Feb. 1, 2024 – Ocala, FL – HITS Post Time Farm was abuzz with action on Thursday as riders competed across varying levels of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at the third week of HITS Ocala. The 10-week series hosts a variety of competitions from the very beginning levels to the most advanced in the buzzing equestrian capital of Ocala, Florida. Thursday’s featured event came in the form of the $25,000 Alliant Private Client Grand Prix and a win from the ever-successful Aaron Vale. Vale was one 20 horse-and-rider combinations to contest Mark McGowan’s first round track but only a quarter of those contenders managed to advance to the short course. Vale qualified two mounts for the jump off in Obi Wan and Eldoranda Z, and put forward two more clean rounds. His short course time of 45.59 seconds on ThinksLikeAHorse’s 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Eldorado van de Zeshoek), Eldoranda Z, secured a fourth place finish but it was his steady partner Obi Wan that placed him at the top.

“The jump off was pretty straightforward of what to do, and it was a good track for Obi Wan,” Vale said of ThinksLikeAHorse’s 12-year-old Warmblood gelding (Centadel). “The turns suited him and his weaknesses were not exposed; if I was going to design a course he would excel over, that’s probably one I would rebuild.”

For Obi Wan, winning is a way of life at HITS, and one that keeps Vale coming back for more.“Some horses suit certain arenas better than others,” he explained. “ Obi Wan did well here on the new arena last year so it makes it kind of easy to just say ok we should show him there. His results have been really strong here.”

The pair’s winning time of 43.45 seconds was challenged by Adeline Rohrbach who piloted her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Carinjo), Cooper 211, to an almost-victory with a time of 43.76 seconds. Declan Egan once again found himself in the winner’s circle aboard his own 12-year-old Warmblood gelding (Cheers Cassini), Renkum A’toast, as he rounded out the top three after stopping the clock in 44.88 seconds.

Jiran R and Morgan Ward kicked off the week’s competition as the winners of the $2,500 Vitaflex Open Welcome Stake. For full results, please visit www.showmanagementsystem.com