Avalon and Lillie Keenan Claim Junior Hunter Grand Championship

Monday, July 9, 2012
Posted by Phelps Media Group


Devon, PA - July 8, 2012 - On the final day of the Brandywine Valley Summer Series presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS), the Junior Hunter and Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter divisions wrapped up their competition. With multiple blue ribbons in the Large 15 & Under Junior Hunters, Lillie Keenan and Avalon took home the Junior Hunter Grand Championship.
Earlier in the day, Tina Furey and French Kiss were the winners of the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over 3'3" Hunter Championship, as well as the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter Grand Championship and the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over 3'3" Hunter Circuit Championship. Today's other tricolor victors included Jane Maguire, Taylor Willever, and Barbara Ann Merryman

It was a great weekend for Lillie Keenan and Avalon, an entry owned by Visse Wedell of North Salem, NY, and trained by Bill Schaub of Over the Hill. The pair tackled the Large 15 & Under Junior Hunter division, and proved to be a dominating force as they picked up three first place ribbons, a second place ribbon, and a third place ribbon. Not only did they win the Large 15 & Under Junior Hunter Championship, but they also claimed the division's Circuit Championship and the Junior Hunter Grand Championship. Following with the win in the handy class was Kendall Burdette and Wilco, owned by, Caren Seidle of Wayne, PA, to earn the reserve championship.

"I've shown Avalon a couple times and he's really awesome," noted Keenan. "He's very fun and he knows what he is doing, so he just wants you to stay out of his way. He's done this enough that I just have to tell him where he is going. He'll have a break after this, but our next show might be the Hampton Classic. Avalon is very spoiled, but he totally deserves it."

Earlier in the day, Barbara Ann Merryman and Lilly, owned by Kimberly Stewart of Jefferson, MD, were named champions of the Large 16-17 Junior Hunter division. The pair earned two first place ribbons as well as two second place ribbons for the special honor. At the end of the day Merryman was also named Best Child Rider on a Horse. A first, second, and third place ribbon for Kathleen Fisher of West Chester, PA, and North Shore was good enough for the reserve championship. The pair was also last week's Junior Hunter Grand Champions, and took home the division's Circuit Championship.

"Lilly is just a baby, so she was amazing this week," said Merryman. "She needs a little confidence, but she's very brave. She can be a little pokey so you need to keep your leg on her. The turns were tight in the handy round, but she really handled it nicely. This is her first year doing the 3'6" divisions, so she still needs to get used to the handy classes."

In the Small Junior Hunters it was Taylor Willever and Symphony, owned by Alexandra Garrity of Flemington, NJ, who jumped to the top of the standings. The pair earned two first place ribbons over fences, as well as two second place ribbons, and a third place ribbon in the under saddle for the championship award. Lillie Keenan and Chromeo, owned by Peakewood Pharm, took home the reserve championship honors after winning an over fences class and the under saddle class. Their efforts also garnered the Small Junior Hunter Circuit Championship.

"My rounds were really good this week," commented Willever. "Symphony needs a soft ride because he can be a little bit sensitive." The talented gelding showed in the professional divisions before WIllever took over the ride, and will travel to the Vermont Summer Festival and Indoors later this year.

The Amateur-Owner 36 & Over 3'3" Hunters were the first to compete in the Dixon Oval this morning. With two wins over fences yesterday and a second place finish in today's handy class, the championship honors went to Tina Furey of New Canaan, CT, and French Kiss. Their efforts over the last two weeks also captured the Circuit Championship, and at the end of the day they returned to the ring for the Amateur-Owner 3'3" Hunter Grand Championship. Blair Balmer of Wayne, PA, and Black Tie were the winners of the handy round, and took home the division's reserve championship award.

In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3'3" Hunters, Jane Maguire of Ft. Washington, PA, and Nickleback, continued their winning ways, taking the blue in the first over fences class, as well as a red ribbon in the handy. Their efforts were awarded with the division's championship award. The winner of the handy round was Christiane Schuman Campbell and More Than a Lot, owned by Elizabeth Gingrich of Perkasie, PA. They took home this week's reserve championship, as well as the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3'3" Hunter Circuit Championship.

Today marked the conclusion of the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, but hunter competition will continue tomorrow at the Devon Show Grounds during the Local Day at Devon. The Brass Ring Horse Show will host the Hunter Championship for the EPPHA, and the event will feature multiple championship for all levels of equestrians.

For more information about the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, please visit           

Photo Credit: Lillie Keenan and Avalon; Lillie Keenan and Avalon won the Junior Hunter Grand Championship at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.