post-secondary level?
A: Absolutely! I want to study business as I feel it would be an asset for running my own business in the horse industry one day.
Q: If you could offer any advice to other young riders who might be considering QMS for their high school education and equestrian training, what would you say?
A: The equestrian program at QMS is amazing and continues to evolve each year. The program allows students the capacity to grow from being recreational riders to high performance athletes. Coaches offer you the best training and really have your personal equestrian goals in mind throughout the process. The educational side of QMS is very supportive but you need to stay on top of your work. The teachers want you to succeed, yet expect you to work for it. If you are serious about riding horses, QMS is the only school in Canada with an existing program to help you succeed.
To learn more about Queen Margaret’s School’s unique on-campus Equestrian Program, visit www.qms.bc.ca.
Top 2 Photos: QMS Alumna, Kassidy Keith, takes to the air during the 2016 Royal West on her partner, Crackerjack.
Bottom Photo: The QMS community had double the reason to cheer during this year’s NAYRC competition in Colorado, USA. Kassidy Keith (’16, back row second from the left) and Alley Millar (‘14, back row far right) both qualified to represent Canada on the Junior National team.
Photos Credit to Totem Photography