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Press Release


Aaron Vale and Red Lady

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Aaron Vale Captures Open Jumper Victories at Tournament of Champions

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2013-04-03

Tampa, FL – April 3, 2013 – Aaron Vale has made a name for himself during the Tampa Equestrian Series, riding to the top of the Open Jumper leader board for two consecutive weeks with his numerous mounts. Today proved no different as riders gathered beneath the shade of the Covered Arena at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center early this morning. The second day of the Tournament of Champions welcomed riders to the 1.30m and 1.35m Open Jumper track, seeing Vale dominate with two winning rides.

Jose “Pepe” Gamarra was the course designer for today’s events in the Covered Arena, and he tested riders with a liverpool, bending lines, and a vertical-oxer double combination. Upon mastering the first round, the riders were then asked to continue into the jump-off where they would be challenged by an opening vertical-oxer line, and then take a left roll back to a new triple bar-vertical double combination. A left roll back brought horse and rider to a red-and-white oxer, and then with a hard right rollback they had to take a skinny that saw many rails fall. Riders then made a left hand turn and raced to the final oxer where they would trip the timer on the other side.

“Pepe sure got a whole bunch of jumps in the ring today,” Vale commented. “All of the approaches were good. If you used the corners properly you got to all of the jumps. I thought it was a really good design, it wasn’t overly technical, but you still had to think.”

The 1.30m Open Jumpers was the first class of the day, and seven riders were able to master the opening track to move into the jump-off. Only four of the seven were able to navigate the short track without fault. David Jennings and Lucilla, owned by Cory Olson Miami Beach, FL, were the first pair to take their turn at the shortened course, completing with a double-clear effort in 36.668 seconds. Vale easily piloted Spirit of Alena, owned by Campos & Miranda Investments of Ocala, FL, to a clear first round. He immediately moved into the jump-off, knocking Jennings out of the lead, duplicating his clear effort and riding to a clean finish in 35.683 seconds.

“He was a little more relaxed today,” Vale described. “I didn’t feel like I rode him all that fast, but he turned well, and I was able to get inside the other tracks without pressing or trying too hard. He was able to go quick without getting too fast in his brain.”

Jennings time of 36.668 seconds with Lucilla held strong enough for the third place award. Adrienne Iverson and Lavito, owned by Redfield Farm, were the next to post a double-clear effort, but their time proved conservative in comparison to Vale, eventually taking the fourth place finish. She tried to mirror her efforts aboard Galinna 177, owned by Redfield Farm of Califon, NJ, but four faults in 36.230 seconds would seal their fifth place finish as the fastest four-faulter. Vale returned aboard Cargano, making it into the jump-off, but completing it with a four-fault total to round out the top six.

“Lucilla is a brand new horse, this is actually the first time I have ever shown her or really ridden her,” Jennings said. “She was just imported about a month and a half ago from Germany. She is a bit of a hot mare, but she is very, very careful. She did all of the 1.50m Grand Prix in Europe. She is a fun ride, and she will hopefully take her owner Hannah Olson into bigger classes.”

It was Vale’s third entry of the class that proved the quickest. Vale opted for the five down the opening vertical-oxer line of the jump-off, slicing the seconds as he rode Torino Q, owned by Rae Kennedy of Orlando, FL, to the blue ribbon win. He bested his own pace aboard Spirit of Alena to take the victory in 35.397 seconds.

“Torino Q belongs to an amateur who shows him in the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers here,” Vale explained. “He had a nice week with her last week, jumped a bunch of clears, and today he had a really nice go, too. I wasn’t really, really pressing, but we were efficient and made the turns in all the right places.”

Following the same track as the 1.30m Open Jumpers, riders returned to the ring to take on the 1.35m Open Jumper course. The class saw fierce competition as riders battled for the top slot, but once again Vale proved victorious, this time aboard Red Lady, owned by Kelsey Bayley of Simsbury, CT. The competitive duo was one of only two double-clear efforts, crossing the finish line in 34.498 seconds.

“That was a blast!” Vale exclaimed. “She really jumped well yesterday, but she improved a bit today on our second day of showing. I thought she jumped really well, and she was a little more relaxed and went around the ring really smooth.”

Vale continued, “I was able to allow her to be a little deeper in the take off spots where it felt like she jumped a little higher and a little more round in general. It was another building block, and hopefully I’ll ride her just as well in the 1.40m stake tomorrow.”

Alexa Adelson and her own Padie Blu Cardu took the second place honors with their more conservative double-clear effort. Adelson guided the grey gelding to the second place finish with accuracy and conservancy in mind. Yesterday’s 1.35m Open Jumper victors Tommy Feigel and Cliff II, owned by Jennifer Jones of Marion, SC, nabbed the third place finish with four faults on the short track in 34.784 seconds. David Jennings and Queen of Calla captured the fourth place finish with a four-fault effort in 35.046 seconds.

“Tampa is great. I haven’t been here in a few years, but I used to come here every year after Palm Beach was finished,” Jennings stated. “This was the next stopping grounds for Stadium Jumping. I loved the show back then, and I love it just as much now. Having the same management—Stadium Jumping—manage these shows is the one draw for me. I think they are a great team, I have known them for many years, and they do a great job running a horse show.”

This week’s highlight event is the 2012 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational presented by G & C Farm, being held on Saturday, April 6, at Raymond James Stadium. To prepare for the American Invitational, the top international riders will compete in the $10,000 American Invitational Stake tomorrow. The Tournament of Champions will continue through April 6 at the Florida State Fairgrounds, before coming to a close during the American Invitational beginning at 6:30 p.m. The top riders in the country will gather under the lights at Raymond James Stadium to compete for the crown jewel of show jumping.

For more information about the 2012 Tampa Equestrian Series, please visit


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