The Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic’s culminating event on July 14 carries its name proudly: the $50,000 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund Cleveland Grand Prix. To shorten the name would do a disservice to its top sponsor who began supporting the prestigious heritage horse show in 2018.

The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, known as LMCF, was founded by equestrian Lindsay Maxwell as a means to formalize her commitment to charitable giving. The fund supports events, organizations and programs that align with Ms. Maxwell’s philanthropic priorities and values including improving the lives of children with special needs, enabling access to educational opportunities and providing care, compassion and protection to animals. The LMCF recently expanded its focus to include access and inclusion, encouraging the addition of local days at major horse shows to allow top local riders the opportunity to compete on the same show grounds as the leading national riders.

These values made sponsorship of the Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic a perfect pairing. With its rich history as home to North America’s first show jumping grand prix, the classic’s nonprofit focus (operated by the 501(c)(3) Chagrin Valley PHA Horse Shows Association) contributes to local charities and events. For example, the show hosts a day of competition (July 8) for riders with disabilities, thanks to the support of Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center in Bainbridge Township and the Horse & Hound Relay (July 5) is held in conjunction with the Rescue Village Humane Society’s benefit Bits & Leashes to support a great animal cause.

Accessibility is another shared value as the classic makes participation more accessible to up and coming riders during its opening weekend. The three days of competition this year from today through Sunday before the AA-rated competition begins offer riding classes for young and inexperienced hunter and jumper horses and riders including those with small cross-railfences and non-jumping classes for those who can only walk and trot.

“The Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic is the biggest horse show in our area and many of us grew up riding in it,” said local riding instructor and trainer Margaret Kruse. “I remember my mom (riding instructor/trainer Laurie Maxham) taking me in the Leadline class when I was very young.” Mrs. Kruse operates Royal Pointe Show Stables in Bainbridge and has been in the business for 24 years teaching beginner through advanced riders. “The local (unrated) weekend is something my students all dream of showing in,” she added. Over the years Mrs. Kruse has brought hundreds of enthusiastic riders to the horse show and the more experienced riders stay for the second week of “AA” rated competition.

Shaping the future

While the Chagrin Hunter Jumper Classic is one of nearly a dozen horse shows sponsored by LMCF, they also support several national programs like the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund/USHJA Emerging Athletes Program which held its first 2019 regional training session in June at the University of Findlay. There will be a total of nine Regional Training Sessions held across the country this year.  

“This program, available to riders from all across the country, including local riders from right here in Chagrin Falls, offers extensive training by top professionals where students can learn everything from the basics of riding to the skills necessary to start an equestrian career,” said LMCF Executive Director Bill Rube. Riders accepted into the five-day training session work with top riding clinicians and stable managers. Instruction focuses on riding flatwork, gymnastics, and course work, as well as an intensive stable-management curriculum with horsemanship skills and barn management.

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