Kassidy Keith (CAN) has a new man in town.
After winning the MarBill Hill U25 in July with Havana at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, BC, she came in strong aboard her new mount, Fenelon WF, this week. The pair captured second in the MarBill Hill opening jump-off class Thursday and used the fuel to light a fire and take the win Saturday in the $5,000 MarBill Hill U25 1.40m.
“He’s Irish so I feel like he’s got no real limit until you test him,” she said of the nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion (Flexible x Capone). “He’s very short and supple, kind of like a sports car.”
Keith values her long term partnerships, and Fenelon WF is no different. She’s had the ride since he was five years old, when she stumbled upon him while horse shopping for clients.
“We weren’t actually looking for a horse to buy for me,” Keith, 24. “We were looking for clients and he caught my eye in the barn because he was so handsome. We asked if we could sit on him and they said, “No, he’s not for sale.” Then they watched me ride another horse and said, “Okay, we would sell him.”’
With no prior show record, Keith got to develop Fenelon into what she wanted. She imagined he would be a fabulous sales prospect for the 1.30m height, but the horse has far surpassed expectations. Moving him up into the MarBill Hill U25 division, he’s already making an impact and taken top results.
Over Peter Holmes’ (CAN) speed track, the pair prioritized a smooth, efficient ride and that was enough to take the win by nearly three seconds. The stallion’s careful nature kept them as the fastest of only three clear rounds, with Stella Chernoff (CAN) and Connador taking second and Katie Kehring and Edesa’s Filippo TZ finishing third.
Keith is also campaigning her longtime partner Havana at the Summer Fort Festival in the CSI2* division, and she admits having a second horse at the top level is benefitting both herself and the development of her two horses.
“I find it really helpful that I have two to do that now,” she explained. “ The U25 classes give me so much experience because I can get in the ring three times a week. It’s helping me practice and I can get competitive on [Fenelon] now because he is more experienced. These classes are so good for him too in that sense.
“I have so much experience with Havana jumping 1.40m so I jump Havana FEI and use her to jump bigger, and I use this horse to get in the ring throughout the week to practice,” she elaborated.
Every experience with each horse influences the way she rides the next, especially if elements of the courses are the same when she competes over similar tracks on the same day. On Sunday at the Summer Fort Festival, she’ll compete the horses in back-to-back classes, aiming Fenelon WF for the $15,000 MarBill Hill U25 1.40m Grand Prix and Havana for the week’s feature event, the $50,000 Paladin Risk Solutions CSI2* Grand Prix.