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ATTACHED PHOTOS

Aaron Vale and Madewell

Aaron Vale and Madewell

Aaron Vale and Madewell Presentation

Ally Marrinan and At Last

Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco

Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco

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Aaron Vale and Madewell claim win in $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby

Written by: Sarah Harper
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com
Release Date: 2016-05-21

Lexington, Ky.- May 21, 2016 – Hunter riders braved the rain Saturday in the Stonelea ring to compete in the second leg of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series. Aaron Vale and Madewell were on top in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, followed by last week’s winner Geoffrey Hesslink and Esco in second place, and Ally Marrinan and At Last rounding out the top three.

The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.

Vale took the lead in the first round on Madewell, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding with a score of 90, taking all four high options on the Bobby Murphy designed course. “Last week I only took three high options,” Vale explained.  “One option was ridiculously high last week so I skipped that. This week all the options were doable.  It was just a nice smooth course. In spite of the weather –it’s not the perfect hunter weather these two weeks—he was really settled and a bit more relaxed than last week so I was able to ride him around pretty smoothly. It was good fun.”

Vale returned in the handy round, again taking all four high options, scoring 87.5 and a cumulative score of 177.5. “My handy round plan was to take the inside turns, jump the high options, and try not to get too greedy where you make a mistake,” Vale said. “I have to watch that I want to get aggressive, I want to go fast. You have to just keep your patience, make the turns, be smooth and not try to overdo it.”

The derby course challenged horses and riders today even on fences that at first glance seemed inviting. “It was kind of a hard turn to the brush on the end,” Vale said.  That was kind of tricky in both rounds even the first round horses didn’t jump this option fence really well. You’d think they would because it’s all brush and solid, but for whatever reason a few of them jumped a bit out of shape,” he continued. “Just being patient to that jump and making sure you got a distance that the horse didn’t make a mistake was important.”  

Geoffrey Hesslink won last week’s the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Rookie, and he was the series’ leader coming into this week’s class with Esco, an 8-year-old Rhinelander gelding. Hesslink posted a score of 81 in the first round, taking all four of the handy options. “I went second in the order and it was raining, so I was a little conservative in round one,” Hesslink said.

Hesslink and Esco returned in the handy round to earn the score of 89, taking all four handy options. “For the handy course I thought he was on it,” Hesslink said. “I thought he executed it perfectly, and he did everything I asked him. We ended up second, and he was really good today. The rain didn’t bother him at all, I think it bothered me more than him.”

Hesslink was enthusiastic about continuing to compete in the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series through the rest of the summer. “That’s one of my goals for this year. It wasn’t one that I was thinking, but after last week and this week it is,” Hesslink said. “I think it’s a great class and they do a great job with it, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue with it because we are going to be here for all of the summer shows.”

Vale echoed these sentiments. “Anything that has a bonus is nice. Now we have more reasons to try to put more Kentucky shows on our summer schedule, because the Hallway shows are going to be the same shows that have the Hagyard classes, and I’m doing well in both of them.”

The Kentucky Spring Classic, running through May 22, features a FEI CSI3* rating. The featured national classes will be the $50,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, which counts towards the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping Ranking List, and the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, May 22, in the Rolex Stadium.

EQSportsNet will be streaming live webcasts during the Kentucky Spring Classic. EQSportsNet Full Access subscribers can watch all rounds of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows series on demand at www.eqsports.net.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Shows please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

 

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