SHOW JUMPING DAILY
Aaron Vale Soars to Great Heights to Win $25,000 Land Rover Puissance
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
The 60th Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Friday, October 26, with some of its most exciting competition yet, featuring the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, won by Georgina Bloomberg of New York, NY, on Paola 233. Reaching great heights with victory in the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance were Aaron Vale of Williston, FL, and Finou 4. The classes were part of a full schedule of exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions during Military Night, presented by Caterpillar, Inc.
The $25,000 Land Rover Puissance is one of the most popular classes at WIHS to attend, and Friday night’s feature class didn’t disappoint. Aaron Vale and Finou 4, owned by Thinks Like A Horse, jumped to a height of 6’11 ½” to capture victory for the third year in a row.
With a small field in the class, it came down to two very game riders that kept going over five rounds of competition. The wall started at 5’9” and was raised to 6’2”, 6’6”, 6’8 ½”, and finally to 6’11 ½”. Vale and Finou 4 stayed clear, while Andy Kocher and Blaze of Glory II, owned by Erica Hatfield, made it to the final round before knocking blocks off the top of the wall to finish in second place.
“He's got a lot of ability,” said Vale of the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by For Pleasure. “He's very limber, plus he's got a lot of power, so it just seems to be easy for him. I think they could keep raising it, and I'd keep riding him to it.”
“I was just hoping somebody could hang in there a while, so we could get a decent class for the crowd. It was great. Andy's horse jumped it well and hung in there until the last round. It made a really good class and worked out the way that I wanted. I got a little competition, but I still got the blue!” - Aaron Vale
This is Vale’s fifth win in the puissance class at WIHS, with previous wins coming in 1996 with Big Joe, in 1998 on Happyness, and now three consecutive years with Finou 4, who seems to have a certain something that makes him successful over the big wall – despite blindness in his left eye.