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Daniel Coyle Guides Jasper to First FEI Win in the CSI2* Cabana Coast Qualifier

Any horse person will tell you the old expression “the best laid plans gang aft awry” is never more true than with horses. And Daniel Coyle can attest to that following his win with Jasper in Thursday morning’s CSI2* Cabana Coast Qualifier 1.45m speed class at Thunderbird Show Park to come out ahead in the field of 59 starters by nearly two full seconds.

The class marks the 9-year-old gelding’s FEI debut and while they won, it didn’t go quite as Coyle intended. 

“Nothing went according to plan,” he laughed following the presentations. “The first line and the triple bar also [as the first fence] when they’re a little green and it’s a speed class, they can either jump it very well or not at all—and usually both ways clear it. 

“Jasper didn’t really cover the ground to the second fence so I had to do one more stride there and then I was very tight back on the third fence, which left me very dead and slow. I had to do an extra stride…and then I knew I was a few strides behind, so I took some risks on some of the roll backs and I think that’s where I caught it. It was never in a straight line that made me win today.”

Purchased by Ariel Grange as a 5-year-old, Jasper is new to Coyle having been brought along by Hyde Moffatt and Brady Hayes before taking an unplanned vacation during the covid pandemic. Coyle’s philosophy is to teach his young horses to go slowly and relaxed before learning to run and jump — because generally going faster is the easier part.

“Jasper needs to learn to be faster. But he also is not very good at being slow and lazy. So I start there and if I can get him to achieve that, he’ll learn the quick thing pretty quick,” he explained.

“I feel like if I can use my experience to make him better horse, then that’s also better for him rather than just leaving everything to him always.”

Fellow Irishman and tbird’s winningest rider Conor Swail took second with Casturano on a time of 63.96, and Mexico’s Patricio Pasquel with Alicia Santa Rosa took third on 64.6.

CSI2* $38,500 Cabana Coast Qualifier 1.45m

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / Faults:Time

  1. Jasper / Daniel Coyle / Ariel Grange / IRE / 0:61.87
  2. Casturano / Conor Swail / Rider / IRE / 0:63.96
  3. Alicia Santa Rosa / Patricio Pasquel / Rider / MEX / 0:64.6
  4. Oaks Come By Chance / David Cameron / Rider / AUS / 0:64.99
  5. Fasole Du Seigneur / Alexis Sokolov / Rider / USA / 0:65.4
  6. NKH Cento Blue / Shawn Casady / October Hill Sales / USA / 0:65.62
  7. KS Coradina / Susan Horn / Kingsfield Farm / CAN / 0:66.9
  8. GCS Athena / Amy Millar / Brookstreet Stables / CAN / 0:67.01
  9. Viamdios D’Avril / Lauren Esdale / Pauline Esdale / USA / 0:67.69
  10. Edita / Zume Gallaher / Blue Gate Stables LLC / USA / 0:67.8

Luck and Learning Are the Perfect Combination for Daniel Coyle and Gisborne VDL

Ireland’s Daniel Coyle topped a baker’s dozen jumping off for $142,400 in the CSI5* 1.50m Thursday afternoon at Thunderbird Show Park, kicking off five star competition at MLSJ Canadian Premier week.

Under picture perfect skies Coyle brought Ariel Grange’s Gisborne VDL into the Thunderbird Jumper Arena to tackle Olaf Petersen’s short track. They followed Canada’s Ali Ramsay, who had just posted a blistering time of 37.97 seconds aboard her 2022 national championship winning mount Bonita VH Keizershof with a lot of go and very little “whoa.” Shaving fractions of a second off and leaving a stride out, Coyle and Gisborne VDL stopped the clock in 37.59 to take over the lead.

“Because Gisborne’s a big-strided horse and not the fastest, I did one less stride from the first to second fence than most people. And then the roll-backs were everything and just by luck, by chance, they came up good for me,” said the world no. 20.

A relatively new mount for Coyle, the 2011 stallion came into the barn in December and they have been steadily figuring each other out since. In 12 international rounds at 1.40m to 1.60m, the pair has a 50% clear round rate, according to Jumpr App. Thursday’s CSI5* 1.50m marks their first international victory and third podium finish.

“Everything we have asked him to do so far has been brilliant and we have high hopes for him,” explained Coyle. “But he’s starting to figure out that going fast to these big fences is all right.”

Coyle chuckled when asked what he likes most about third.

“I always seem to win something here, it’s been a very lucky show for me. And once something is lucky, it usually stays lucky for you. I did my first Nations Cup here successfully [editor’s note: he jumped double clear] and I’ve been coming back ever since. And I always come here with new horses and learn so much about them, with the sand ring and the grass ring over the two weeks.”

tbird’s 50th Anniversary continues with the MLSJ Canadian Premier on Friday, featuring the CSI2* Cabana Coast Qualifier 1.45m, MarBill Hill U25 1.40m, and the CSI5* MLSJ Team Event. For tickets are on sale at

Jikke-Cara and Alison Robitaille Hop to the Top of the CSI2* 1.40m Two-Phase

It wasn’t Alison Robitaille’s intention to go fast or be particularly competitive in Thursday morning ’s CSI2* 1.40m Two-Phase with Jikke-Cara, it being their first time out on the grass field of the Fort Grand Prix Arena at Thunderbird Show Park. But “Bunny Rabbit” as she is known in the barn (because she looks like the emoji of course) picked up the pace and kept on rolling, right to the top of the 60-horse field. 

“We were lucky to show in Wellington on the grass recently, so we got our feet wet out there,” remarked Robitaille. “She has a very big stride — I left out a stride down the very first line and just was able to keep that pace throughout the whole course.”

A relatively new pairing, Robitaille purchased the Dutch Warmblood mare in 2022 from world no. 9 Kent Farrington (USA). 

“She was in Europe, so [I bought her] pretty much sight unseen. But [Kent] thought it would be good match. She came over in quarantine and I agreed with him—and off we went,” said Robitaille.

The pair have been training with Farrington for the past year and developing their partnership at the 1.35m-1.40m height. They have clear round average of 67% over six rounds at the 1.40m-1.45m level, according to Jumpr App.

Honourable mention goes to Canada’s Susan Horn with three in the top-ten.

CSI2* $1,000 1.40M 

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / Rd 1 Faults / JO Faults:JO Time

  1. Jikke-Cara / Alison Robitaille / Alison Firestone LLC / USA / 0/0:35.38
  2. Fasole Du Seigneur / Alexis Sokolov / Rider / USA / 0/0:35.8
  3. Cadeau Z / Mandy Porter / Risen Eq Holdings LLC / USA / 0/0:38.61
  4. Chacca Keeps II / Susan Horn / Kingsfield Farm / CAN / 0/0:38.79
  5. Valentino D’Elte / Vanessa Mannix / Rider / CAN / 0/0:38.98
  6. Casturano / Conor Swail / Rider / IRE / 0/0:39
  7. Kirlo Van Den Bosrand / Susan Horn / Kingsfield Farm / CAN / 0/0:39.24
  8. KS Coradina / Susan Horn / Kingsfield Farm / CAN / 0/0:40.27
  9. Oaks Come By Chance / David Cameron / Rider / AUS / 0/0:40.74
  10. Oaks Cassanova / Samuel Overton / Rider / AUS / 0/0:40.88

Georgia Knight and Onyx Debut at No. 1 in the MarBill Hill U25

In decisive style, Georgia Knight, 19, of Victoria, BC, and her mount Onyx captured the win in the $5,000 MarBill Hill U25 1.35m class Wednesday afternoon at Thunderbird Show Park—their very first U25 competition together.

Topping a field of 25 young riders from Canada, the United States and Mexico, including many experienced riders, Knight bested the ten who advanced to the jump off by nearly three full seconds. Having spent most of her riding career competing in the hunter ring, Knight is still working on speed, especially in such an expansive ring as the Fort Grand Prix Arena, and admits to recently having had time faults in more than one jump-off round.

“I always feel like I’m going much faster than I actually am,” laughed Knight following the awards presentation. “Onyx is owned by Joelle Froese and we’re leasing him. He’s jumped some big classes in his life. When I got him a year and a half ago, I had only been jumping at 1.20m and he’s brought me right up to the 1.40m. So he has a very special place in my heart. He’s taught me a lot.”

The final fence in both rounds was the MarBill Hill oxer, and course designer Meghan Rawlins’ placement of it right in front of the in/out gate very nearly tempted 18-year-old Onyx to exit stage left.

“Galloping to the last fence in both rounds, I could feel Onyx eyeing the in-gate, not really getting his eye on that last fence. Fortunately I was able to get him paying attention.” 

The pair will compete in two more MarBill Hill U25 classes at tbird as part of the MLSJ Canadian Premier week of competition, once in Friday’s 1.40m class and in the $15,000 Grand Prix on Sunday. Their ultimate goal is to compete in the international U25 final at tbird this September.

World-class show jumping continues through Sunday with the launch of this year’s Major League Show Jumping tour, featuring CSI2* and CSI5* competition. Riders representing ten countries, including Olympians Amy Millar, Tiffany Foster and Mario Deslauriers (Canada); Darragh Kenny and Shane Sweetnam (Ireland); Nayel Nassar (Egypt); and Kent Farrington (USA) will compete for prize money and team points.

For tickets, entries and schedule information and streaming on TBIRD TV, visit

$5,000 MarBill Hill U25 1.35m
Place / Horse / Rider / Hometown / Owner / Faults / Time

  1. Onyx / Georgia Knight / Victoria, BC / Joelle Froese / 0:41.79
  2. Ielinea JTL / Jaydan Stettner / Regina, SK / Jaydan Stettner / 0:44.07
  3. Jillz / Natalie Popham / Victoria, BC / Natalie Popham / 0:44.18
  4. Texas / Justine Cha / Camrose, AB / Christine Cha / 0:45.16
  5. ESI Jet Set / Carly Stevens / Foothills, AB / Grant & Susie Stevens / 0:45.91
  6. Lestat OLD / Ashley Arnoldt / Langley, BC / Jennifer Arnoldt / 0:46.29
  7. Duke of Doel / Tali DeJong / Golden, CO / Tali DeJong / 0:48.48
  8. Sonny Brigade / Jennifer Clark / Mill Bay, BC / Jennifer Clark / 4:42.91
  9. Starkato / Sam Walker / Nobleton, ON / Tal Milstein / 4:44.8
  10. Cabablue / Patricio Pasquel Jr. / MEX / Patricio Pasquel / 8:49.87

Keith Picks Up Where She Left Off in Maui Jim Grand Prix

Langley, BC — The last time Kassidy Keith (CAN) showed at Thunderbird Show Park, she brought the 2022 show season to a close with a win in the CSIU25-A MarBill Hill U25 Grand Prix.

As the 2023 April Season Opener kicked off tbird’s 50th Anniversary show season, Keith wasted no time returning to the front of a featured victory lap. She and her longtime partner Havana topped Sunday’s $10,000 Maui Jim Grand Prix 1.40m, besting a five-horse jump-off.

The winning time was 43.07 seconds over Kevin Holowack’s (CAN) short track. Sarah Lottis (CAN) and Rhapsody secured second (43.45 seconds), with Georgia Knight and Onyx third (45.60).

“She was jumping very well today, so she was spending more time in the air than normal. In the jump-off, I wanted to do nine [strides in the first line], but she jumped so well, up and around [the jump], that we galloped 10 [strides],” Keith explained. “She was jumping so well, [but she was also] really quick across the ground and turned well.”

The jump-off was one of escalation, as the lead repeatedly changed hands through the first three riders, all of whom jumped clear and would ultimately make up the podium. But it was Keith who would hold on to the lead, utilizing her mare’s trademark footspeed to put the competition away.

“She was so quick back to the double of verticals,” Keith said. “That was probably a little bit where she had it. She was just a little bit faster.”

Keith enters the season at tbird with a new set of “firsts” under her belt. The 25-year-old young professional spent a month in Europe over the winter, riding for well known horse dealer Desiree Johnson. She jumped her first World Cup qualifier in the fall with Havana, whom she’s developed since the mare was four years old, and over the winter, they were fifth in a CSI4* ranking class at Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, CA.

“In the fall, she and I jumped the World Cup together [in Sacramento], and after that, I felt like she could do almost anything,” Keith said. “She has a heart of gold and always tries her hardest.”

The pair has grown up together in Langley: They secured their first FEI ranking class win at tbird in 2021 and were MarBill Hill U25 series champions at the venue the same year. They continue to train out of Langley Township-based Keepsake Farms, where Keith rides, trains and coaches alongside her mother, Cheryl Keith.

“I’ve been riding [at Thunderbird] since I was little. I started on ponies here,” Keith reflected. “When I started, [we were based] on [Vancouver] Island, and it was a big deal to come here. Now, it’s in my backyard, and it’s amazing to have.

“We can school here between shows, and the level of the sport has come so far, even in the last five years here,” she continued. “The way they have extended the season in September and added an FEI week in October—it’s been great to bring the horses up here. The staff is lovely, the Tidball family is lovely, and it’s always special showing here, because it’s like home.”

Thunderbird Show Park’s 50th Anniversary season resumes at the Spring Festival, April 26–30, 2023.

$10,000 Maui Jim Grand Prix 1.40m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time

  1. Havana / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Cheryl Keith / 0/0 43.07
  2. Rhapsody / Sarah Lottis / CAN / Kevin Lottis / 0/0 43.45
  3. Onyx / Georgia Knight / CAN / Joelle Froese / 0/0 45.6
  4. Jericho / Laure Jane Tidball / CAN / Thunderbird Show Park Ltd / 0/0 47.29
  5. Cunningham 4 / Christopher Lowe / CAN / Christopher Lowe / 0/RT
  6. Jillz / Natalie Popham / CAN / Natalie Popham / 4 73.81
  7. Jimmy Choo / Elizabeth Gingras / CAN / New Heights Equestrian / 4 74.29
  8. Kadans van de Mispelaere / Jaehee Jeon / KOR / Brother Fortune Equestrian Ltd / 4 75.19
  9. Van Tao RCG / Christopher Lowe / CAN / Christopher Lowe / 5 79.31
  10. CMS Garadice Shore / Karianne Boyce-Lockhart / USA / Karianne Boyce-Lockhart / 8 74.5

Betker Bests Elders in DIHP Canadian Hunter Derby Open

Langley, BC – Youth prevailed in the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) Canadian Hunter Derby Open 3’6″ Saturday afternoon at Thunderbird Show Park’s April Season Opener, with 10th grader Sloane Betker besting a group of professionals aboard her longtime partner, Kensington.

Held in a one-round format, the Canadian Hunter Derby is judged as a handy class. Judges award a base score for the round; then a High Performance Bonus and Handy Bonus—each up to 10 points—are added to that number to comprise the final score for the round.

Betker and Kensington finished on a winning total of 100 points. Ashley Arnoldt rode Light My Fire to runner-up honors (98 points), with Chloe Mache and St Martin’s Lane third (91).

“It was a really fun course today. It flowed really well,” Betker said.

Betker, who trains with Eliza Hunt, added Kensington to her string more than three years ago. At the time, the chestnut was competing in the jumper ring but made a quick transition to his new division.

“He did the 6-year-old [young] jumpers then,” Betker said. “He didn’t really like going fast!”

Kensington’s demeanor has come to be his greatest strength. Taking everything in stride, he has come to be a most reliable and consistent partner for his young rider, and together, they have moved up from 2’9″ to the 3’6″ divisions.

“He stays super relaxed and chill,” Betker said. “It’s nice to get on and know he’s always going to be the same. He’s brave and always going to go to the other side.”

From Kelowna, BC, Betker has been competing at Thunderbird Show Park for more than a decade. This year, she hopes to venture out to the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships.

“It’s really nice to know that there’s a venue like this so close to home,” she said. “I’ve been coming here since I was five. They do a really good job managing it and growing it.”

$3,000 DIHP Canadian Hunter Derby Open 3’6″
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Score

  1. Kensington / Sloane Betker / CAN / Sloane Betker / 100
  2. Light My Fire / Ashley Arnoldt / CAN / Jennifer Arnoldt / 98
  3. St Martin’s Lane / Chloe Mache / CAN / Chloe Mache / 91
  4. Fanta / Chloe Mache / CAN / Chloe Mache / 89
  5. Casalito’s Boy / Kalima Ngobi / CAN / Kalima Ngobi / 78
  6. Piano Man / Channay Lloyd / CAN / Brooklyn Jakubec / 77
  7. Ecifee / Gillian Bilbrough / CAN / Gillian Bilbrough / 45

Martinoff Makes It Happen in Emily Sandhack Open Classic

Ayla Martinoff (CAN) wore many hats in Saturday’s Emily Sandhack Open Classic 1.35m at the 2023 April Season Opener. With two mounts in the class, she was not just the rider, trainer and owner. She also bred both horses, including her winning mount, 9-year-old Calloway.

In Calloway’s first show since October, the grey showed little rust in besting a five-horse jump-off, as Martinoff strategized a plan that best suited her small-but-mighty 16-hand Holsteiner gelding. Their winning time was 39.8 seconds. Sarah Lottis (CAN) and Zaza Z finished second (39.91 seconds), with Jaehee Jeon (KOR) and Bless You BFE third (42.51 seconds).

“I didn’t take him to California [this winter], so it was nice to bring him out and get going like that!” Martinoff exclaimed. “It was a really nice course and stout enough for the season opener.

“I went first in the jump-off, and my friend Sarah [Lottis] was just behind me,” she added. “I knew I had to go fast with her in the class!”

Calloway’s full sister, 7-year-old A Crown Royale, also jumped the class, with just a single rail down in the mare’s first ever 1.35m competition. Both horses are out of A Little Bit 5 and by Corinne Super’s stallion, Capone 1. Martinoff came to know sire and dam through her work in the industry.

“I was a working student at Fairway Farms [in Langley] and got to ride [the mother] for a few years,” Martinoff recalled. “My dad put windows in the barn in exchange for her, and they gave her to me.

“The sire,” she continued, “is Capone 1, who is owned by Corinne Super. I did a bunch of riding for her and worked off the semen.”

Capone 1 has become a popular stallion at Martinoff Equestrian, where Ayla works alongside her younger sister, Kaylie Martinoff. The farm is family owned, and the sisters’ grandmother continues to live onsite. Vivre Martinoff celebrated her 100th birthday in November.

“We’re 20 minutes down the road from tbird,” Ayla said. “We’re here for every show.”

Martinoff has goals to jump CSI2* competition with Calloway this year, and she’s grateful for the extra opportunities she’s been afforded after receiving a George and Dianne Tidball Legacy Foundation Riding Scholarship for the 2023 show season. Awarding a $1,000 Cash Riding Bursary, waived stall and entry fees, VIP passes and more, the prestigious scholarship is awarded annually to “individuals who exemplify hard work, dedication to the sport of equestrian, good sportsmanship, philanthropy, and leadership.”

“That has been absolutely wonderful for the first four days that I’ve had it!” Martinoff said. “It’s amazing to have a VIP Timberframe pass, and it’s been really great to not have the pressure to pay my show bill. I think I ride better like that!”

$2,500 Emily Sandhack Realty Open Classic 1.35m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time

  1. Calloway / Ayla Martinoff / CAN / Ayla Martinoff / 0/0 39.8
  2. Zaza Z / Sarah Lottis / CAN / Kevin Lottis / 0/0 39.91
  3. Bless You BFE / Jaehee John / KOR / Brother Fortune Equestrian Ltd / 0/0 42.51
  4. Cassius Z / Gareth Graves / CAN / Jillian Halina / 0/0 43.36
  5. Comme Tu Veux Z / Ashley Papalia / CAN / Ashley Papalia / 0/8 45.03
  6. A Crown Royale / Ayla Martinoff / CAN / Ayla Martinoff / 4 72.49
  7. Jolie / Gareth Graves / CAN / Jillian Halina / 4 73.24
  8. Icone FP / Alexander Grayton / CAN / Spruce Meadows Ltd / 8 74.69
  9. Ecolano vs Romano / Georgia Knight / CAN / Georgia Knight / 27 101.2

Pedersen Tops New Stride TB Jumper Challenge

There was just one clear round in the $1,500 New Stride TB Jumper Challenge Friday afternoon. Maya Pedersen (CAN) and From the Ashes executed their two rounds on a confident, forward rhythm to secure the victory in the .85m competition, exclusively for Thoroughbreds.

The winning time was 37.83 seconds. Kim Boyle (USA) and Split the Difference finished second with a single rail in the jump-off (4/31.25). Mikayla Lippert (CAN) and Nevada secured third with five faults in the first round.

“It was about going in [the ring] and going through [the course] nice and forward,” said Pedersen, who trains with Jonathan Mahon. “We had a forward and flowing round, and it was a fun course to ride.”

Pedersen purchased From the Ashes, aptly nicknamed “Phoenix,” after the horse was restarted as a sport horse following two seasons of racing. Foaled in Kentucky, he made his way to Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver for his racing career and ultimately remained in the province. Last year, Pedersen and Phoenix finished second in the New Stride TB Jumper Challenge Finale at tbird.

New Stride is a registered charity dedicated to finding adoptive homes and new careers for former Thoroughbred racehorses. To date, they have re-homed 180 Thoroughbreds.

“I’m just so happy with the whole experience [today],” Pedersen said.

Competition at the April Season Opener continues Saturday with the Emily Sandhack Realty Open Classic 1.35m and the Desert International Horse Park Canadian Hunter Derby.

All classes in the Thunderbird Jumper Arena stream live daily on

This One’s on tbird: Fifty Free Weeks of Horse Showing Kick Off at April Season Opener

Langley, BC – For professional Holly Grayton, the start of the 2023 show season at Thunderbird Show Park will forever be synonymous with a big win—in the show office!

She and her husband Alex Grayton own and operate Grayton Farms out of Calgary, Alberta and migrate to Langley each year, compiling a lot of entries for their stable.

At the April Season Opener, they’ll have one less entry to pay for. Holly’s mount Baron Genius will compete for free, thanks to a new initiative in honor of Thunderbird Show Park’s 50th Anniversary: tbird Picks Up the Tab.

Every Friday during each of tbird’s 10 major show tournaments, five exhibitors will be chosen at random to receive a free entry at the horse show. Throughout the course of the season, tbird will pay for 50 entries total.

This week, in addition to Grayton, Jordyn Wilkins (Cornet Flight), Riley Bate (Danton), Austyn Thorsteinson (Notable) and Heidi Seidelhuber (Shadowfax) were winners when the random draw was conducted Friday. The group is represented by a range of professional, junior and amateur riders across a variety of divisions: Wilkins is entered in the Children’s Jumper division; Bate will contest the Low Children’s Jumpers; Seidelhuber is entered in the Small/Large Working Hunter; and Thorsteinson is set for the Short Stirrup.

Grayton and Baron Genius will compete in the Open 1.20m this week—all on on tbird’s tab.

“It’s just so nice,” Grayton said. “Baron Genius is a horse I’ve had forever, and sometimes I feel guilty bringing him on the road, because it’s just for fun. When tbird picked up the tab this week, it took all that guilt away.”

Every horse entered at tbird is automatically added to the draw each week. Check back next Friday to see who tbird picks up the tab for next!

Keith Stands Alone at the Top in CSIU25-A MarBill Hill U25 Grand Prix

Langley, BC – On the final day of the BCHJA Fall Finale at Thunderbird Show Park, Kassidy Keith (CAN) stood in a familiar place—at the top of the U25 division.

Last year’s MarBill Hill U25 League champion, Keith and her 9-year-old stallion Fenelon WF produced the only clear round in the CSIU25-A MarBill Hill U25 Grand Prix 1.40m to take the victory. The win clinched her the series title for the second year in a row.

With no jump-off necessary, Jarne Francken (BEL) and Gogolinus finished second as the fastest four-faulters from the first round (78.58). Emily Fitzgerald (CAN) and Coco du Houlbec Z finished third (4/80.56).

“For me, at the start of the year, this [series] wasn’t a goal of mine. I thought we would maybe get there at the end of the year,” Keith said. “[Fenelon WF] really flourished over the summer. “He had a day off [yesterday], and today—you can tell when he comes into the warm-up ring [that he’s ready]—he’s a little cheeky. He always puts 110 percent into it; he never gives minimum effort.”

With Sunday’s class serving as the series finale, Keith quickly understood she was walking a technical track, and when “Flex” jumped into the five-strided line at fence four, he spooked off the ground, requiring Keith to react and ride forward through the line. Navigating that challenge successfully, Flex immediately returned his focus to his rider, and the rest of the track came up beautifully in stride.

“He came back and rode so good the rest of the course,” Keith said. “It was technical—for him especially. It was one of the more technical courses he’s jumped.”

While securing the series title wasn’t novel for Keith, it was certainly meaningful. Kassidy and her mother, Cheryl Keith run their Keepsake Farms together out of Langley Township, BC, and Cheryl picked out “Flex” as a five-year-old in Alberta.

The Keiths have certainly proven to have a knack for developing horses, having also produced last year’s U25 Champion, Havana, who is now jumping at the CSI3* level. There is more in the pipeline; the Keiths bred Havana and Fenelon WF via embryo transfer and have a 6-month-old colt named Finn.

“It means a lot. My mom and I have developed this horse. He’s really her horse; he’s one she picked out,” Kassidy said. “There’s a lot invested. I think he really rose to the occasion today, and he tries his heart out for me.”

Kassidy Keith and Fenelon WF stand for the winner’s presentation. Photo ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

$25,000 CSIU25-A MarBill Hill U25 Grand Prix 1.40m
Place / Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time

  1. Fenelon WF / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Cheryl Keith / 0 76.39
  2. Gogolinus / Jarne Francken / BEL / Brylee Dickie / 4 78.58
  3. Coco du Houlbec Z / Emily Fitzgerald / CAN / Emily Fitzgerald / 4 80.56
  4. Princesa / Shaelynn Enders / CAN / Joyce Enders / 4 84.07
  5. Barack / Reid Pankewicz / CAN / Reid Pankewicz / 8 81.50
  6. Deister Z / Olivia Stephenson / CAN / Olivia Stephenson / 20 85.64
  7. Cella / Taylor Winther Blair / CAN / Sorine Blair / 33 96.15
  8. VIP des Majuros / Carly Stevens / CAN / Grant & Susie Stevens / EL