July 8, 2019 – Despite temperatures near 90 and early thunderstorms, the Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic (CHJC) opened Thursday at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field in Moreland Hills for what turned out to be a beautiful weekend.
More than 160 horses and riders attended Schneider Saddlery Opening Weekend from several states, many from the Great Lakes area. Even when the show postponed Thursday’s late afternoon classes due to storms, most people stayed in high spirits and were immediately ready to step back into the ring the next day.
“Overall, the weekend was a very big success,” said CHJC Chairman Lori Proch. “We had to ride between the raindrops a little bit, but our rings took the water. Everyone got to do what they wanted to do, and we never skipped a beat.”
One of the biggest classes of the weekend was the $5,000 Mini Prix presented by Leikin Motor Companies of Willoughby. Spectators turned out and cheered on a field of 12 competitors. Megan Bash of Hunting Valley (Ohio) rode to a first-place finish aboard Fronsac de Beaufort, an 8-year-old Belgian gelding owned by Julia Hurt.
“He’s a really fantastic, upcoming grand prix horse, but we’re still practicing over the lower jumps,” Bash said. “He did everything I asked of him in the Mini Prix, and I think he jumped super. We’ll hold him off the Grand Prix next week because we want him to develop a little further before putting him under that kind of pressure, but you’ll see him next week in some of the classes.”
Fronsac de Beaufort will probably be in Thursday’s $5,000 Open Speed Stake and Friday’s $10,000 Welcome Stake, according to Bash. She will be entering Sunday’s $50,000 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Cleveland Grand Prix with Silver Spring, who has placed in the Grand Prix several times.
“We’re looking forward to rated week,” Bash added, speaking on behalf of her team at Cleveland Equestrian. “The Board runs a great show here Opening Weekend. I thought that all of my students rode well, and we had a lot of fun.”
In the hunter ring, the top class with 22 entries was the $3,500 Mini Hunter Derby, presented by Assured Partners Insurance. Linda Radigan of Vermillion (Ohio) rode RS Darwin to top honors, beating returning champion, Charismatic (also ridden by Radigan), by half a point. Radigan and Charismatic took second in the class, and she had a fifth-place finish aboard Interstellar.
“Last year, this was the first ever derby I rode Charismatic in, and he’s been my go-to derby horse since,” Radigan said. “Darwin is a bit newer to the derbies, and I thought he was fantastic. He really tried hard on the rollbacks, he was with me the whole time, and he felt like he was having a good time. I was thrilled.
“The youngest one, Interstellar, is only 6 years old, and this was his second derby ever,” Radigan added. “I was very fortunate with all my rides. The course was fun with a lot of turns and rollbacks, so you could really show off your horse.”
Radigan will be in both the hunter and jumper rings as the horse show continues. Charismatic can be seen again in the $20,000 International Hunter Derby on Saturday; RS Darwin will enter Sunday’s $5,000 National Hunter Derby; and Interstellar will return for the Sunday’s $7,500 Future Hunter Stake, which Radigan feels is a great opportunity because of how few young-hunter derbies are offered locally.
“I also have Balveneur Z for the Grand Prix on Sunday, so it’s going to be a busy week for us,” she said. “He’s going to jump the Welcome Stake on Friday and then do the Grand Prix. Being from Cleveland, I always like to come to this horse show, so my whole spring was getting the horses and me ready for these big classes. We like to have our peak performance for Chagrin.”
Classic continues with rated competition
Competition at the Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic at the rated show, which attracts competitors from around the country and beyond, begins Tuesday and runs through Sunday, July 14. Highlights not to be missed include the $5,000 Open Speed Stake (Thursday), $10,000 Welcome Stake presented by the Shaughnessy Family (Friday), Junction Auto Family Day (Saturday), the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby (Saturday), and the $50,000 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Cleveland Grand Prix (Sunday). For more information including tickets (available at the entrance gate) visit the website at chagrinhunterjumperclassic.org.