Saugerties, NY — After three rounds of competition, Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, returned to the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium at HITS-on-the-Hudson to accept champion awards with not one, but two horses in the 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast. Keenan claimed the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under Champion award as well as overall Grand Champion on Don Stewart’s Confidential with an overall score of 89.37. She also captured the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under title in the irons of Chansonette Farm LLC’s Madison, to post an overall Reserve Grand Champion score of 87.83.
“These horses were up to the challenge,” said Keenan. “They are a really special pair and winning both champion and reserve was unexpected and exciting.”
Adding to Keenan’s list of accolades, she also rode Madison to win the War Dress Memorial Trophy, awarded to the high score mare of the Championship.
At 14 years old, Keenan, who trains with Andre Dignelli at Heritage Farm, proved that age is irrelevant, beating all riders in both older divisions to take home Reserve Grand and Grand Champion honors. While age may not play an important role in success, Stewart admits that genetics do.
“This is second nature for Lillie,” said Stewart. “She comes from a family of champions, as do these horses.”