|Aaron Vale Victorious in 1.40m Open Jumpers at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show|
|Written by Lauren Baker|
|Saturday, 20 August 2016 01:12|
After coming close to winning the 1.40m Open Jumper class on Wednesday, Aaron Vale and Acolina R returned on Thursday, this time taking home the blue ribbon with their double-clear round during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
“I tried out a different bridle today,” Vale explained. “Acolina is hard to find the right bridle for, so more than anything I was trying a new piece of equipment, and it seemed to suit her pretty well. She kind of likes to go. I caught the fences off the turns really well, so she just ended up being really fast today.”
Vale said he got the ride on the 11-year-old mare about a year and half ago. Together, the duo has had top placings in grand prix events at a number of horse shows, including the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival and Kentucky Horse Shows.
“She gets a little wound up,” Vale explained, laughing. “Her energy probably gets in the way more often than it helps us, but when things come up right and I can do the turns smoothly and keep that gallop, her forwardness is definitely good. Controlling her across a technical course can be difficult, though. You live by the sword; you die by the sword.”
However, Vale said today’s course rode perfectly for the mare, who was unfazed by the sand sculptures that dotted the ring.
“She wasn’t worried about the sand at all,” Vale said. “It’s nice having the decorations for the [USHJA International Hunter] Derby fences. It livens the ring up. It’s such a big ring, but with the decorations there was more ambiance out there. The courses themselves were really fun and balanced today, and I really liked the tracks. It was a pretty course for my eye.”
Earlier in the day, Sharn Wordley continued his successful week with a win in the 1.35m Open Jumper division aboard Didienne.
“I just got Didienne,” Wordley said. “She’s a cool horse. I gave her a little warm-up yesterday to see how she was in the ring and get to know her, and she was really good. I thought today I’d give her a little try to see how fast she was, and she was really fast. I was only just cruising, and she was just naturally very fast and careful. She’s such a good horse in the ring.”
Wordley purchased the mare with Steve Tinti in Morocco about six months ago. After riding the 8-year-old for the past three weeks at home, this marks the duo’s first appearance together in the show ring.
“She’s a special horse,” Wordley said. “We kept her at our barn in Belgium for six months. My rider there did some shows with her there and got her trained up, because she hadn’t seen a whole lot yet when we got her. This is my first show on her, and she’s turned out to be a real pleasure of a horse; I really like her, and I’m excited about her future.”
Wordley said he plans to continue showing the mare in the 1.35m division, and will try her out in the 1.40m division next week.
“The 1.35m is probably enough for her now,” Wordley said. “She’s had a couple of months off, so from now on, we’ll just see where she’ll be comfortable. She’s improved so much in her ridability in the past three weeks that I’ve had her, so I’ll just see how quickly she wants to go, and she’ll tell me.”
The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will resume on Friday with the beginning of the 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, which will take place over the course of two days. Other highlight events include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby. Jumper highlights include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.