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Walk the Line and Lillie Keenan Victorious in Antarés Large Junior 16-17 Hunters

RELEASE: March 17, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Wellington, FL - Walk the Line and Lillie Keenan clinched the championship title in the Antarés Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division during week 10 of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). Keenan and Walk the Line were a force to be reckoned with over fences, winning three of four over fences rounds. Keenan and Don Stewart's fourteen-year-old gelding were also fourth over fences during day one of competition for the division.

Reserve champion honors went to Norgan, Inc.'s Capstone, ridden by Sydney Shulman. Shulman and Capstone were third and first over fences day one and placed third day two in all three classes, including an under saddle and two over fences rounds.

The owner-rider champion was Perfectionist and Cloe Hymowitz. Hymowitz also picked up reserve owner-rider honors with Garfield, co-owned by Alexandra Crown.

Keenan is currently at the top of the circuit championship standings with her other Large Junior mount, Madison, but considers Walk the Line to be equally as talented. "Madison tends to win the hacks, but Walk the Line has a very striking jump. When he goes over the fence, it almost makes you open your eyes a little more. There's a 'wow' factor to how he goes over each fence," Keenan described.

"I'm very lucky because both of my Large Juniors are very fancy," Keenan continued. "Both of them are a lot of fun to ride. They have a lot of similarities, but are still quite different. Walk the Line is a little quirky, but I like that about him. I think we match really well."

While Keenan dominates junior divisions in hunters, jumpers, and equitation classes on a number of competitive mounts, she especially appreciates Walk the Line's desire to be the best. "I know that every time he goes in the ring he wants to win. All of my horses are like that but it is especially true for him. It's nice to know that every time you go in the ring, he wants to do well," Keenan commented.

Keenan is quick to credit the gelding's success to the exceptional support she receives from owner Don Stewart's daughter, Erin. "Don is in Ocala right now and I go back to school every week. Erin does a wonderful job with him during the week. She comes to the ring and helps me with him, along with everyone at Heritage [Farm]," Keenan remarked.

Keenan juggles her time between attending the Spence School in her native New York City and competing at the FTI WEF every weekend in Wellington, a feat that she realizes would not be possible without the incredible support system she is surrounded by.

"I care a lot about my schoolwork and my grades. I'm expected to do really well by my family and I expect it of myself." the fifteen-year-old explained.

"It's definitely difficult but I'm very lucky. My family makes sure that I have all the opportunity to come [to Florida] every week and my school is wonderful about letting me miss Fridays. Heritage is amazing at making sure when I come back from school the horses are ready. Without everyone's help-and it's a lot of help-this would not be possible," Keenan acknowledged.

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