Devon Showcases - Lillie Keenan

Winner of the A.S.P.C.A. Maclay Horsemanship Class Section B

This fourteen-year-old resident of New York City is the second generation of her family to show at Devon, following in the footsteps of her mother, who to this day never misses one of Lillie's shows.

Trained by Andre Dignelli and Patricia Griffith, Lillie says even after showing at Devon for the last seven years, she still gets nervous riding in the Dixon Oval. "I started watching Section A of the Maclay, then after watching about fifteen rounds, I decided to go back, kind of step away from it, kind of not think about it for a bit which really helped.  I had to remind myself to stay calm.  In between the fences and on the turns, I had to remember to take a minute and not get ahead of myself."

What is it about the Dixon Oval that has this effect on this wise-beyond-her-years veteran?  "I really feel that when you walk in there you're all alone and you know there are people all around you throughout the stadium watching you.  It's a feeling, the horse senses it, and knows you're aware of it.  You really have to be confident enough in yourself, and also the horse, to be comfortable enough to go in there and execute the course and do everything as planned."

Lillie says her mom is the one who calms her down when she shows here. "She did this for a while, she did it as a Junior just like I do and even though it was very different, it was still Devon. "

An eighth grader, Keenan balances showing and school though here commitment to both. "This takes a lot of commitment to be able to practice enough to come here and feel confident and execute the course.  But my grades are really important to me, all my academics are.  It's tough but it's worth it.  If I just rode and did school half-heartedly, I wouldn't be as good at riding.  I feel like the more you do, the better you're going to be at what you do."