This weekend, Lillie Keenan officially closed out her winter circuit in Wellington with a double bang.

The American rider won both the CSI 4* Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup qualifier on Friday and Sunday’s $200,000 IDA Development CSI4* Grand Prix during WEF Week 11 aboard her longtime partner, Agana van het Gerendal Z.

“He has really become my soldier; he does whatever class I need him to do, whether it’s a speed [round], Nation’s Cup, or grand prix,” Keenan said on Friday of the 13-year-old Zangersheide stallion. “It’s like he’s a chameleon; he can morph into whatever I need him for.”

On Friday, with a place in Sunday’s grand prix already in her sights, Keenan said she debated whether or not she would even join the 15-horse jump-off with “Aggie.” Fortunately, she opted to give it a go, and her gamble paid off. Dashing through the timers on 37.39 seconds, the pair just pipped Mexico’s Carlos Hank Guerreiro with H5 Ganesh Hero on 37.76 seconds, and Piergiorgio Bucci of Italy in third with Hantano on 37.91 seconds.

“[Aggie] has a real shot in the grand prix, but he’s a competitor and always wants to win,” Keenan explained. “He’s the type of horse that when you put him under pressure and ask him to give everything, he gets better.”

Another thing that makes Aggie better? Keenan’s mother, Pam, who not only picked out the stallion but rides him daily, helping to keep his heart in the game. “He loves my mother. It’s really shocking, but whenever I feel like I’ve hit a roadblock with him, I put my mom on at home and he goes back to being an angel to ride,” Keenan said.

“Once you’re riding him, he has only the best qualities of a stallion; he has so much heart. I would love to clone him a hundred times. Anyone would dream of a horse like that in their barn.”

Little wonder. On Sunday, Keenan & Aggie were once again in top form on Course Designer Andy Christiansen’s 1.60m track. This time, only five riders in the field of 41 moved on to tackle the jump-off, where the American pair’s tight turns and marked foot-speed locked in a time of 35.75 seconds—enough to best Canada’s Mario Deslauriers & Bardonlina 2 on 37.23 seconds, and Nina Mallevaey of France with Cartier SR (38.41 seconds).

This is the first win of the season for Keenan & Agana van het Gerendal Z, who took fourth place in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup of Last Vegas in November, and won the CSI 5* 1.50m team competition on MLSJ Traverse City in August. But while they averaged five total wins in their 2023 season, they are remarkably consistent at the top heights, finishing with a 51.2% clear round rate in 43 total classes, according to JumprApp.

At 1.50m, where the competed more than half their rounds last year, the pair were clear and in the top-10 57% of the time. In their four rounds together at 1.60m, they were clear at 50% and in the top-10 75% of the time. According to Keenan, it’s the stallion’s natural proclivity for the shortened course that makes him a standout.

“Unlike many in the jump-off, he improves from the speed round,” said Keenan on Sunday. “He gets scope from speed and momentum. That’s why he’s a wonderful horse to have in your string; no matter the type of class, he can win.”