BAHAMIAN show jumper Kacy Lyn Smith and her horse Chicago M won the Farewell Competition at the FEI North American Youth Jumping Championships in Traverse City, Michigan.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography
AFTER a week of highs and lows at the FEI North American Youth Jumping Championships in Traverse City, Michigan, Bahamian show jumper Kacy Lyn Smith and her horse Chicago M finished strong by winning the Farewell Competition, riding a clear round in 76.47 seconds to place ahead of USA rider Savannah Embly aboard So Live Helau.
As the first rider ever to represent The Bahamas at the FEI North American Youth Jumping Championships, 16-year-old Smith competed in the Pre-Junior category and joined riders from Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and the USA in jumping multiple rounds over four days of gruelling team and individual competition.
The first day of competition went well, with Smith and Chicago M jumping a clear round in 69.96 seconds, leaving them standing 20th overall.
However, disaster struck on the second day, when the pair failed to clear the challenging course and were eliminated from the Final.
Smith expressed her disappointment, at the same time acknowledging that her performance was a learning experience.
“I rode every day for weeks before [the Final] without stirrups to really strengthen my leg, but I think it’s something I just need to continue to work on,” she said. “I think more experience at 1.30m will also help.”
Nonetheless, Smith had nothing but praise for her partner, Chicago M, a 12-year old Holsteiner.
“He really tried to get over the bar,” she said about the horse.
“I just couldn’t stay with him.”
The pair may not have qualified for the Individual Finals, but they were still eligible to compete against other non-Finalists in the Farewell Competition.
Determined to go out on a high note, they jumped a smooth, clear round for the win. Despite her disappointment over missing the Individual Final, Smith expressed her pleasure with the result, not just for herself but for the opportunity to raise an awareness of Bahamian equestrian athletes.
“I am happy we got to put in a good round for The Bahamas,” she said.
“There was a lot of work that went into this…I’ve had so many people say something to me while being here…I’m so grateful to ride under the flag!”