Months after Lillie Keenan notched her first five-star grand prix victory in November, she rode Fasther to the gelding’s first five-star win Saturday in the $530,300 RBC Grand Prix of Canada CSI5*.
The pair topped an international field of 29 riders in the feature competition of the week at Spruce Meadows (Alberta).
“I’m so grateful that Spruce has not changed their style, having huge grass rings, because that’s really what’s the most natural,” Keenan said. “I think horses come out of here better. One of the most special things about Spruce Meadows is that you have the atmosphere and a crowd that is rooting for every single rider that goes into the ring, and they truly love horses. That’s really what makes our sport so special. This is the biggest win of my life.”
In the first round over German course designer Olaf Petersen Jr.’s 500-meter, 16-effort track, the time (75 seconds) was set tightly enough that no rider finished double clear.
However, both Keenan and Canadian Olympic veteran Mario Deslauriers finished with 1 time penalty each, setting the stage for a two-horse jump-off.
Keenan, who represented the U.S. at the 2022 Agria FEI Jumping World Championship (Denmark) was first to go aboard Fasther, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles STX—Blisther, Farmer) owned by Chansonette Farm. They put the pressure on Deslauriers by posting a quick, clear jump-off with a time of 45.82 seconds.
Deslauriers followed on Wishing Well Farm LLC’s Emerson, but they were not fast enough to catch Keenan, jumping clear but more than a second slower, stopping the clock at 46.25 seconds.
In third place, as the fastest of the rest with just 2 time penalties in the first round, was Canadian Kara Chad with Quidamo F.
Watch Keenan’s winning jump-off round, courtesy of Spruce Meadows: