The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit continued into its third week, welcoming riders to the Winner’s Circle at HITS Post Time Farm to accept honors in featured Hunter and Jumper competition.
Aaron Vale started and finished the week on a high note, completely dominating featured competition at HITS Post Time Farm! He added another one-two finish to his record, this time in Sunday’s $100,000 HITS Grand Prix, making this his fourth Grand Prix win of the season at HITS Ocala.
Vale was piloting two of the five horses that jumped clear in the first round and had a plan for each horse in the jump-off. that definitely paid off. He captured the lead aboard his first mount in the jump-off, CHACCMAN for Thinkslikeahorse in a time of 40.196.
“My first horse [CHACCMAN] isn’t very rideable,” Vale laughed. “He kind of runs off with me so I figured I would let him do that and lucky for me the jumps came up where he could clear them, so that was awesome.” Continuing to go over his jump-off round aboard CHACCMAN, Vale explained that it felt a little dicey, especially across the middle section of the jump-off, but sure enough he cleared the fences and took the lead.
The excitement didn’t end there, however as Vale quickly jumped onto his second mount, PRESCOTT, also owned by Thinkslikeahorse, and entered the ring for another go at the jump-off. At this point he was up against himself, as the last to go and already holding the lead in what had been a very competitive jump-off. What else would Vale do than try to make it a one-two finish?
Vale clocked in under the 40-second mark with a time of 39.825 to take the lead. “He’s a younger horse, but he steers a lot better than the other one,” said Vale about PRESCOTT, a coming 9 year old Holsteiner gelding.
“I jumped number one on a good angle and he [PRESCOTT] was very quick away from it. I felt like he was going to be quick enough for the win at that point. The angle to the third fence – the vertical – I decided to put an extra stride in there since he’s a little green,” Vale continued. “I knew he would turn better to the last few fences so I thought if I left the jumps up after that he would take the lead and he did.”
2nd Place: Vale & CHACCMAN [40.196]
3rd Place: Andre Thieme & CONACCO [40.737]
Vale also led off the week with a one-two finish in the $5,000 Open Welcome, taking the win aboard PRESCOTT for Thinkslikeahorse. Vale crossed the timers in 41.744 to secure the win.
2nd Place: Vale & CAMIRO BLUE PS [41.882]
3rd Place: Madelyn Cardelli & BAAL BERITH [4-Faults, 42.801]
Five returned for the jump-off in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on Friday afternoon. Following up her win in last Sunday’s Grand Prix to claim the blue ribbon was Tracy Fenney and MTM APPLE, for MTM Farm. Fenney returned second in the jump-off and posted a time of 38.625 to take the lead and claiming her third Grand Prix victory this season at HITS Ocala.
2nd Place: Hayley Waters & TOUT BLEU DE VAINS [42.101]
3rd Place: Rowan Willis & EKITA EINDEKEN Z [49.318]
The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit continues with USEF-Rated Hunter/Jumper competition through March 28, culminating with the seventh Great American $1 Million Grand Prix.