Aaron Vale is Unbeatable in $5k 1.40m Open Jumper to Kick Off Kentucky Summer Series

Aaron Vale was not going to waste a moment making sure everyone knew he was the man to beat during the opening day of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Vale not only won the 1.40m Open Jumpers on the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Elusive, but also bested the the field of the remaining 16 horse-and-athlete combinations to claim second place with Acolina R. Hayley Waters rounded out the top three spots with a speedy finish on Bijou Du Pont Rihen.

Aaron Vale and Elusive. Photo by Phelps Sports

Vale is no stranger to dominating the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. He has led the Hagyard Challenge Series that is held during the Kentucky Horse Show Series and has had numerous top grand prix finishes. With well over 200 career grand prix wins, Vale is regarded as one of the most competitive American show jumping athletes. He and his wife Mallory Vale, operate Thinkslikeahorse, and are consistent fixtures on the national show circuit.

Aaron used the opening day of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show to make sure that the horses under his care were comfortable in the expansive and sometimes intimidating ring. Elusive has been a part of Aaron’s program for several years.

“Elusive won the 7-year old Finals here a couple of years ago and I have won a couple of national grand prix events as well,” Vale shared of his winning mount. “My wife usually shows him in the High Amateurs and has won several classics on him in that division. This was a ‘get him ready for the week’ class. The really cool thing about this horse is that he is naturally quick, we can still win the class even when I am just practicing.”

Aaron Vale and Acolina R. Photo by Phelps Sports

Before putting in his winning ride on Elusive, Aaron laid down a blazing fast time that seemed almost unbeatable on Acolina R. The 13-year-old mare, owned by Sarah Turner, regularly competes in the Medium Amateur division.

“I thought it was a good opening course today. Bobby Murphy introduced a few new fences and I felt that the course was balanced and took you around the ring and let the horses get used to the sights, which sets them up nicely for the rest of the week.”

Hayley Waters, one of the most competitive young riders on the circuit, dashed to a close third on Bijou Du Pont Rihen as well as fifth on Qurint. Jack Hardin Towell took home the fourth place prize on Sandetto.

Hayley Waters and Bijou Du Pont Rihen. Photo by Phelps Sports

Show jumping will continue tomorrow with the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic beginning at 5:30pm and the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix on Saturday night during Hats Off Day.

The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven show-jumping events held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington throughout the 2018 show season with the fourth leg of the series, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, to occur next week during the Kentucky Summer Classic on Thursday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rolex Stadium. The series will culminate during the Kentucky National Horse Show at the end of September, where the rider who accumulates the most points in the series will receive a $50,000 Leading Rider Award, presented upon completion of the seventh event, the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic.


$5,000 1.40m Open Jumper
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Elusive / Aaron Vale / Thinks Like A Horse / 0 | 81.299 / 0 | 39.568
2. Acolina R / Aaron Vale / Sarah Turner / 0 | 77.784 / 0 | 40.502
3. Bijou Du Pont Rihen / Hayley Waters / Chuck Waters / 0 | 84.403 / 0 | 41.044
4. Sandetto / Jack Hardin Towell / Vlock Show Stables LLC / 0 | 80.020 / 0 | 41.428
5. Qurint / Hayley Waters / Chuck Waters / 0 | 81.888 / 0 | 42.353
6. Tarzan D’ivraie / Christoph Schroeder / Christoph Schroeder / 0 | 81.320 / 0 | 44.514
7. RF Quarterman / Lainie Wimberly / Brigadoon Show Stables Inc / 0 | 84.200 / 0 | 46.169
8. Concept / Jack Hardin Towell / Oakmont Stables LLC / 0 | 83.486 / WD
9. Queen Jane / T.J. O’Mara / Walstib Stables LLC / 1 | 85.940
10. P & F Cordillo Z / F. Peter Jordan / Outland Farms LLC / 4 | 81.041
11. Igor Van De Grauwe Berg / F. Peter Jordan / Outland Farms LLC / 4 | 83.706
12. Cedane D / Alison Robitaille / Bertram Firestone / 4 | 84.368