Keith and Havana Turn Up the Heat in tbird Grand Prix

If Kassidy Keith (CAN) experienced a sense of deja vu Sunday at Thunderbird Show Park, it wouldn’t surprise many—certainly not those in attendance at the $10,000 tbird Grand Prix 1.40m at the Spring Festival.

For the second consecutive week, Keith and her longtime mount Havana led the victory lap following the feature class of the week’s competition. Besting a five-horse jump-off, the pair cruised around Chris Jones’ (CAN) shortened track in 42.17 seconds for a comfortable victory.

Kassidy Keith (CAN) and Havana. Photo ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

Sarah Lottis (CAN) and Rhapsody finished second (43.62 seconds), with Jaehee Jeon (KOR) and Kadans van de Mispelaere third (45.73).

“[Havana is] so game. When she’s on it, she really doesn’t want to let you down,” Keith said.

There was a turning point in Sunday’s jump-off. Keith was happy with how her horse jumped the first fence, but a sharp angle to the following oxer led to a lot of airtime. Upon landing, Keith knew she had to apply some extra leg.

From there, the pair turned the heat up, navigating the winding track swiftly and accurately. In fact, they almost turned too fast.

“We almost slipped inside after the oxer (the penultimate fence), because I caught it on such a hard angle!” Keith exclaimed.

But Keith didn’t need to take that much risk to secure another win. She and her mount took the longer route and expediently navigated the final vertical, crossing the timers more than a second fastest. Having now jumped their first 1.60m Grand Prix in the fall, the pair’s confidence at 1.40m is evident.

“I think the biggest change in [Havana], is that she’s so much better in the turns,” Keith said. “She used to jump so high in the air, and I was basically hanging on. Now, she so smooth, especially at this height. She jumps hard, for sure, [but] when she kicks out [on course], I know it’s going to be a good day!”

Kassidy Keith (CAN) and Havana stand for the winner’s presentation. Photo ©tbird/Quinn Saunders

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

  1. Havana / Kassidy Keith / CAN / Cheryl Keith / 0/0 42.17
  2. Rhapsody / Sarah Lottis / CAN / Kevin Lottis / 0/0 43.62
  3. Kadans van de Mispelaere / Jaehee Jeon / KOR / 0/0 45.73
  4. Jericho / Laure Jane Tidball / CAN / Thunderbird Show Park Ltd / 0/0 47.11
  5. Cunningham 4 / Christopher Lowe / CAN / Christopher Lowe / 0/0 48.80
  6. Heartvit ZH / Tracey Epp / CAN / Tracey Epp / 4 78.53
  7. Dustin 254 / Aren Ozker / CAN / Aren Ozker / 4 82.5
  8. Buddy Bounce / Darrin Dlin / CAN / Dorothy Dlin / 4 84.81
  9. Pesgo Adelheid Z / Lily van Elliot / CAN / Yvonne van Duin/ 7 89.82
  10. Iowa B / Travis Root / USA / Lindsay Wendt / 8 84.38