MEET THE TEAM
Chagrin Valley Farms’ team of camp and lesson riding instructors share the philosophy that riding should always be fun and safe and they know how to provide a positive experience for every level of rider. If you are looking for additional services—horse training, coaching at horse shows on the road, buying or selling horses and ponies, Chagrin Valley Farms-based trainers can help you transition to the next level.
Sue coordinates the camp and lesson programs, in addition to providing a positive lesson environment. She learned to ride at Red Raider Stables and fosters the therapeutic benefits of the horse and rider relationship. Sue teaches beginner and intermediate riding lessons and has been an instructor since the Farm’s inception in 1983. She specializes in getting new riders started and guiding those who are interested, to the more advanced programs at the Farm. Sue makes Academy horse shows fun and rewarding, cheering on her students and supporting the parents.
Cari grew up showing ponies in New England. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Ohio University, she taught elementary school for 10 years while pursuing a career on the A circuit as an Amateur rider. After her first daughter was born she left the public school system, but continued to show and began training as a career. She specializes in starting very young riders and takes them from the first lesson to the show ring. She and her assistant trainer, Emily Alinen specialize in starting young ponies and horses and always have animals available for half-lease.
RANDE & KELBY MELLEN
Rande is a lifelong equestrian originally from the Boston area who rode hunter horses and evented. She was an A Pony Clubber. She has been training hunters since 1986 and raised her own family of riders who competed at the national level. Daughter Kelby works with her in the business and Rande trains riders of all ages from pony kids to adult hunters. She specializes in pony hunters and young riders and has horses for sale and lease.
SHIRLEY KOPAS & STEFANIE PORTMAN
In addition to being a riding instructor at Chagrin Valley Farms, Shirley has a designed and built farms, managed facilities, and worked as a trainer at track and breeding operations. She teamed up with pro rider Stefanie Portman to work with beginner through advanced riders. Stefanie rides, trains, and shows horses at all levels. Her coaching includes taking riders to nationally ranked competitions. They have a number of horses available for lease.
Meghan has an extensive background in hunters and dressage and rode in interscholastic competition as the Allegheny College Team Captain. She competes in dressage and has qualified for Regional Finals multiple times. She attends trainer clinics and workshops for therapeutic riding and uses her experience to foster confidence, safety and achievement in her students.
Erika began teaching in the summer camp at Chagrin Valley Farms full time in 2016, having ridden most of her life in the hunter and jumper world. After showing horses as a child, she joined the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Team and competed during high school, qualifying for Nationals.
Aimee joins us with a degree in Recreation with an Equestrian concentration from Houghton College in Western New York and has worked at a number of equine facilities in stable management, training and teaching positions. Most recently she was a riding and camp instructor at Sand Hill Stable. She has competition experience in horse trials, dressage and hunter/jumper shows.
Sonja went to college at Lake Erie College and double majored in the Equine Teacher/Trainer and Equine Entrepreneurship programs. Teaching and showing throughout school, she also bought, retrained and sold horses for the jumper show ring. After graduation Sonja took a position at a large show facility in Florida. She was an assistant trainer and taught lessons there, before returning to Ohio where she has worked riding and training at local farms.