Aaron Vale and Bonzini S.
Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida bested a field of twenty-four horse and rider teams and brought home the first and second place ribbons with Thinks Like A Horse Farm’s Bonzini S and Quidam’s Good Luck, owned by Troy Glaus, in the $35,000 Outback Steakhouse Grand Prix, presented by EMO. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the 1996 Olympic Games at the Georgia International Horse Park and to help celebrate, Allen Rheinheimer, Classic Company Course Designer and Technical Coordinator, replicated the 1996 Olympic track, originally designed by Linda Allen.
Rheinheimer set the first round time allowed at 86 seconds and only six horse and rider teams advanced to the jump off round.
Derek Petersen of Archer, Florida in the irons of his own Diamant’s Legacy was the first to go in the jump off after posting a clear first round in a time of 79.271 seconds. However, the triple combination cost him a rail and although they turned in a jump off time of 32.880 seconds, well within the time allowed of 45 seconds, four jump faults would find them finishing in third place.
Gemma Paternoster of Wellington, Florida in the irons of her own Demi followed Petersen in the jump off order after turning in a fault free first round in a time of 81.353 seconds. They also suffered a rail on the combination element and four faults in a time of 38.696 seconds would see them finish in fifth place overall.
Vale and Bonzini S posted a clear first round effort in a time of 80.679 seconds and followed Paternoster in the jump off order. The duo posted the first double clear effort in a time of 33.261 seconds and set the new time to beat. “The course was nice and big enough and had a good feel to it,” commented Vale. “But the triple was hard,” he said. “It didn’t look short when you walked it, but it rode short,” he said. “There was a six stride to the triple so I added one because I didn’t want to come in too fast to a short two,” he said.
Jared Peterson of Archer, Florida, in the irons of his father Derek’s Titus 2:11, posted a clear first round in a time of 81.402 seconds and followed Vale in the jump off order. However, a rail at the triple combination with a time of 33.074 seconds would see the pair finish in fourth overall.
Vale was up with his second ride in the jump off, Quidam’s Good Luck, and posted a clean jump off round in a time of 34.845 seconds. “I rode a little conservative with my second horse just so I could get a clear round,” said Vale. “The two stride was more difficult on the jump off. Derek [Petersen] had it down, Derek’s son [Jared] did, and I thought Kyle might have one down too, trying to beat my first horse’s time,” said Vale. “Turned out I was right,” he said.
Vale’s prediction was spot on. Kyle Dewar of Ocala, Florida and his own Gomez Van Dehoe sat in the enviable last to go position, but with a rail at the triple combination and at the final fence, eight faults in a time of 33.483 seconds, would see them finish in sixth place overall and send Vale to the winner’s circle with Bonzini S.
“Bonzini has won a few classes before,” commented Vale. “He’s got a lot of ability and tries really hard,” he added. “He’s not always the most clever, but he is kind of putting it together,” he added.
Seventh place went to Glenn Hartigan of Canton, Georgia and his own Z-Coco Cabana after turning in a first round effort in 86.269 seconds which resulted in one time fault. Eighth went to the fastest four-faulter, Jordan Coyne of New Port Ritchey, Florida, in the irons of her own Lazzaro with a first round time of 77.820 seconds.
Hayley Water of Sparr, Florida and Chuck Waters’ Galous finished in ninth place after posting a four fault first round in a time of 77.948 seconds, and tenth place was awarded to Vale and Amatoville Enterprises’ Carlo after turning in a four fault first round in a time of 79.113 seconds.
Taylor Land of Atlanta, Georgia and Jay Land’s Nepal placed eleventh, and Daniel Geitner of Aiken, South Carolina finished in twelfth place with The Kenwood Syndicate’s Kenwood.
Vale recently lost his home in Williston due to a fire. “My customers set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ site and just the support from everyone in the horse world has made things easier for us during such a difficult time,” said Vale. “I can’t thank everyone enough for their support,” he added. “It’s nice to pick up some prize money and we had a good show last week in Upperville. With more successes like tonight’s in the ring, we will put things back together a bit quicker for us,” he added.
“We have thirty three horses here this week and I’ve been helping out Don too,” said Vale. “The facility is in great shape, the management is friendly and accommodating and we’re enjoying our couple of weeks here,” he said. “The weather was great this weekend and we will be here next week too,” he said.
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