WELCOME TO THE CHAGRIN VALLEY EQUESTRIAN ACADEMY & PONY CLUB*

Have you or your child dreamed of learning to ride a horse?

There is no better time to start riding than today! Learn more about our programs below.

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Welcome!

Our mission is to train, educate, and inspire current and future generations of American equestrians in our region to be responsible, well-rounded horsemen and horsewomen, and citizens, by developing and maintaining a positive, healthy community of great people.

Our year-round programs teach beginners through advanced riders in programs that emphasize good horsemanship, sportsmanship and, above all else, safety.

Our riding academy is, first and foremost, a school that trains and educates, and connects students with each other, and then connects riders with opportunities to test their progress and abilities through testing and competition.

There are no grooms at CVF, so riders are taught how to care for horses as a regular part of our curriculum, and we expect our members to be actively involved in the teamwork required to properly care for and ride horses.

We value good horsemanship over competition at all costs, and our training programs reflect that spirit. While jumping is what attracts many people to riding horses, our instructors put a great emphasis on flat work, recognizing that without a good foundation on the ground, problems are sure to develop while jumping.

Our philosophy is that the more you ride, the more you will learn, and we encourage riders to ride as many horses as possible to learn to manage different personalities and develop better all-around balance. We also teach our students to be “thinking riders”-that is, riders who want to understand the how and the why behind all that we do.

Learn to Ride at Chagrin Valley Farms!

For placement purposes, all riders who are new to our programs will take a one-time introductory evaluation ride, whether they have previous riding experience or not. This one-hour session allows our instructors to get to know a student’s level of riding and for riders and parents to ask questions and learn more about our programs. After your initial evaluation lesson, you’ll either continue private lessons (if needed) or be placed in an appropriate ability group for continued advancement. Individual lessons can also be scheduled during non-peak hours. Don’t be intimidated by the term “evaluation!” These are low-stress sessions to help us meet your needs best. For children, these sessions allow us to assess students’ motivation to learn and ability to focus on instruction to create a safe environment.

For more information on getting started in lessons, call Sue Ford at 440-543-7233 or email our lesson coordinator, Ashley Miclea, at amiclea@chagrinvalleyfarms.com.

Riding & Horsemanship Membership Programs

Our membership programs are designed for those who are ready to make a long-term commitment to developing their knowledge and skills as equestrians. ​Similar to a gym or country club membership, our program offers additional exclusive members-only benefits. The benefits to membership are intended to provide our riders with more than just an hour in the saddle. In addition to regular riding lessons, our members benefit from:
  • Unmounted lessons / meetings focused on horse management topics and learning that both prepare our students to be well-rounded and educated horsemen and women, and prepare them for horse ownership (if desired!).
  • Guest speakers
  • Community social events and benefits each month
  • Access to our club lounge, classroom, and equestrian library (opening mid-November 2023)
  • And more…
We offer three basic membership options below to suit a variety of riding goals and budgets, as well as several others you can learn about from our staff, including options to have exclusive use of a certain horse, etc. 
1 Ride / Wk

The Basic Equestrian

  • 1 x Mounted Lesson (Ride) per week
  • 2 x Unmounted Lessons / Meetings per month
  • Monthly Academy Social Events Included
  • 10% Discount at Schneider’s Saddlery
2 Rides/Wk

The Motivated Equestrian

  • 2 x Mounted Lessons (Rides) per week
  • 2 x Unmounted Lessons / Meetings per month
  • Monthly Academy Social Events Included
  • 10% Discount at Schneider’s Saddlery
3 Rides/Wk

The Aspiring Equestrian

  • 3 x Mounted Lessons (Rides) per week
  • 2 x Unmounted Lessons / Meetings per month
  • Monthly Academy Social Events Included
  • 10% Discount at Schneider’s Saddlery

Program Highlights

Riding Lessons

All Levels of Riders

Whether you are new to riding, looking to improve your skills, or returning after time off, Chagrin Valley Farms lesson program has options for all levels and ages of riders. Our experienced instructors teach you on the ground and in the saddle.

Group Riding Lessons

Group Riding Lessons

Group lessons are scheduled by riding level and include 3 to 6 people in the ring. Beginner classes are offered to students with enough experience to control their horse in a group setting.

One-on-One Lessons

Private Lessons

Private lessons with our instructors are scheduled on an individual basis between the student and instructor. Semi-private options are also available for two people in a shared session.

Adult Lessons

Adult Riding Lessons

Adults – It’s Never Too Late to Start Riding! “Elle aboard Tori with instructor Sonja recently began adult riding lessons.” Read more…

Our Lesson Horses

Quality School Horses

Our school horses come from a variety of backgrounds and have various skill sets that will help meet your riding needs. From the beginner on a horse for the first time to the experienced rider looking for a higher level of challenge, we can match one of our talented mounts to your riding ability.

Lesson Opportunities

Investment Options

You can choose to ride once, twice, or three times per week (or more!) to meet your (or your child’s) training goals!

Academy and Lesson FAQs

CVF riding programs emphasize safety and fundamentals. We want your riding experience to be both positive and educational. Great care has gone into developing your lesson curriculum, and we take pride in offering patient and thorough instruction on quality horses suited to rider ability. Listed below are some answers to commonly asked questions.

What curriculum do you use to consistently train and educate your students?

We have chosen to use the U.S. Pony Club curriculum as the foundation of our riding and horsemanship program curriculum, because it is progressive, well-rounded, standards-based, and recognized nationally and internationally. It also connects our students with a wealth of information, great resources, and opportunities at the local, national, and international level.

Many other riding schools and programs have tried to develop their own curriculums, but we believe that none are as thorough as USPC and that if a curriculum is not recognized by others, it has far less value beyond the facility implementing it. For more information, please visit our Chagrin Valley Pony Club page (soon to be published) or www.ponyclub.org.

Do I have to be a U.S. Pony Club member to ride at CVF in the Academy riding and education program?

No, you don’t! But, we highly recommend it because membership will connect you with a great deal of knowledge and resources, and your testing certifications will not be formally recognized by USPC unless you are a full member. However, for those who don’t wish to join or participate fully in Pony Club, we’re happy to have you join us for all of our activities!

What is covered in mounted lessons?

A rider will learn to guide a variety of horses through straight lines, turns, and circles at all of the gaits while maintaining the proper position and balance. They learn how to correctly space their horses on the rail, as well as the fundamentals of posting, backing, diagonals, leads, and a balanced position. Once a rider is balanced enough on the flat, he/she will learn to jump over small cross-rail fences. When a rider maintains a strong position and can effectively jump a variety of horses over cross-rail fences, he/she will be moved to the next level.

What is covered in unmounted lessons and why do these matter?

Our memberships included unmounted lessons as an expectation for our students because we have seen that riders who have a more thorough understanding of the training, care, and physiology of horses are better able to ride and care for the well-being of their equine partner, and have more realistic expectations of them. Our unmounted lessons are based on the U.S. Pony Club Horse Management curriculum. Example subjects include: horse anatomy, emergency first aid, feed and nutrition, conditioning, etc. The unmounted lessons/meetings have the added benefit of bringing our riders together to socialize and meet the rest of our community.

It's raining; are there lessons today?

We rarely cancel due to rain. We ride on cloudy days, in the mist and in light drizzle, or move inside. Only in cases of heavy rain do we cancel. Never assume lessons are off; please check your email and call the office first. It may be raining two miles down the road, but if it’s not raining here, we ride.

What is CVF's lesson cancellation policy?

Lessons cancelled within 24 hours are not refunded, but riders are allowed one make-up ride per month to account for sickness, unexpected problems, etc. At the end of each lesson semester, we offer a make-up week for riders who have missed lessons and weren’t able to make them up prior to that week. We do our best to work with our customers, but please understand that last minute cancellations create unfilled lessons and excessive make-ups disrupt the training of others. If spaces are available, make up rides may be scheduled before the end-of-quarter make-up week.

What if I don't get the horse I want?

Our staff and instructors may need to adjust horse and rider scheduling. There are many reasons for this. Please accept these occasional changes as an opportunity to try out a new horse, or ride one you haven’t had in a lesson for a while. You may just find a new friend!

What if I don't get the instructor I want?

From time to time, instructors change or may be out for a variety of reasons, so it’s important for our students to understand that taking lessons with different instructors every once in a while is a positive, healthy thing because other instructors may explain things in a different way that’s easier to understand or that leads to questions that help a rider understand better. We ask that parents help us to develop and reinforce this mentality with their children.

What should I wear? Do I need riding equipment?

For riding, long pants(breaches preferred and expected within your first few rides) and a shoe with a heel are required. For girls and women, long hair must be pulled back in a ponytail or bun to avoid interfering with a rider’s vision. We have helmets and crops to loan if you do not have your own, but whether you borrow a helmet or buy your own, you’ll need to make sure that your helmet fits you properly. Also, no bicycle helmets, please. Chewing gum, baggy clothing, and dangling jewelry are not permitted while riding. If you wish to purchase your own equipment, we encourage you to speak with an instructor first for recommendations. ​

Aside from riding clothing, you do not need to bring anything. Some riders choose to bring a personal saddle pad for a bit of personal flair, which is allowed, but not expected!

What time should I arrive?

You should arrive at least a half hour before your lesson. This allows time to check in, select a properly-fitting helmet and pick up a crop (if needed), and tack up your horse. After you mount, the barn staff will help you adjust your stirrups. You will then walk your horse around the ring to limber him up. If you are going to be late, please give us a call so that we can give you an extra hand to get you into the ring quickly, but please don’t make it a habit!

ACADEMY CALENDAR (CURRENT QUARTER)