Up-and-coming Calgarian heads into National on a high with Nations Cup gold

Kara Chad, just 18, a big part of the future (and the present) in Canadian equestrian

Kara Chad is part of the future of show jumping in Canada, but if recent results are any indication, that future may be now.

The 18-year-old Calgarian, a graduate of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in 2013, made her Nations Cup debut last month as a member of the Canadian team that won a gold medal at the Furusiyya FEI event at Xalapa, Mexico.

“It was absolutely incredible to be able to go onto my first senior Nations Cup team; it’s definitely a career-defining moment for a rider,” explained Chad, who is competing at the 2014 Spruce Meadows National. “And to go into it with such experienced teammates, Ian Millar and Chris Sorensen and Jonathan Millar. They were great, so supportive and welcoming, and I couldn’t have asked for better teammates. I loved the team spirit and the camaraderie . . . it was a great first experience and I’m lucky that I did as well as I did.”

Chad, in fact, went double clear atop Alberto II, her partner for the past three years.

“Going into it it’s definitely very nerve-racking, at the same time you just need to make sure you have confidence in your horse and yourself,” she described. “Go in there almost pretending like it’s another horse show. When you look at it, that’s what it is, just another horse show.

“To be able to add that to your resume is exciting. It’s always something you look forward to as a rider, even when I was a younger, as being on the Nations Cup team internationally. To accomplish that is super, definitely opens your eyes up to the future.”

A future, Chad hopes, that will include more of those scenarios.

“After the Nations Cup, it opens your eyes up to things like the World Equestrian Games, the Olympics,” she said. “I’m saying there’s definitely way more accomplished people out there in Canada who should represent, but you keep it in the back of your mind, you think about it, and if the opportunity presents itself you grab onto it.”

Chad and her sister Bretton, 20, are sponsoring a new initiative at Spruce Meadows this season, the Y2 Junior Rider Award. The siblings will jointly contribute $20,000 from their prize winnings to the development of international junior riders (18 and under) competing at Spruce Meadows during the five summer tournaments in 2014 and 2015.

“It’s a youth-to-youth award,” she described. “We just want to help the youth grow in the sport and be able to experience the sport like my sister and I did.”


Calgary Herald - Jun 3, 2014

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