Purchased by California dressage pioneer Hilda Gurney for $1,000 from a Thoroughbred breeder in 1969 at the age of three, the gelding Keen (Money Broker - Mabel Victory) embarked on a new career: dressage. Saved from being traded for cattle (he had been laughed off the racetrack because of his large size), Keen started his training. Read more
The chestnut gelding swiftly worked his way through the levels, dominating the U.S. dressage scene in the mid-1970s. He captured the USDF Horse of the Year title at the International levels in 1974, 1976, 1977, and 1978; and in 1979 he earned the titles at both Grand Prix and Intermediate II.
At the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City, Keen and Gurney won individual silver and team gold medals. At the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976, a historic moment in American dressage, the pair placed fourth individually and helped bring home the team bronze, the first U.S. Olympic medal in dressage since 1948.
Keen went on to place fourth in the Grand Prix Special in Aachen, Germany, in 1978 and seventh at the World Championships at Goodwood, England. When he and Gurney won both the Grand Prix and the Intermediate II at Dressage at Devon (PA) in 1979, Keen was largely undefeated in the U.S. That same year, at the Pan American Games, Keen won team and individual gold, with all five judges placing him first.
At the age of eighteen, at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Keen placed fourteenth individually. At nineteen, he was second at the FEI North American Championships and won the West Coast Olympic Selection Trials. In 1985, the gelding won the U.S. Equestrian Team National Championships for the sixth time.
Gurney made a practice of stopping and giving dressage demonstrations with Keen during her frequent coast-to-coast road trips to train and compete. A true ambassador for dressage, Keen introduced dressage to many, promoted the sport, and made a major contribution to the growth of dressage in the United States.