On the eve of beginning her university career, accomplished junior rider Lillie Keenan of the USA has announced that she will begin training with Irish Olympic rider Cian O’Connor, beginning this summer.
For the last 12 years Keenan notably trained under the guidance of Andre Dignelli and his team at Heritage Farm out of Katonah, NY, and Wellington, FL. During her junior career, she racked up accolades in all three rings, with highlights that ranged from multiple USEF Pony Finals championships, to the 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals Championship, NAJYRC team and individual gold, and the 2014 ASPCA Maclay Championship.
Keenan is enrolled to begin studies at Harvard University in Boston, MA this coming fall. “I’m at a point in my life when there’s a lot of change coming up for me,” she explained. “[Training with Cian] is an opportunity for me to try something new this summer. I’ll be based in Europe, and that alone will be a big change for me.”
O’Connor will be based from stables in Dusseldorf, Germany in June and July, and return to his native Dublin for the late summer/fall season. Keenan is looking forward to basing her horses from his yard and learning about from a European program.
Dignelli and the team at Heritage Farm molded Keenan’s riding career from her first turn around the pony ring, to her first grand prix victory. “Andre and everyone at Heritage taught me how to win,” Keenan said. “Not many people can say that they had the same trainer at the back gate when they had their first pony all the way to when they rode their first grand prix. I’ve been riding with them since I was seven years old. Everything I know, I learned from there. They are and always will by my family.”