Wellington, Florida, USA – June 22, 2020 – This past weekend concluded the ESP June Spring Series with a final day of Equitation competition on Wednesday, June 17, and four days of USEF “A” National & Jumper 4* competition. The feature class of the weekend was the $24,999 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix, which took place on the Derby Field Annex and saw a total of 36 exhibitors contest the track, designed by Andy Christiansen (ECU).
Ultimately, it was Lillie Keenan (USA) who came out on top, capturing both first and second place. Wearing the blue ribbon was Chansonette Farm‘s eight-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Casall x Clarimo) who stopped the jump-off timers at just 41.674 seconds. Earlier in the class, Keenan piloted Agana Van Het Gerendal Z, also owned by Chansonette Farm LLC, to a 43.52-second finish for second place.
Hilary McNerney (USA) and her mount Captain Cooper secured third in 49.595 seconds. The only other pair to put in a double clear effort was Alejandro Karolyi (VEN) aboard Monica Carrera’s Lincourt Gino.
“I got Cazaan a little less than a year ago,” commented Keenan after her double win. “He is phenomenal, but we’ve never gone fast, so that’s something I’ve really tried to work on in these last three weeks. Sometimes I’m too much of a perfectionist, so I rarely really give the horses a chance to jump out of a gallop in the jump-off, I’m always trying to set them up too much. So, I really tried to use these few weeks here to push myself out of that comfort zone. Today I really asked everything of [Cazaan] and he completely delivered, so I couldn’t be happier. I’m very grateful for the ESP staff for making this happen because it’s an amazing setting for us to get a great experience with young horses and try some things.”
Originally, Keenan planned to return to her home state of New York after the winter season in Wellington, but had to change plans once the pandemic began. “We were going to go back so I could continue training with McLain Ward (USA), but my home up there is right in New York City so it was a tumultuous time to go back there, and I’m glad we stayed. This series at PBIEC gave me the opportunity to grow in my own riding and push my younger horses. Normally these horses would never have had the opportunity to jump at this level on a grass field, so I think that’s a silver lining to all this and having these shows. I think it’s something we’ll consider for next year’s competition schedule as well.”
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Source: Press release from ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions.
Photos: © ESP / Anne Gittins Photography