Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic Closes With Rave Reviews

Ali Wolff and Casall (Credit: Anne Gittins)

July 15, 2019 – The Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic (CHJC) closed Sunday amid cheers and rave reviews. The 10-day horse show celebrated 70 years of equestrian competition with various events and beautiful weather conditions at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field in Moreland Hills.

The grand finale of the competition was the $50,000 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Cleveland Grand Prix, which has been running since 1965. An estimated 4,000 spectators turned out to cheer on a field of 14 horses, and they weren’t disappointed. Designed by Eric Mayberry, the course consisting of 15 jumping efforts eliminated all but four competitors from the original starting field. Two of those four were Ohioans Ali Wolff (New Albany) and Megan Bash (Hunting Valley).

First in the jump-off was Elyria Sitte, a 9-year-old Swedish mare, ridden by Filip de Wandel of Mechanicsburg, Pa. The pair had been together for about eight weeks, and this was Elyria Sitte’s first grand prix. They set a speedy time to beat with a clear score of 38.989 seconds. Originally from Belgium, this was de Wandel’s first time at the CHJC.

Next in the jump-off was Willie Tynan of Wellington, Fla., aboard Freya, the only of his four entries to clear the first round. De Wandel’s lead held as Tynan and Freya knocked a rail at the second-to-last jump, fashioned after the Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland.

Ali Wolff of New Albany, Ohio, was third in the order, riding her 14-year-old Holsteiner Casall. With similar speed and tight turns, Wolff jumped clean in 38.943 seconds, beating de Wandel’s time by just hundredths of a second.

Closing out the round was Megan Bash of Hunting Valley, Ohio, aboard 20-year-old Silver Spring, the most seasoned horse in the class. They also went fault-free in the jump-off but couldn’t out-speed the other competitors, earning a time of 42.904.

“I didn’t even know,” Wolff said about the difference between the times. She added that if she watched too many riders before her round, she would get too competitive. “I have to focus on just riding my round, not worrying about someone else’s.”

Earlier in the week, Wolff and Casall won the $10,000 Welcome Stake, and de Wandel and Elyria Sitte topped the field in the $5,000 Open Speed Stake. Both said they were very happy with their horses throughout the show.

“They do such an amazing job here and run such a great show that I want to keep supporting that,” Wolff said. “This is also a great horse show to use for getting clients into the ring in bigger classes to gain experience, while at the same time competing against a lot of big-name people.”

$50,000 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Cleveland Grand Prix Results

PlacingHorseRiderHometownScorePrize Money
1CasallAli WolffNew Albany, OH0/0/38.943$15,000
2Elyria SitteFilip de WandelMechanicsburg, PA0/0/38.989$11,000
3Silver SpringMegan BashHunting Valley, OH0/0/42.904$6,500
4FreyaWillie TynanWellington, FL0/4$4,000
5Fancy GirlWillie TynanWellington, FL4/77.643$3,000
6DominiqueWillie TynanWellington, FL4/80.474$2,500
7Halibo van TexelhofHayley BarnhillCollierville, TN4/81.968$2,000
8Quirie 2Ali WolffNew Albany, OH4/83.438$1,500
9Gregory ESHayley BarnhillCollierville, TN4/83.758$1,500
10Carlton CafeJill GaffneyBatavia, OH4/84.092$1,000
11VDL GiardoAlexa Lowe WisemanUpperville, VA4/86.644$1,000
12CorneelVirginia BonnieUpperville, VA4/86.787$1,000

In Hunter Action

In the hunter ring, professional Kelley Farmer of Wellington, Fla. won the top hunter prize in the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Saturday night. She was the busiest rider of the night with four entries and won aboard Consent, a 7-year-old Westphalian owned by David Glefke in partnership with Olympian Kent Farrington.

Kelley Farmer and Consent in their victory lap (Credit: Anne Gittins)

“All four of my horses were first-year horses this year,” Farmer said. “This horse (Consent) is so amazing. I was a little afraid coming in because we kept taking second in other shows, but he tries so hard. I’m so excited for him because he deserves those kinds of scores.” Consent earned a combined score of 401 points between his classic and handy rounds, beating second-place Nandino, ridden by Samantha Cooper of Hudson, Ohio, by nearly 20 points.

In the $5,000 National Hunter Derby on Sunday, Jennifer Alfano of Ocala, Fla., took top honors aboard the 12-year-old Silver Lining, owned by Kathy Chiaf of Edmond, Okla.

“We always love coming here,” Alfano said. “It’s a nice show in a nice area, and they always do a really nice job. This is probably one of our favorite shows of the season.”

Many Chagrin Valley riders did well against national competitors, and the list of champions and reserve riders include many children and adult winners. For full results on the show, visit horseshowsonline.com and chagrinhunterjumperclassic.org.

Other honors

Many awards were given outside the show ring, including the Mike Rheinheimer Equitation Award, which was awarded to Graciela Robert of Concord Twp., Ohio. For the best landscaped stable area, Megan Bash’s Cleveland Equestrian (Novelty, Ohio) won top honors in the Best Tack Room contest.

The grooms and braiders of these horses were also celebrated with the Best Presented Horse award. The winner of this contest was the team behind Dalliance, a 6-year-old French-bred owned by Michaella Gerlacher of Galena, Ohio.

Ali Wolff and Casall accompanied by show officials, Tessa Merrill, Sam Francetic, and Caroline Holman on behalf of the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund (Credit: Anne Gittins)

However, out of all the winners, none shared an experience like that of Sam Francetic of Euclid, Ohio. The Francetics, along with Tessa Merrill and her family, were invited to the $50,000 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Cleveland Grand Prix as representatives of Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center. Both girls took home top ribbons in Monday’s (July 8) Riders with Disabilities competition, and Sam helped present the Grand Prix awards.

“It was our first time ever to see the show, and it was just amazing,” said Sam’s mother, Kim Francetic. “You don’t realize they’re jumping that high when you’re watching TV. We felt honored to be invited by the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, and we’re so grateful for Fieldstone Farm for these kinds of opportunities.”

Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic AA-Rated Week Championship Results

Division/PlacingHorseOwnerRiderHometown
Amateur Owner Hunter GRAND ChampionMiddletonMelissa Jacobs LLCMelissa JacobsBuffalo, NY
Junior Hunter GRAND ChampionLucretiaIsabella FabriziIsabella FabriziStrongsville, OH
Adult Amateur Hunter GRAND ChampionSancerreLisa RossiLisa RossiWashington, DC
Pony Hunter GRAND ChampionV.H. Paris FoxGianna SieglerGianna SieglerChagrin Falls, OH
Children’s Hunter GRAND ChampionCandescenceCara CheskaAnnie SoperWest Palm Beach, FL
GRAND Hunter ChampionConsentDavid GlefkeKelley FarmerWellington, FL
ReserveTrulyMaarten HuygensDanielle MenkerWellington, FL
Children’s Pony Hunter ChampionAmbitionMandy Bittner VergerioKelly PaigeChagrin Falls, OH
ReserveAnnings CatwalkIsabelle KaufmanIsabelle KaufmanBeachwood, OH
USHJA 2’3” Hunter ChampionNever EverDavid GershDavid GershWebster, NY
ReserveVelezVanessa Jones-WashingtonSamantha CooperHudson, OH
USHJA 2’6” Hunter ChampionH. DevereuxLisa KaramMichaella GerlacherGalena, OH
ReserveTurn KeyKim CareyEmily AlinenChagrin Falls, OH
USHJA 2’9” Hunter ChampionAmaze MeEmily KowitEmily KowitHunting Valley, OH
ReservePhantomJori GreeneJori GreeneChagrin Falls, OH
USHJA 3’ Hunter ChampionSelinaElizabeth JacobsJaime BatesJava Center, NY
ReserveCandescenceCara CheskaCara CheskaWellington, FL
Green Hunter 3’ ChampionRhapsodySharon O’NeillJennifer AlfanoOcala, FL
ReserveSancerreLisa RossiRachel KennedyBrookeville, MD
High Performance Hunter ChampionWitnessDavid GlefkeKelley FarmerWellington, FL
ReserveEnchantedChristel WellerJennifer AlfanoOcala, FL
Performance Hunter 3’6” ChampionCharismaticAlexa KaasLinda RadiganVermillion, OH
ReserveNandinoEllen MalsonSamantha CooperHudson, OH
Performance Hunter 3’3” ChampionAristocratTracy Scheriff-MuserHavens SchattGeorgetown, KY
ReserveNoble BlueUse the Ring LLCHavens SchattGeorgetown, KY
Green Hunter 3’6” ChampionKindredKathy ChiafJennifer AlfanoOcala, FL
ReserveWitnessDavid GlefkeKelley FarmerWellington, FL
Green Hunter 3’3” ChampionTrulyMaarten HuygensDanielle MenkerWellington, FL
ReserveCortinaJulia McNerneyHavens SchattGeorgetown, KY
Green Conformation ChampionConsentDavid Glefke