The morning after one of the biggest late night displays of thunder and lightning anyone can remember started bright and early at 7 am. The new footing in the Dixon Oval had passed the downpour test with flying colors, and it was ready for the 110 rounds of the ASPCA Maclay that awaited it.
The order of go was a virtual who's who of equitation superstars, including all of yesterday's winners. Would they prevail on day 2, or would new players be walking down victory lane? The class was divided into 3 divisions, Section A being the largest with 41, followed by Section B with 39 and Section C with 30 exhibitors. The competition was going to be stiff, and family and friends were on the rail of the Dixon Oval to support their favorite Junior(s).
Thirteen year old Lillie Keenan of New York had the advantage of going toward the end of Section A and used the opportunity to watch how her fellow competitors were dealing with the demanding course. Having finished 2nd in the USEF and 3rd the WIHS classes on Thursday, Lillie and her trainer Andre Dignelli had set their sights on a win in the Maclay. "The more I watched, I realized how difficult the course was. My horse is such a great horse. A lot of horses were stopping at the shadow box, but he just went in the ring and felt like he wanted to do well. He knows his job, and he knows when he's been good."
Keenan loves to show at Devon, and has been attending for as long as she can remember. A fixture in the pony ring, this year is a bit different, as she has a hunter and an equitation horse. Riding lots of ponies in the past was pretty hectic for Keenan, so she is taking full advantage of a less demanding schedule to enjoy the show with her family.
"My mom (Pam Carmichael Keenan) used to show here, and it was her favorite show too. "Hasbrouck Donovan winner of Section B and Molly Braswell winner of Section C echoed Keenan's sentiments; a win at Devon is a huge accomplishment, no matter how successful a rider has been.
When the points were tabulated for the winner of the R.W. Ronnie Mutch Equitation Championship Challenge Trophy, it was not one winner, but three Co-Champions that will have their names engraved on the trophy for 2010. Lillie Keenan, Hayley Barnhill and Karen Polle were in a three way tie for the award with 17 points each, confirming the depth of talent competing in the Dixon Oval.
Photos: Lillie Keenan Sec A Maclay Winner, Hasbrouck Donovan Sec B Maclay Winner, L.Keenan, K. Polle, H. Barnhill-RW Mutch