Calgary, AB, Canada – June 26, 2014 – The Spruce Meadows Summer Series continues this week with the 'Canada One' Tournament CSI 4*, which runs through Sunday, June 29 and features the $125,000 Imperial Challenge 1.55m. Opening competitions on Wednesday featured junior and amateur riders in Prix des Nations events at five different heights, giving them an exciting team competition experience.
The $10,000 Paramount Resources Prix des Nations 1.40m was held on Meadows on the Green and featured a course designed by Portugal's Cristina Larangeiro. Eight teams competed for top honors, and with a strong showing was team “Vintorious” led by Chef d'Equipe Vinton Karrasch.
Team trailblazer Bretton Chad (CAN) had trouble with The Pugilist, who was eliminated in the first round and did not return for the second round. The next two riders, Katherine Strauss (USA) on All In and Genevieve Meyer (USA) with Coral Reef Santos Utopia, had eight and four faults respectively.
Team anchor Lillie Keenan (USA) brought the team into contention with a clear round on Vanillla, and that clear feeling carried over into the second round for the team when Strauss and Meyer recorded no faults. Keenan and Vanilla had just four faults in the second round for victory.
This is only the second show together for Keenan and Vanilla, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood mare by Nabab de Reve x Clinton. Vanilla is out of Coral Reef Via Volo, Beezie Madden's 2012 Olympic Games mount and is owned by Abigail Wexner. With Madden injured in May, Keenan has started riding Vanilla. “She's had a lot of good rides, and she's a really talented horse,” Keenan said. “I'm very fortunate to get the ride on [her].”
Keenan was excited to show in the Prix des Nations format, something that juniors and amateurs rarely get to do. She was on the gold medal-winning team at last year's Adequan North American Junior Young Rider Championships and has experience riding for teams, but this extra opportunity is special, she said.
“To be able to compete on a team is invaluable experience, considering at the highest level, that's what it is. Day to day, my teammates are my competitors, so to be able to team together and root for each other is really exciting. I think it's an awesome experience,” she remarked.
Keenan will translate this experience into competing for the United States for the first time at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia, in August. “(Vanilla) has done real professional Nations Cup before, but not with me. This is an exciting step in that direction,” Keenan said.
Keenan, of New York City, is an experienced rider, despite being only 18 years old. This is her first time competing at Spruce Meadows. “The facility is incredible,” she commented. “I heard so many great stories about this place, but until you experience it, you don't know what it's like. I'm so lucky to be here and have the opportunity. Every single class is treated like it should be, which is important. The respect for the competitors, the sponsors, and the crowd, there's no other competition like it.”
Led by Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden, the “Queen Beez” team won the $7,500 Paramount Resources Prix des Nations 1.30m competition. The team was: Alec Lawler (USA)/Acoradus (DNF/4), Katherine Strauss (USA)/Fidel van de Kooldries (0/4), Genevieve Meyer (USA)/Coral Reef Casello (0/8), and Lillie Keenan (USA)/Amadora (0/1).
Nine teams lined out for the $5,000 Paramount Resources Prix des Nations 1.20m, but all clear performances from the “Turnt Up 20s” team led by Conor Charlton took the top spot in the results after an exciting jump-off. The team consisted of: Christina Firestone (USA)/Zodiac (0/0), Jennifer Santana (USA)/Atomic 12 (0/0), Alex Crown (USA)/Quasito Z (DNF/0), and Riley Newsome (USA)/Touch and Go (0/DNF). They were tied with the “Dignelli's Dynamos” team after two rounds, and in for the jump-off was Newsome and Touch and Go, who sped around in 33.096 seconds for the win over Chloe Reid on Damascus, who finished in 35.338 seconds.
The winning team from the $2,500 Paramount Resources Prix des Nations 1.10m, “The Claudettes,” had a number of clear performances for the win. The Chef d'Equipe was Claudio Baroni. Team members included: Teri Kessler (USA)/Pitchoun de Hequet (0/0), Alex Crown (USA)/Charley (0/0), Savanna King (CAN)/Cadeau (4/0), and Hilary McNerney (USA)/Oscar (0/DNF).
In the $2,500 Friends of the Meadows Prix des Nations 1.00m, the winning team by two points was “The Seahawks” led by Cara Anthony. The team included: Megan Hilton (USA)/Kilkonnell Cruise (0/0), Katie Sputh (USA)/Camelot LS (0/0), Rachel Davis (USA)/Tattoo (2/5), and Madison Hilderman (CAN)/Little Prinz (7/4).