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Hometown: New York, New York
Born: April 10, 1996
Growing up, Lillie Keenan played almost every sport and a lot of instruments, but had a hard time finding something that she truly loved to do. After months of prodding her mother, who had ridden as a kid, Keenan got on a pony when she was six years old and she hasn’t looked back since. She began training at the age of seven with famed trainer Andre Dignelli, with whom she trained for 12 years. During that time she earned numerous accolades and equestrian titles in the pony, hunter, jumper, and equitation divisions, and has continued her winning ways in the Grand Prix ring against the world’s top horses and riders. Her talent, focus, and determination have made her a role model for young riders across the nation.
Keenan’s bigger titles started at the 2010 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) where she won the Equitation Classic. The following year she won the USHJA Hunter Derby Finals and took fifth place in the 2011 USET Talent Search East. An excellent performance aboard “Vanhattan” at the 2012 North American Junior and Rider Championships secured Keenan a Team Gold medal and individual fifth place. She went on to win the 2012 North American Equitation Championship and was Reserve Champion in both the USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final and ASPCA Maclay Final.
2013 was a massive year for Keenan. She won both the Individual and Team Gold medals at the North American Young Rider Championships with “Londinium” and then clinched the two most prestigious junior equitation titles in the country – the USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final and Maclay Final – a feat that few riders have achieved. She also made her debut in internationally-rated jumping classes, earning top-ten placings at the Hampton Classic, WIHS, and National Horse Show. Keenan was also crowned Grand Junior Hunter Champion at the Devon Horse Show and Reserve Champion at the U.S. Junior Hunter National Championships, so it was no surprise that she was awarded the 2013 Junior Equestrian of the Year by the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF).
In 2014, Keenan began proving herself as a contender in the grand prix ring. At the Hampton Classic, she and “Balance” took second place in the $20,000 Hampton Classic Jumper Challenge and third place in the $40,000 Longines Cup. At the National Horse Show, Keenan took fifth place in the $250,000 Canadian Pacific Grand Prix World Cup qualifier and Keenan was awarded with the show’s Sportsmanship Award. She then made her Nations Cup debut competing for Team USA at Ascona, Switzerland, and in Bratislava, Slovakia, where Keenan was the team anchor.
Keenan began her 2015 season with several top placings at WEF before heading to Europe where she competed successfully in the U.K. at the Harthill-Bolesworth CSI2* before taking a third place with “Super Sox” in the Tom Hudson Derby Trophy at the Hickstead CSI4*. She also scored second place in the Chantilly CSI2* in France. The USET awarded Keenan the 2015 Lionel Guerrand-Hermès Trophy which is presented to a young rider in one of the Olympic disciplines who exemplifies both sportsmanship and horsemanship. At just 19 years old, Keenan turned professional while a freshman at Harvard University. That summer she also made the move to train with Ireland’s Olympic Bronze medalist Cian O’Connor at his Karlswood Stables near Frankfurt, Germany, where she took on a new training regime.
Keenan’s work with O’Connor began paying off early in 2017. She took third place in both the $380,000 Douglas Elliman CSI5* Grand Prix at WEF and the HITS Great American $1 Million Grand Prix with “Super Sox.” She was presented with the 2016 Maxine Beard Award by the USEF, which is presented to young riders who show great potential to represent the U.S. in Nations Cup competitions and international championships. She again focused on European competitions, where she took first and third place in the Under 25 classes in La Baule, France and third place in the Sancourt CSI2* Grand Prix. At the Hickstead CSIO5*, Keenan and “Super Sox” took third place in the King George V Gold Cup. She also competed in several Nations Cup competitions, and her clear round aboard “Super Sox” in the Nations Cup Final CSIO5* in Barcelona, Spain, helped Team USA clinch the bronze medal. The pair also took fourth place in the Negrita Cup at the event.
Keenan had a great start to WEF 2017, claiming victory in the $25,000 Hollow Creek Farm U25 Grand Prix with “Be Gentle” and taking second place in the $130,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup CSI5* with “Skyhorse.” She and her long-standing partner “Super Sox” then took fourth place in $216,000 Wanderers Club CSI4* Grand Prix and 12th place in AIG $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Coachella before helping the U.S. Team win the Silver medal in the $100,000 FEI Nations Cup™ CSIO4* at HITS Ocala. In April 2017 Keenan purchased Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum’s top horse “Fibonacci 17,” the horse on whom she won a Team Bronze medal for Germany at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Following the new addition to her top-string of horses, Keenan began competing on the Global Champions League as a member of the ‘Paris Panthers’ alongside Ireland’s Darragh Kenny, Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, and U.S. riders Jack Towell and Jennifer Gates. She was the star of the Wiesbaden CSI4* in June, claiming one victory, two second places, and a third in the Grand Prix with “Fibonacci 17.” In November she and “Fibonacci” were highly competitive at the Doha CSI5* in Qatar, taking fourth place against a top field of riders in the final event of the 15-leg tour.
Keenan was also a member of the Hermès U.S. Show Jumping Team that won several Nations Cup competitions across the globe. She was part of the historic winning all-female team that claimed the prestigious Aga Khan Trophy for the first time (and the seventh time for the U.S.) at the Dublin Horse Show. Keenan competed alongside Beezie Madden, Lauren Hough, and Laura Kraut. A month later she was part of the victorious U.S. team that clinched the gold medal in the BMO Nations Cup in front of more than 80,000 show jumping fans at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ CSIO5* Tournament in September.
Keenan started off her 2018 season successfully at WEF with numerous placings including second place on “Skyhorse” in the $70,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI2*, third place in the $35,000 Hollow Creek 1.50m Classic CSI 3* aboard “Concho.”
She and “Super Sox” took seventh place in the $205,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSIO4* at WEF before heading off to Ocala where they finished the winter circuit season in grand style, taking second place over a top field of 43 horse and rider combinations in the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Ocala, the second jewel in the HITS Triple Crown of show jumping.
Keenan continued to compete on 2018 Global Champions Tour (GCT) as part of a new team “New York Empire.” She is competing alongside countryman Georgina Bloomberg, Scott Brash (GBR), Cian O’Connor (IRL) and David Will (BEL). At the GCT Saint Tropez in June, Keenan and “Super Sox” came in seventh in the Longines Grand Prix CSI5* against the world’s top horses and riders, with a 13th place team finish.
In the spring, Keenan was named to the Short List for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ U.S. Show Jumping Team. Keenan spent the summer competing in Europe on the Global Champions Tour at various shows such as Weisbaden and Hamburg in Germany, Paris, Chantilly and St. Tropez in France to name a few. She won the Champion Sentower Grand Prix at Opglabbeek CSI2* in Belgium aboard her top horse “Fibonacci.”
In 2019, Keenan earned a string of top placings at the famed Devon Horse Show CSI4*. She rode “Chaccolette” to third place in the $72,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake and fourth place in the $36,000 Devon International Speed Stake. She also rode “Ikea” to the runner-up spot in the $36,000 Devon Speed Derby, and “Fasther” into 10th place in the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon.
At the Hickstead CSIO5* in England in July, Keenan and “Fasther” finished eighth in The Bunn Leisure International Stakes and 12th in the famed Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup.