As the Winter Equestrian Festival and Adequan Global Dressage Festival rumbles on at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, we take a look at five up-and-coming equestrian athletes to keep an eye on in 2015.
Get the scoop on what to attend, where to be and, of course, how to dress for the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Lillie Keenan | Hunter/Jumper
Photo courtesy of USEF/SportFot
As just a senior at the Spence School in New York City, Lillie Keenan has already earned an impressive collection of Champion ribbons in some of the biggest shows around the country. As a junior rider, Keenan has conquered the prestigious National Junior Hunter East Coast Championships, Pessoa/U.S. Hunter Seat Medal Finals presented by Randolph College, and ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay National Finals, while claiming Team and Individual Gold medals at the 2013 Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North.
Keenan is quickly becoming one of the most dominant young jumpers on the circuit. And along with Keenan’s family’s Chansonette Farm partnerships with Hermès along with Katherine Cosmetics and Ogilvy Equestrian, one of the best dressed and equipped. She will be in Wellington through March, competing in a number of Grand Prix events at WEF, working to reach her long-term goal of representing the U.S. in top international competition like the FEI World Cup Finals, FEI World Equestrian Games and the Olympics Games. Currently, Keenan is ranked eleventh in the United States Equestrian Federation’s U25 Rider Ranking.
Wilton Porter | Hunter/Jumper
Photo courtesy of USEF/SportFot
Wilton Porter caught the horse bug early. As a kid, he and his family would travel every weekend to their ranch just outside Dallas, Texas, where Wilton and brother Lucas would ride their pony. While Wilton initially gravitated toward the rodeo circuit, he soon began jumping and realized that is where his passion lay. Over the last 10 years, he has competed throughout North America and Europe in many of the world’s most prestigious competitions. In 2014, the 21-year-old had a breakout season, winning classes at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, Spruce Meadows and Individual Gold at the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North. Now, a junior at Vanderbilt University majoring in economics, and riding for Sleepy P Ranch, Wilton earned his first international win in July at Spruce Meadows in the $33,500 Friends of the Meadows Jumper 1.45m, and made his U.S. debut at the CSIO3* Bratislava in Slovakia in August of 2014. Currently, Porter is ranked eighth in the United States Equestrian Federation’s U25 Rider Ranking.
Allison Brock | Dressage
Allison riding Rosevelt at Dressage at Devon, 2014.
Photo courtesy of USEF/Meg McGuire
Though growing up in the land of surf and sun, Allison Brock found herself drawn to the intricate ballet of dressage as a kid in Hawaii. Now, splitting her time between Keswick, Virginia and Wellington, Brock and her stallion Rosevelt, who she began riding in 2010, are quickly making a name for themselves on the dressage circuit.
Training under U.S. Olympic medalist Sue Blinks, Brock now serves as head trainer for Fritz and Claudine Kundrun’s Deer Meadow Farms. Brock’s recent wins at both the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the CDI-W Dressage at Devon in September, and started the 2015 season off on the right foot with a win in the FEI Grand Prix presented by MTICA Farm, and started the 2015 season off on the right foot with a win in the CDI-W Grand Prix presented by MTICA Farm at the first competition of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington in January. Watch for this United States Dressage Federation gold and silver medalist to compete in the remaining Adequan Global Dressage Festival Grand Prix through March, as she pursues her goal to “represent the U.S. internationally at the Grand Prix Level, and develop multiple horses and riders to the FEI levels.”
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz | Dressage
Photo courtesy of USEF/Susan J. Stickle Photography
Olivia LaGoy-Weltz began competing on the FEI circuit in Wellington in 2009 when she was recruited by Woodspring Farm to train horses imported from Europe. During her time at Woodspring, LaGoy-Weltz actively competed through the Grand Prix level and was regularly invited to the dressage national championships at the USEF Festival of Champions. 2014 proved to be a breakout year for LaGoy-Weltz with Rassing’s Lonoir: the pair took home top place finishes at the Palm Beach Derby, The Dutta Corp/USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship and swept all three Small Tour classes at Dressage at Devon.
Now splitting her time between Middleburg, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, D.C.) and Wellington, when not competing, she runs Liv Dressage, a focused dressage training center for all ages.
Kasey Perry | Dressage
A true equestrian through and through, Kasey Perry has been riding horses ever since she was five, starting with Western, transitioning to jumping, then onto eventing, before making the move to dressage at 17 while attending California State University. After college, Perry moved to Spokane, Washington to train fulltime with Christophe Theallet, where she developed a true west-coast riding philosophy, where “suppleness and relaxation must come first.”
On the circuit in both California and Florida, Perry currently rides her Small Tour gelding, Goerklintgaards Dublet and Big Tour mare, Trostruplund’s Scarlet. Through the 2014 season, Perry was a fixture at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival competitions with multiple top 10 finishes in the CDI Big and Small Tour and sixth in the Dutta Corp/USEF Intermediaire I Dressage National Championship.