Chick Chapin, a Six Century Rider

By Alice Martin

We have a celebrity in our midst. Chick Chapin is the only person in the US who has completed six Century rides, a record that will probably never be touched. The Dressage Foundation’s Century riders have to perform any dressage test with a horse whose age combined with the age of the rider totals at least 100 years.

The first issue of The Centurion, “an irregularly issued letter to and about the members of The Dressage Foundation Century Club”, in June 2001 listed not one, but four Century rides by Chatham’s own, Charles A. Chapin. Actually his first ride on “Bob”, registered name Chicaro Cocoa, was in 1997, the fourth Century ride in the history of the Dressage Foundation. The fifth Century ride was also performed by Charles A. Chapin, this time on Piroshka, also in 1997. The next year, “Fred”, formally known as Touché, and Chick became the ninth pair in the Century Club program. Ride No. 11 was performed in Virginia by Charles and Zeus. (Zeus belonged to Chick and Nancy Chapin’s daughter Anne, who proposed Zeus as a mount in 1997, when she learned about the program. They had to wait until 2000 when Zeus became old enough to make the age requirement.)

The other rides were performed at the CenterLine IceBreaker and FireCracker shows. CenterLine Dressage presented him with flowers, post rides. His fan club grew each year. The ride with Fred had Chick in his 1940’s USMC uniform and the judge received a military salute. (The pair also received a red ribbon for second place in their IceBreaker class.) His fifth Century was on the home grown Beezie, the 18th Century Ride for the Foundation’s Club in 2002.

Chick, again in his 1943 Marine Artillery Captain’s uniform, achieved his sixth Century ride with Ask Mikey, Century Club ride No. 26 in 2003. Actually he competed twice for that one, once at IceBreaker and then again at Classic. After the first show it was discovered that Mikey was born late in the year, so he was not quite old enough in April. Luckily Kay Meredith, who is a Director of TDF, was the August judge. She was able to hand deliver the handsome engraved bronze plaque that goes to each Century winner.

As Chick says, “The older I get, the easier it is to find mounts to qualify me for the Century Club.” A tip of the top hat to the man who has brought fame to our club and has loved horses all his life. It all started with an eight-year-old selling his bicycle to buy his first pony for $25 including saddle and bridle. A tip of the hat to Roanie who started Charles down that trail.