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Press Release


Aaron Vale and Palm Sunday

Andrew Welles and Tornado

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Vale Edges Out Welles for the Win in the $30,000 Russell Fortune Memorial Grand Prix at Traders Point

Written by: Carrie Wirth
Client: Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show
Release Date: 2012-08-11

Zionsville, IN – August 10, 2012 – The 2012 Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show and Country Fair continued on Friday with cooler weather and a momentary, passing shower. The horses were feeling fresh and ready for competition at Wild Air Farms in Zionsville, IN. 

Exhibitors and guests enjoyed the annual Paws to Applause dog show mid-day and exciting show jumping action in the jumper arena and the Russell Fortune Arena all day long. The coveted $30,0000 Mr. and Mrs. Russell Fortune Jr. Memorial Grand Prix, held at 5:00 p.m. was the highlight of the day and filled the tents around the grass arena with cheering crowds.

“We’ve got a pretty good field tonight, we have faces- plenty of folks who are ready,” said course designer, Phil DeVita. “The course this afternoon is a along the same theme that we’ve been doing all week”.

“I’m kind of a serpentine guy,” continued DeVita. I don’t do a lot of technical straight-line distances. I tend to keep turning you and bending you and making you steer and make you stay in control.”

“We’re going up over the mogul, over the little hill, down the hill over to a hand gallop to an oxer, then going straight up the bank to a pretty tall vertical on the bank, then right down the bank, left hand turn to a vertical-vertical combination. Then we do again we do a little bit of a half circle to a pretty substantial big, wide, oxer. Then you have to stay out and get straight to fence number 8, then the combination 9A and 9B is in the far corner of the arena. You’ve got to get to the rail and shape that turn. The distances in the combinations are all very comfortable- vertical-to-vertical in 27 feet- you just have to get there. We loop around to the ditch, a long ride to a big oxer and then another sort of a figure eight at the end of the course up over a 1.50m liverpool right down to a big oxer on this end of the ring”

“I make you stay out, I make you get straight, shape your turns and ride the track. If you don’t ride the track, you are generally going to catch one,” DeVita stressed.  “I don’t try to do anything technical and difficult. It should be fun. We’ll enough clear in this class out of this group. This is a good test for Sunday- which will be pretty much a free-for-all. That will be a little more technical and a little more interesting. It should be a good fun class. We have a few here that aren’t as seasoned as some of the others and this will be a good introductory to a real 1.50m track”

And DeVita called it correctly. There were 31 in the class and eight went clean.

Andrew Welles was the first to go clean on Tornado, owned by Alexandra Duval. Three rounds later, Nick Novak riding Nancy Whitehead’s Rendezvous 22 and three more faultless rounds in a row from Taylor Land and Nepal owned by Jay Land, Quick and Easy owned and ridden by Claudia Billups, and Theo Genn and Bridlebourne Stables’ Winchester. Then, three trips later Andrew Welles aboard XM and Emily Short and her Grande Finale 3E,and finally fifteen rounds later, the last to go, Aaron Vale, who rode three others in the first round, produced a faultless trip on Palm Sunday, owned by Amen Corner Farm, determining the field for the jump-off.

Welles and Tornado easily ate up the short track, leaving all the rails in place, with a time of 37.94. Three more clean trips from Nick Novak, Taylor Land and Theo Genn did not produce a faster time. Then, Aaron Vale aboard Palm Sunday went clean to win the class with a time of 35.402.

“It was dizzying it was so winding,” said Vale about the course. For me, I never got a great rhythym today. I feel like I was holding to all the fences to in order to get them square and get to the proper spot. I was pretty close to the time allowed. My first horse jumped super and had a light rub and had one down and he was just barely under the time. Then my last horse was only a second under the time. Personally, it was a very tough course for me.  It was a bit windy today- I’ll take the blame myself- I don’t feel like the horses focus their best in the wind-or maybe I don’t focus well in the wind. It was kind of a struggle for me today. All the horses jumped well. I just couldn’t get it done until the last one. It was a fourth quarter come-back.”

“For a vertical vertical, it wasn’t that tall,” said Vale about the combination following the downside of the bank. “There was a comfortable 27-foot distance in there, but once you’d gone an jumped on the hill, it took the focus away from the horses- the change of balance from coming down the hill. It was more the twistiness than any individual thing. Poles came down all over. It wasn’t just one bogey fence it was hard to jump all of them clean.”

“The footing was lovely. We’ve had just enough rain. We wouldn’t even mind one more shower,” shared Vale. Nothing feels better than jumping a horse on soft turf. I think they really appreciate the give it has. The ground felt super. You have to consider it in the turns here and there, but that gives the more experienced riders an advantage, when you have to keep your horse a little more balanced because they could slip. I enjoy the added element of just a little slipping. The horses love jumping and landing on it.

Welles, who earned the second place honors, made the challenging course look effortless. “Phil did a great job of placing the jumps in really interesting positions- it made the jumps themselves become more difficult. The double 9Aand B up in the corner the way he set the Liverpool and the ditch off the turns, the jumps off the top of the hill, and he utilized the natural jumps in the ring beautifully. I thought he was very fair. His concept as a course designer is to have all the horses come out of his courses jumping better. I think that- I can say for all of ours-they definitely did. It is a positive thing to jump his courses.”

“Tornado has been my baby. He’s 12 this year and I’ve had him since the beginning of his seven-year-old year. He’s Mr. Dependable for me. I can always count on him,” beamed Welles. “In the last few horse shows he’s gotten a ribbon in all five of the grand prixes. He’s really been on a roll- I hope we don’t jinx it for Sunday by saying that. XM is a younger horse for me. This is his first summer stepping up to the grand prixes. He jumped a beautiful first round and I messed him up a little bit in the jump off. I have to go back to the barn and apologize to him right now.”

“This horse show is a fantastic event – our goal is World Cup Qualifier in South Hampton and then the American Gold Cup. Tornado’s going to see if he can do one better on Sunday,” he winked.


1  538 PALM SUNDAY AARON VALE 35.402 0


3  204 NEPAL TAYLOR LAND 37.458 0

4  2 RENDEZVOUS 22 NICK NOVAK 37.640 0

5  590 WINCHESTER THEO GENN 39.395 0


7  421 XM ANDREW WELLES 38.330 4


In the Jumper Annex, the action was fast and furious. The spectator tent was standing room only, filled with friends, trainers and families for the Adult Amateur Speed Class. Again it was Erin Felton and her Almost Perfect, who were the victors, delivering the fastest of 16 clean rounds.

“Just ask Nancy (Whitehead), in the schooling area I was missing all my distances. It was a really bad warm up. I said whatever, let’s just go in,” said Felton who was unaware that she won her class today.

“He doesn’t have the prettiest jump, but he gets himself over- sometimes when they’re flat in the jump, it doesn’t take as long to get over and it makes them faster. It’s not necessarily a good thing but it worked out today,” said Felton of her horse, who is Almost Perfect.

The Traders Point Hunt Charity Horse Show and Country Fair is held on the beautiful 250-acre grounds of Wild Air Farms in Zionsville, IN. The show offers top prize money with two Grand Prix events and a USHJA International Hunter Derby. Exhibitors at Traders Point enjoy fun family activities and events while participating in a competitive, high-quality show. For more information or a prize list, please visit


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