In a surprise development, 20 year-old American rider Lillie Keenan has bought the famous grey gelding Fibonacci from German triple World Cup final winner Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum.
The 12 year-old Swedish Warmblood, which carried Michaels-Beerbaum to many victories, including a team bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, now passes to one of the USA’s fast-rising stars, who is coached by Irish rider Cian O’Connor, himself an individual Olympic bronze medallist.
Keenan’s ascent to the top tier of American show jumpers has been underlined by recent results – third in the King George V Grand Prix at Hickstead with Supersox, team third at Barcelona on the same horse, and this season at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida she took a number of top places and won three classes with Be Gentle.
Michaels-Beerbaum said today when the sale was announced: “I am happy to congratulate Lillie Keenan on the purchase of Fibonacci. It is not always easy when a partnership comes to an end, but in this case I am thrilled to watch a new partnership begin. Nacho has been an extraordinary horse for me over the last three years and I am truly appreciative of the successes we enjoyed together. Now it is time for him to help a very talented young rider clear the obstacles in her path and achieve her dreams.
“Lillie, I know that a wonderful future with Nacho awaits you. And with the great support and management of your coach Cian O’Connor, I am excited to see the places you will go. Best of luck!”
Keenan said: “I am honored to have the opportunity to be a part of Nacho’s career as I take over the reins from Meredith Michaels Beerbaum. I have big shoes to fill, and I could not be more excited about the 2017 show season.
“Nacho will now join the wonderful team of horses that I am so lucky to have. Thank you so much to Cian for the foresight of this partnership, making it possible for me to work with one of the most talented horses in the world. And special thanks to Meredith for sharing Nacho – I will do all I can to follow in your footsteps!”
O’Connor, who has had Keenan as a pupil for over two years, said: “I’m excited to help Lillie develop a top partnership with Fibonacci and look forward to him and her other horses being available to assist the American team.”
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