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Lillie Keenan Rides to Top of $5,000 Equitation Classic presented by AIG/Kaplow Insurance Agency

RELEASE: May 12, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Lillie Keenan and Clearway (The Book LLC)
Lillie Keenan and Clearway (The Book LLC)
North Salem, NY
– Capturing her third major equitation win of the year, 15-year-old Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, and Heritage Farm's Clearway stood in the winner's circle for the $5,000 Equitation Classic presented by AIG/Kaplow Insurance Agency with Heritage Farm. The event was the highlight of the Saturday schedule during the first week of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show. The first week of competition concludes tomorrow with the biggest event of the week, the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by Suncast, at 3 pm. The second week of the Spring Shows continues on May 14-19.

Keenan, who is no stranger to winning big equitation classes, moved up in the second round of competition for victory. She and Clearway, an eight-year-old Warmblood gelding by Cheenook, had a first round score of 92, and with a forward and precise ride in the second round, the judges awarded them with a score of 96. Her total of 188 was more than enough for first place.

The top 12 from the first round were asked back for a second round of competition over a course designed by Guilherme Jorge. A tight time allowed asked more from competitors, as did the higher than usual equitation jumps. Michael Hughes and Zagreb set the winning score in the first round of 94, and their score of 90 in the second round gave them a total of 184 for second place.

Mattias Tromp and Vosquinus had an 83 in the first round and improved to an 86 in the second for a third place total of 169. Allison Toffolon rode Class Action to scores of 86 and 82 for a total of 168 and fourth place. The top four riders in the class were awarded jackets from Beval Ltd.

After winning two big equitation classes during the winter, Keenan has added yet another accomplishment to her impressive career. This is the second year in a row that Keenan has won this class. However, this year she had to make an adjustment when the class was moved to the sand Annex Ring due to inclement weather.

She explained, “I changed horses. I was going to ride Levistano, but I used Clearway instead. I rode him in the Medal and Maclay today in the other ring and he won both of those, so he was ready. He probably would have been fine out on the grass, but I'm used to riding him in a sand ring. There wasn't an open water and it was similar to a Washington jumper phase, so he is the type of horse I would choose for these types of classes. I felt very comfortable. I love being out on the field and unfortunately it was raining, but they still made it a great class and I had a lot of fun.”

Keenan was one of few who were able to make it under the time allowed for the class, and it was something that gave her pause when studying the course. “The time was very tight,” she conceded. “I don't ride Clearway in many timed events. I wasn't totally sure if I was going to be able to easily make it under. I knew I was going to have to work for it. His stride is gimongous – it needs it's own word! He can really hit a gallop and go. There's nothing to worry about with him. I knew I could trust him and ask him to extend, even in the turns, because he's so well trained. With the time, I thought just hit a gallop and keep it.”

Clearway showed beautiful form and soared over the higher than usual equitation jumps. Keenan said that he was impressed by the jumps, but his scope and ability made it easy for him. “The first few big oxers in the schooling area I had to readjust because I wasn't used to being pitched that much,” she smiled. “They built this course bigger than most of the courses I do on him. It doesn't matter for him, but it does wake him up a little bit. It's not in a bad way; he just really uses himself.”

After another win, Keenan said it gives her “a lot of confidence” going into the prestigious Devon Horse Show. “Last year I won this class (and) I had a great Devon in the equitation. Luckily I'll be able to continue to use Clearway. I know him very well now. Hopefully we continue on this streak,” she said.

Final Results: $5,000 Equitation Classic presented by AIG/Kaplow Insurance Agency with Heritage Farm
1. Lillie Keenan, Clearway: 92+96=188
2. Michael Hughes, Zagreb: 94+90=184
3. Mattias Tromp, Vosquinus: 86+83=169
4. Allison Toffolon, Class Action: 82+86=168
5. Diederique van der Knaap, Rico: 81.5+83.5=165
6. Kelli Cruciotti, Monterrey: 85+76=161
7. Maya Nayyar, Bellagio: 80+80=160
8. Brittni Raflowitz, Jet Streak K: 84+72=156
9. Sophie Michaels, Coco: 77+78=155
10. McKayla Langmeier, Czar-Z: 80.5+74=154.5
11. Brianne Link, Spock: 81+62=143
12. Katherine Strauss, Atlantic: 78+0=78