Extremely energetic, strong-willed, goal-oriented, enthusiastic, competitive and fun-loving are just some of the ways to describe Jake Chalfin. He's also a loyal friend, loving son and brother, passionate environmentalist, and a fiercely determined 32-year-old man who has vowed to take on the challenge of walking again—no matter how long it takes.
Jake in the Winner's Circle at Montpelier Photo courtesy of Tod Marks
Jake has always pushed the limits, living by the mantra "Work hard. Play hard." He firmly believes in living life deliberately, with passion and enthusiasm for everything he does. He also has an incredibly strong sense of responsibility to his local community and the environment. That's why he chose a career in an environmentally sustainable field and why he has been actively involved in land conservation efforts and community recycling programs.
Jake's love of horses and equestrian sports began at an early age. He was only 7 years old when he first started taking riding lessons. A year later, he joined the 4-H Club and soon after joined the Pickering Hunt Pony Club. While in Pony Club, Jake was introduced to Eventing. It wasn't long before he went out on his own, competing with a variety of local trainers as his coaches. Jake continued to Event throughout high school and college.
Around 2005, Jake became intrigued by steeplechasing, attending local race meets and watching videos of each week's races at the local pub. The more he watched, the more he wanted to be a part of it. By 2007, his growing interest turned into reality when he began riding under rules. He finished seventh in his debut ride and would go on to win two races and $15,450 in total purses his first year.
In 2008, Jake's most impressive ride was a hard-earned fourth place in the famed Maryland Hunt Cup. With 17 starts that year, he won $14,300 in total purses. In 2009, Jake had 23 starts, earning $18,550 in total purses. This year, Jake won second place at the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at the Grand National and was in the money four times, earning $7,150.
During his short career, Jake had the honor to ride for some of steeplechasing's best trainers and owners. He earned 20 victories on the flat and over jumps on the NSA circuit and accumulated 21 seconds and 17 thirds. He also won numerous victories on the point-to-point circuit.
Always looking for an exciting adventure and a way to challenge himself, Jake began skiing at a young age. When he went to college in Colorado, he was able to take his passion for skiing to a whole new level. He traveled around the state, searching for the most challenging runs and trying to time the weather to get perfect powder days. To Jake, waist-deep powder on severely steep slopes is the recipe for a perfect day of skiing.
When he wasn't pursuing the next cup or flying down a mountainside, Jake was hard at work as a sales and marketing director at Laurel Valley Soils in Avondale, Pa., a position he has held for eight years. This job is a perfect fit for Jake because of his relentless love for the environment and commitment to environmental stewardship. He is looking forward to returning to work and reconnecting with his clients and colleagues as soon as possible.
What else can we tell you about Jake? He received a bachelor's of science degree from Colorado State University with a major in equine science. He also attended Kimberton Waldorf School in Kimberton, Pa., for grades K1 through 12.
So many people have been touched by Jake's personality. Katie Hembrough, graciously, compiled photos and put them into this short film of Jake growing up.