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Press Release


Aaron Vale and Bonzini S

Aaron Vale and Bonzini S

Aaron Vale and Bonzini S

Amanda Derbyshire and Cannavaro BH

Amanda Derbyshire and Cannavaro BH

Filip De Wandel and Gentley

Aaron Vale celebrates with daughter Kinser after winning the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan with Bonzini S at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week Two.

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Aaron Vale Dominates GLEF Week Two with Win in $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan

Written by: Taylor Renner
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2016-07-17

Traverse City, Mich. – July 17, 2016 – A little rain did not stop the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) from putting on a fantastic event on Sunday to cap off Week Two of competition at Flintfields Horse Park with the week's highly anticipated feature class, the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan, presented by Peninsula Capital Management and Craig Rosenberg. Aaron Vale continued his dominating ways to clinch the victory aboard Friday's $25,000 CWD Welcome Stake winning mount, Bonzini S.
Twenty-Six exhibitors attempted the Thomas Hern Jr.-designed first round track, with 11 jumping clear to advance on to the jump-off.
It was a hard-fought battle against the clock around the short course with the first five horses and riders jumping fault-free and tripping the timers in faster and faster times with each new round. Hayley Barnhill was the first to return to the jump-off aboard Beezie, owned by The ISB Group LLC, finishing in 43.613 seconds. Vale followed her time aboard the first of three mounts entered in the class and invited back to jump-off — Carlo, owned by Amatoville Enterprises. They finished in a time of 41.145 seconds to take over the lead.
However, Great Britain's Amanda Derbyshire set the pace to beat for the majority of the class as third to jump-off with Cannavaro BH, owned by David and Becky Gochman, in 40.011 seconds. Belgium's Filip De Wandel and his mount Gentley followed Derbyshire's round, but fell short by 4/10ths of a second in 40.498 seconds to position him in second place.
"Cannavaro BH is a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding," said Derbyshire. "We got him exactly a year ago. He's got a great personality. He's very laid back and easy. Hopefully the Gochman kids will ride him next year or maybe the year after. He's a lot of fun and really brave, and so smooth to ride.
"I thought the first round was pretty smooth," continued Derbyshire. "I was really conscious of the time because everyone was having time faults, but with him he's not the best horse to leave strides out on in the first round, you've got to try and keep him together. So I did a couple of the inside turns, and he jumped beautifully. It's his first class he's jumped this week so for him to come out and do that, I'm really happy with him."
Of her jump-off round, Derbyshire said, "My plan was to go as fast as I could! There were no doubles so basically it was just about going as fast as possible. After watching Aaron go on the first one I didn't think I was going to beat that. I think I was pretty tight back to the last line and I kind of left one out going to the last jump too."
Jackson Brittan was next as fifth to go piloting Paradise Farms' Easy Contact Humlan to another clear round in 41.243 seconds — just 1/10th of a second off the pace from Vale and Carlo's time.
Lacey Gilbertson and Seabrook LLC's Echo D would have caught Derbyshire's time to move into first, but had an unlucky rail at the last fence to produce the first 4 fault effort of the class, garnering her the title of the fastest of the 4-faulters in 39.796 seconds.
It was Vale and Bonzini S, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Thinkslikeahorse, who took to the Grand Prix Ring after Gilbertson, laying down a thrilling performance and finishing clear to best Derbyshire's time by one second in 39.322 seconds.
Four contenders remained to challenge Vale's time, including himself on his third mount, Acolina R, owned by Sarah Turner. However, none were able to top his performance with Bonzini S. Derbyshire collected second place honors, while Wandel rounded out the top three in third.
"Boy, there were a lot clear!" said Vale. "It felt like a fight every time I was out there even though I had three clear. I only just barely rolled the first pole on my third horse, but I got them all around with good trips. It was a fight though. I wasn't thinking like, 'Oh wow that was easy.' It felt difficult, but we got a bunch in the jump-off so I couldn't be happier!
"It was a very quick jump-off," continued Vale. "Today, we had a couple of turns, but we really had some gallops where you could show off and use a little foot-speed. He's not naturally the fastest horse, Bonzini S, but if you do get a place where you can gallop he does cover the ground pretty well. I was able to take advantage of that in a couple of places. Amanda really made a short turn from 15 back to 11 in the jump-off; I mean that was just beautiful! I ran down to 15 and I went and pulled on the reins and he wouldn't turn! So after that I got down the seven-stride and I was just whipping to the last jump. I knew Amanda was fast and I was just doing anything I could to beat it. There were a lot clean and fast so a slow clear wasn't worth a whole lot. I just took as big a chance I could to the last jump and it paid off."
Even despite the rain and wind, the weather actually fell in Vale's favor.
"I like the light better when it's overcast," said Vale. "There are no shadows and it was just dark enough to where I didn't have to wear my sunglasses today. The conditions were beautiful actually, I thought."
After wrapping up a very successful first week at GLEF with a win in the grand prix, Vale is looking forward to spending time with his family on Monday and Tuesday and then returning back to the showgrounds on Wednesday to kick-off competition for Week Three.
"We really enjoyed showing here a couple of years ago when we came," said Vale. "When my daughter got old enough that we thought we could do the two-day drive with her here we were happy to come back! It's been a fantastic week. We're going to go to the lake tomorrow for our day off, but we'll be here competing for the next two weeks."
Derbyshire will also be competing at GLEF for the next two weeks and is thrilled to begin her time in Traverse City with a top placing in Sunday's grand prix.
"I love the town," said Derbyshire. "I love the lake and it's probably got the best restaurants out of any town I've ever been in. We really enjoy it as a barn. There are so many nice things to do after the horse show is done. The weather is normally so nice, except for today, but I love it that it stays light so long."
The Grand Prix Ring on Sunday commenced at 7:30 a.m. and hosted jumper classics throughout the day across four divisions leading up to the grand prix.
Preceding the grand prix action on Sunday was the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic. Giavanna Rinaldi and Pony Lane Farm's Dulf Van Den Bisschop were the only combination to perform faultlessly to secure the win. The pair also won the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers on Thursday as well. Finishing in second place was Lacey Gilbertson and Seabrook LLC's Bijzonder as the fastest of the 4-faulters in 83.609 seconds. Kaely Tomeu and Cornwall, owned by Siboney Ranch, followed Gilbertson with another 4-fault round in 84.814 seconds to grab third place.
The day kicked off with the $2,500 East Wind Farm Children's Jumper Classic. The top three contenders of the class were the only to produce double clear rounds out of the original starting field of 27. Mackenzie Snider, who was second in Saturday's East Wind Farm Children's Jumper class with Melissa Hirt's Roc N Groovy, took the top spot on Sunday aboard Amigo, owned by Robin Vilter, in 32.917 seconds. Sophie Gochman trailed Snider by two seconds with Jennifer Rowland's Wirina in 34.044 seconds for second place. The last of the double clear was Olivia Parr and Uccella, owned by Oakland Ventures LLC and El Milagro, in 34.493 seconds to finish in third.
Next up was the $2,500 Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, which comprised of 26 horses and riders vying for the top prize. Lindsey Tomeu and DBHC, Inc.'s Bonapart, winners of Saturday's $500 Adult Jumper class, continued their winning streak to claim the blue ribbon in Sunday's classic class. The pair finished double clear in 31.352 seconds to take the win. Olivia Lawton and her own Cassandra Dreams finished in second in another double clear effort in 33.146 seconds, while Kelbee Miller and North Face Farm's Coachella took third place honors, respectively, with no faults in 35.867 seconds.
The $2,500 Modified Children's/Adult Jumper Classic hosted 27 challengers with four producing double clear rounds. Alexandria Beneson and Silvia III, owned by Ashland Farms, rode to the fastest time of the fault-free finishers in 47.907 seconds. Catherine Wu and her own Ren Round Number broke the beam in 49.348 seconds to take the red ribbon and Maria Roberts and her own Qasqai took third place honors in 52.685 seconds.
GLEF will continue to welcome riders and thrill spectators over the next two weeks throughout the first series of competition, which runs July 6–31. Week Three will run July 20–24 and will feature highlighted jumper events such as the $25,000 Devoucoux Welcome Stake on Friday, July 22, and the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by the Ingram family on Sunday, July 24.
Horses are not the only form of entertainment lined up for this year's Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. The festival has teamed up with top musicians and entertainers from around the country to offer fun-filled evenings for this year's concert and dinner series.
To kick-off Summer Evenings at Flintfields, Porterhouse Presents hosted the Dirty Bourbon River Show's unique New Orleans Funk, Jazz and Americana sounds on Friday evening. The event was sponsored by East West Equine Sports Medicine, and featured North Peak Brewing Company and Black Star Farms products. The night kicked off at 6 p.m. with unique and entertaining music as well as New Orleans and Cajun food that was enjoyed by all.
Series Two kicks off on August 10 and runs through August 28 featuring three weeks of hunter and jumper competition with a FEI CSI2* rating Week Five and Six and a FEI CSI3* rating during Week Seven culminating in the $100,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix on Sunday, August 28. Act now to reserve stabling spots, and do not miss out on the chance to compete during the all-new FEI Great Lakes Equestrian Festival series in August.
The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is set on 88 beautiful acres and showcases five world-class competition rings in addition to spacious schooling rings. The property features don't stop there as the park offers convenient on-site campgrounds and weekly nights of entertainment for a truly unique attendee experience.
For more information, please visit

Results: $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan

4 CARLO AARON VALE 0 0 41.145
10 ACOLINA R AARON VALE 0 4 46.454


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