Wellington, Florida – It was a case of déjà vu as Lillie Keenan and Ali Wolff emerged as winners in the SSG “Go Clean for the Green” promotion during Week X of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. Just as they had done during Week VI, Keenan won the $10,000 High Junior Jumper Classic while Wolff claimed the $15,000 High Amateur-Owner Classic.
In a topsy-turvy day of competition that saw numerous eliminations and retirements on course, Keenan emerged the victor in the $10,000 High Junior Jumper Classic that attracted 28 entries with 11 returning for the jump-off. As the last to go, Keenan knew exactly what she had to do for the win and guided Balance to the fastest clear round of the day. The win was even more meaningful for Keenan as Balance is a horse she purchased as a seven-year-old and has been developing herself, giving the pair an even stronger partnership.
As always, Keenan was wearing SSG ‘Digital’ riding gloves to claim a $1,000 from the Canadian glove manufacturer in recognition of her loyalty to the brand.
“I always wear the gloves, they are my favourite gloves,” said Keenan, 17, of New York City. “When you win the class and then win a reward for something that you are already doing, it’s awesome.”
Keenan went on to explain why the SSG ‘Digitals’ are her favourites, noting, “You can wear them no matter what the temperature or the climate. They are always perfect. I sweat, like everyone, and the worst thing is when your hands are slipping on the reins. With the SSG’s, that doesn’t happen. They are also not too hot. A lot of the time, we have to sacrifice grip because it’s really hot here, and it’s nice not to have to do that with the SSG riding gloves.”
As for how she plans to spend the $2,000 she has earned so far in the SSG “Go Clean for the Green” promotion, Keenan said, “All of my bonus money goes directly back to the horses because they are important to this. They are the partner, and are just as much of an athlete as I am. It all goes back to them in extra care and extra treats!”
Wolff knows a thing or two about just how special the partnership between a horse and rider can be. The 24-year-old claimed her second win of the season with Lanoo, her 21-year-old Dutch Warmblood chestnut gelding. Having made her Nations’ Cup debut as a member of the United States Equestrian Team with Lanoo in 2011 in Buenos Aires, Wolff continues to enjoy success with the veteran show jumping horse. In Week X’s $15,000 High Amateur-Owner Classic, Wolff and Lanoo topped a five-horse jump-off by posting a time of 43.85 seconds to edge out Charlie Jacobs, who had crossed the timers in 45.76 seconds riding Cassinja S.
Wolff of Columbus, Ohio, has now brought her total winnings to $4,000 during the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.
“For the amateurs and the juniors to have something like this enhances the 12 weeks that we are here, and it’s a great incentive!” said Wolff of the SSG Gloves “Go Clean for the Green” promotion. “I used to not be a glove person, but I started to have problems with my reins slipping and these have dramatically helped my grip. Especially in this heat, your hands get so sweaty. For the jump-off’s, you have to be so quick and don’t have time to be adjusting your reins. Wearing these SSG gloves have really help me in the long run.”
SSG Gloves will continue to offer a $3,000 bonus in each of the weekly WEF Challenge Cup Series events, as well as a $1,000 bonus in the High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic and the High Junior Jumper Classic competitions. If the winning rider in any of these three competitions is wearing SSG ‘Digital’ style gloves with the SSG horse head logo clearly visible, they will be presented with bonus money during the awards presentation. A total of $60,000 in bonus money is on offer from SSG Gloves at the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.