Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic Celebrates 75 Years of Equestrian Tradition and 60th Anniversary of Chagrin PHA

Chagrin Falls, Ohio – April 2024 – The Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic will celebrate 75 years when the show returns to the Chagrin Valley Farms in Bainbridge on July 5-14, 2024. Much like it was at its inception, the show is run with philanthropic focus and remains true to its hunter/jumper origins.
The longstanding tradition began at the Metroparks Polo Field in Moreland Hills in 1949, when the Chagrin Valley Trails and Riding Club launched its annual two-day, all-breed English and Western horse show as its primary fundraiser. With a beautiful setting unlike any other event in the nation, the venue’s location was an important element in the show’s success although it came with weather challenges over the years.
The Chagrin Valley Trails and Riding Club (CVTRC) began in 1946 when Irene Skuse Tripp invited some of her friends to a meeting. The organization of horsemen made its headquarters at the historic red brick house at the corner of Chagrin River and South Woodland Roads, near the entrance to the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field.

Rodney Jenkins aboard Jazztime, accepts a hunter championship from Chairman Chuck Mapes. Photo from Cleveland Grand Prix: A Show Jumping First, courtesy of Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Shows Inc.

 Membership was open to anyone with a horse, and there was a modest initiation fee and dues. The focus was pleasure trail riding rather than competition. The house and its spacious deck overlooking the polo field were the scene of many parties. Maintaining the clubhouse has been an ongoing project, and painting parties and cleanups were regular activities for the members.
Although the early CVTRC horse show offered classes for carriage driving, western riders and gaited horses, the primary focus was competition for hunters and jumpers.
The horse show became increasingly popular, and by the 1950s, the club members questioned how they would keep up with its need for manpower, time, and talent. By the 1960s, the show had evolved to focus its competition as a prestigious hunter/jumper show, attracting exhibitors and spectators as one of the largest outdoor shows in the nation.
The horse show had reached a point that the organizers decided was far beyond their club mission. They did not want to continue in their demanding roles and were looking for new leaders to step up and take over. Fortunately, they didn’t have to look too far, as the new leaders were already involved with the show.
Board of Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Show Celebrates 60 Years
In 1964 as the Chagrin Valley Trails and Riding Club show wrapped up, Cleveland-area horsemen formed a new local chapter of the national organization, Professional Horseman’s Association (PHA). Charles and Dorothy Mapes, Leah (Goetz) Stroud, and other volunteer horsemen were willing to continue running the newly formed Chagrin Valley PHA. They took over management and responsibility for the horse show as a new Board and under the new name, the Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Show.
Although it was a new focus and leadership for the horse show, many traditions continue like its focus on hunter, jumper, and equitation competition while benefitting the young United States Equestrian Team. Prominent supporters of the show and its beneficiary read like a who’s who of Cleveland society and included Cyrus Eaton, Mr. and Mrs. George M. Humphrey, Courtney Burton, J. Basil Ward, and Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Firestone.
The show committee was open-minded and full of energy. In 1965, the competition was held July 22–25 and hosted about 400 horses and ponies from 15 states; that ended with the nation’s first grand prix show jumping event, the Cleveland Grand Prix. A sudden windstorm disrupted the show on Saturday afternoon, halting the Open Jumper Stake for an hour after the fences were flattened. After the course was rebuilt, the class continued, but perhaps that telling incident was a premonition of Mother Nature’s interest in future horse shows.
Seventy-five years later, the horse show continues under the abbreviated name, Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic. While weather and rising costs hindered competition over the years, organizers always found ways to keep it running. Since 2022, the show has been hosted at Chagrin Valley Farms, which served as host for several years in the ‘90s. The Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic is one of an elite few horse shows proudly designated as a U.S. Equestrian Federation Heritage
For more information on the Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic, entries and prize list, sponsorships and more, visit the new website at

Media contact: Betty Weibel ( or 440-543-8615)

Poor weather and flooding from the Chagrin River plagued the Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic forcing it to relocate over the years from its Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field home. Photo from Cleveland Grand Prix: A Show Jumping First, courtesy of Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Shows Inc.

Photo from Cleveland Grand Prix: A Show Jumping First, courtesy of Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Shows Inc.

Scroll to Top