Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic: Home of North America’s First Grand Prix

1965: Mary Mairs Chapot and Tomboy, winners of the first Cleveland Grand Prix

Looking back at the 2023 Winner’s Circle

Congratulations to every horse-and-rider combination who competed in last year’s Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic! Here’s a closer look at a few of the 2023 winners.

Rice with her award.

Sarah Allison Steffee Sportsmanship Award: Julia Rice

Each year, a special panel of judges awards the Sarah Allison Steffee Sportsmanship Award to the junior or young rider who exhibits the most exemplary conduct around the showgrounds. For her fantastic sportsmanship, manners, dress, and consideration of others including her own horses, Julia Rice of Hinckley was honored with this award in 2023. 

Rice was a busy competitor at last year’s Classic, riding multiple horses in the hunter and jumper rings while cheering on her fellow exhibitors. Alongside the Sportsmanship Award, she brought home a second-place finish in the $1,500 Open Speed Stake and the Children’s Jumper Reserve Championship with Metro Lass, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse owned by Abby Lockwood of Apex, N.C. She was also the Children’s Hunter 14 & Under Champion with To Be Des T, her 11-year-old Warmblood gelding.

Portman with Acapulco

$9,999 Mini Prix: Stefanie Portman and Acapulco

Professional Stefanie Portman was on fire during the 2023 horse show, supporting the horses and riders of Quiet Meadow Farm while competing successfully in several major classes. The Burton resident strives to tailor each horse’s training program to their unique needs, developing a partnership with their riders to withstand any challenges in the show ring. Her focus on building confidence and knowledge was no more evident than on her own 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Acapulco, with whom she swept every class she entered last year. The pair took top honors in the High Schooling Jumper, $1,500 Open Speed Stake and $9,999 Mini Prix. 

Stefanie also made several successful appearances in the hunter ring, including a fifth-place finish in the $7,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby aboard Famos Amos, a 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jodi Fryar of Aurora. 

$7,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby: Campbell Kahn and Big Casanova

Securing the blue ribbon in the $7,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby was Campbell Kahn of Moreland Hills riding Big Casanova. Campbell has worked hard to develop her partnership with her 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding, which was apparent every time they stepped into the ring during last year’s Classic. The duo had fantastic rounds in the hunter and equitation classes all week; they secured not only the Derby win but also championships in the Junior Hunter 3’3”/3’6” Classic, Large Junior Hunter 3’6”, and the 15-17 equitation divisions. 

Kahn also finished sixth in the Derby with Coconut On The Rocks Z, a 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Blackheart’s LLC. 

1973: Bernie Trarig with Springdale

Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic Timeline

1949
Chagrin Trails and Riding Club starts fundraising for a two-day horse show at Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field to raise money for clubhouse repairs.

1964
The two-day show has evolved to a major hunter/jumper horse show and the Riding Club looks for new horse show management.

Local horsemen from Chagrin Valley PHA (Professional Horsemen’s Assn.) and nonprofit Board of volunteers take over horse show and continue growth.

1965
The Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Show is held at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field and proceeds benefit the United States Equestrian Team (USET).

Laddie Andahazy and D. Jerry Baker approached the new Chagrin Valley PHA to host the first show jumping Grand Prix in North America in response to U.S. Equestrian Team’s need to compete on an international stage and build show jumping in America. On July 25, 1965, the Cleveland Grand Prix was held with a $3,000 purse sponsored by J. Basil Ward and won by Mary Mairs Chapot aboard Tomboy.

1978
After continued growth, national acclaim, and ongoing weather issues hampering the show, Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Show teams up with Gene Mische and Stadium Jumping, Inc. show management.

1983–89
Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Show separates from Stadium Jumping and runs at various local venues: Lake Erie College George M. Humphrey Equestrian Center in Concord Twp., Ridgewood Horse Show Facility in Medina, and Chagrin Valley Farms in Bainbridge. Stadium Jumping runs shows and the Cleveland Grand Prix at Polo Field.

1990
Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Show relocates to Chagrin Valley Farms in Bainbridge and hosts the $25,000 Cleveland Grand Prix. They add classes for riders with disabilities in partnership with Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center. This runs back-to-back with Stadium Jumping and American Grand Prix events at Polo Field.

1995
All shows are canceled while new all-weather rings are installed at Polo Field and Chagrin Valley PHA reorganizes, seeking sponsorship and new leadership.

1996
Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic presented by the Chagrin Valley PHA is held at Polo Field with $30,000 KeyBank Cleveland Grand Prix; benefits USET and the local Therapeutic Riding Center.

2020
Horse show canceled due to COVID and venue restrictions. Lack of corporate sponsorship and riding costs to maintain the Polo Field add to the issues.

2021
Chagrin Valley Hunter Jumper Classic relocates to Chagrin Valley Farms, which is under new ownership and investing in major improvements to build an outdoor show facility with state-of-the-art footing.

2024
Chagrin Valley PHA Board celebrates 60 years and reorganizes; the horse show continues to grow during its comeback at Chagrin Valley Farms, also hosting riders with disabilities classes.