2017 U25 Grand Prix Champion
“There is not a moment in my life where I remember being without a horse.”
Keely’s mother, Jenny Booth of Booth Show Jumpers, used to take her on trail rides for naptime and have Keely sit in front of her on an old quarter horse mare named ‘Fanny’, a pretty flee bitten grey. At age 5, Keely began riding Fanny and Jenny rode Fanny’s daughter, a bright chestnut mare named ‘Beebers’. “This is what childhood was like for me, trial riding through the forest and taking naps on the backs of our horses,” said Keely.
“Twenty years down the road and I am truly blessed to compete in the Grand Prixs, U25 Grand Prixs, Derbies, and Amateur divisions all over the country. I have come a long way since trail rides and nap time on Fanny and Beebers. Even though life with the horses has altered dramatically since I was a child, my love for the sport and the animals remains the same. I have a competitive nature. I love showing and competing, but I ride for the connection I build with my horses. That is something I have never been without and something that I could never see myself giving up. This connection is what keeps you going through tough days and difficult times in life.”
Keely has been attending at Pin Oak since she was in elementary school. She said she remembers lying in bed and praying to God every night that one day she would be able to compete in the Pin Oak Grand Prix. She has since made that dream a reality! “The best part about the horse show is being able to see those dreams of young riders come true just as mine did. It is the perfect places for people to come and see the riders’ passion and Pin Oak’s hospitality, and be a part of the experience. I cannot wait to see how the continual improvements to the show will positively affect the support given to Texas Children’s Hospital.”
So Live Helau (Sulli)
Selle Français, 12 years old
Sulli and Keely compete in show jumping, and won the Pin Oak U25 Grand Prix, second in the $50,000 Grand Prix in Ocala in February. They have also won and placed in several U25 Grand Prixs, open Grand Prixs, and High classics.
Keely’s favorite story is how she met Sulli. One day, Keely’s mother got a call from world renowned jumper McLain Ward, saying he had a horse Jenny might be interested in. Her mother declined, as the family’s barn was full at the time.
“During that year, two separate people rode him and tried to buy him,” she said. “That was when the accident happened. He was walking through a stall with a giant metal pin sticking out. It got caught on his side and tore him open as he ran through the gate. It took several stitches and months of rehabilitation until he was able to be ridden again.
“At this this time, I was looking for a new horse. Guess who was still available? Because of his scar, Sulli was still available and I was the first person to try him since the accident. All of the pieces fell into place in order to bring this horse into my life. I will always be so grateful.”
Because of his injury, Sulli took some time to build confidence and trust with Keely, but she remembers it being clear from the beginning they were made for each other.
These days, Keely and Sulli’s relationship is incredibly strong (aided by his favorite treat: Mrs. Pastures horse cookies).
“This horse’s talent is truly limitless with as big of a heart he has. My favorite part about riding horses is the relationship you build with them. Sulli is no exception,” said Keely, who thinks of Sulli as her soulmate. “The bond built with him is one of the strongest I’ve known to this day.”
Sulli’s story originally published on Karinda K. Equine Photography’s “365 Days of Horses”
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