Skip to content

UPHA Challenge Cup and Exceptional Challenge Cup National Champions Crowned at the UPHA American Royal National Championship Hor



A competitive group of riders competed for the UPHA Challenge Cup and Exceptional Challenge Cup National Championships held during the UPHA American Royal National Championship Horse Show in Kansas City, MO, November 8-13, 2021. 

The week started off with the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup National Finals. Riders competed in five different levels designed to showcase each of their abilities. 

Special thanks to the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup program sponsors Elisabeth Goth, LLC and Golden Creek Farm, Inc. whose generous support allows UPHA to award scholarships and cover the competition expenses and horse transportation to compete in the National Finals. In addition, funding is also provided for qualifying classes throughout the year at no charge to competitions.

The UPHA Challenge Cup riders competed in three age groups, from which three 
national champions were crowned: Senior, Junior, and 10 & Under Walk/Trot. The two older age groups performed rail work and a pattern in Phase I preliminary stage; while the 10 & under competitors performed rail work only. Only rail work is required in Phase 2. Showmanship is paramount throughout the class. Judging in all UPHA Challenge Cup classes is based 60% on rail work and 40% on the individual workout.

Judges for the UPHA Challenge Cup and Exceptional Challenge Cup Finals were: Robert Byers, Simpsonville, KY; Maria Gilman, Land O Lakes, FL; Matthew Roberts, Scottsdale, AZ.

UPHA Challenge Cup National Finals
Senior Champion
Alayna Applegate from Ewing, KY was named the UPHA Challenge Cup Senior National Champion. She rode Altar of the Sun to top honors under the instruction of Desmar Stables.

Senior Reserve Champion
The reserve champion in the Senior division was Isabelle Fischer, Villa Hills, KY riding Special Gentlemen. Fischer is instructed by Shelley Fisher.

Remaining Top Ten:
•Samantha Swiger, Charleston, WV riding Sugar Fund, instructed by Visser Stables.
•Finn Cooper, Cherry Hills Village, CO riding CH EQ Brookhill's Passion Punch, instructed by Knollwood Farm.
•Bostyn Leffler, Zionsville, IN riding CH Samur's Cover Girl, instructed by Select Show Horses.
•Alayna Locascio, Dayton, OH riding Nuttin' Innocent, instructed by Cater Stables.
•Ella White, Medina, OH riding Jalapena Lena, instructed by Erin Boggs.
•Sophie Yih, Alamo, CA riding Personal Legend, instructed by Milestone Farm.
•Emily Egner, Hinesville, GA riding Writer's Block, instructed by Milestone Farm.
•Morgan Peer, Clive, IA riding Nuttin More Elegant, instructed by Anne Butler.

Junior Champion
Brie Keeton from Maysville, KY was named the UPHA Challenge Cup Junior National Champion. She rode Super Scandal to top honors under the instruction of Desmar Stables.

Junior Reserve Champion
The reserve champion in the Junior division was Brooklyn Gaskill of Washington Twp, OH riding Viva La Fantasia. Gaskill is instructed by Desmar Stables.

Remaining Top Ten:

•Ava Perry, Londonderry, NH riding Ed's Perfect Treat, instructed by Jessica Verrill.
•Lillian French, Waukee, IA riding Sweet Merchant, instructed by Louw Stables
•Savanna Graham, Brentwood, TN riding Twenty Four Karat Magic, instructed by Milestone Farm.
•Abigail Van Kooten, Leighton, IA riding Absolutely On Heir, instructed by Timber Hills Farm.
•Alivia Garwood, Urbandale, IA riding TSV The Mystery Continues, instructed by Louw Stables.
•Jacqueline Schatzberg, Cave Creek, AZ riding CH Heir's Halo, instructed by Julianne Rafferty.
•Harper Breaux, New Orleans, LA riding Undulata's Power Broker ERB, instructed by Cascade Stables.
•Shaye Jensen, Edgerton, WI riding Pure Royalty, instructed by Equitate.
 

10 & Under Walk & Trot National Champion
The champion in the 10 & Under Walk & Trot division was Alexis Hackney, Scott Depot, WV, riding Divine Investment. Hackney is instructed by Meadow Dream.

10 & Under Walk & Trot Reserve Champion
The reserve champion in the 10 & Under Walk & Trot Division was Kenlea Koenig, Louisville, KY, riding Street Style. This duo is trained by Zubrod Stables.

Remaining Top Ten:
•Stella Keith, Louisville, KY riding Cinderella Blues, instructed by Zubrod Stables.
•Collins Dabezies, New Orleans, LA, riding Absolutely A Prince, instructed by Cascade Stables.
•Ava Graves, Defiance, MO riding Wild I Am, instructed by Glendale Stables.
•Kendra Geib, Lees Summit, MO riding CH With Bells On, instructed by Christie Milbury.
•Madeline Vinci, Prospect, KY riding Harley Rally, instructed by Zubrod Stables.
•Molly Richardson, Simpsonville, KY riding Ro & Me's Lord of the Ring, instructed by Mike and Jessi Richardson.
•Gabrielle Shuler, Westfield, IN riding Sunset's Vegas Memories, instructed by Select Show Horses.
•Delphine Bernstein, Las Vegas, NV riding MBA's Tommy Hawk, instructed by Robb Wallen.

UPHA Sportsmanship Award
The UPHA Challenge Cup Sportsmanship Award is awarded to the rider who serves as a role model and exhibits characteristics that exemplify positive sportsmanship principles. The award is voted on by their peers in their age division; all riders are eligible who have competed in phase 1 of the Finals. Congratulations to this years winners: 

UPHA Senior Sportsmanship award-Ella Hampton
UPHA Junior Sportsmanship award-Jacqueline Schatzberg

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 6 24 24 Midwest

    Read More
  • Charity Fair Champs

    Read More
  • WCHS Qualification Clarification

    In the best of interest of our members and the industry, ASHBA previously agreed to... Read More
  • Summer Garden Party at the American Saddlebred Museum

    A few tickets remain to the American Saddlebred Museum’s fundraiser on Sunday, July 7 at 1:00 p.m.  The Summer Garden Party is a celebration of the Museum’s new Heritage Garden. Read More
  • Latest Issue 6 17 24

    Read More
  • Nominations for UPHA Hall of Fame and Lifetime Awards Now Being Accepted

    The United Professional Horsemen's Association is currently seeking nominations for several prestigious awards, including the UPHA Tom Moore Hall of Fame, Helen K. Crabtree Instructor Hall of Fame, Larry Bacon Lifetime Achievement Award, and Alvin C. Ruxer Lifetime Commitment Award... Read More
  • Latest Issue 6 10 24

    Read More
  • New Championship Horse Show Announced for 2025

    The American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association (ASHBA) announced today the creation of a New Horse Show Exploratory Committee, led by co-chairs Smith Lilly and Joe O’Brien, whose purpose is to create an exciting new championship horse show in 2025 for the show horse industry, owned by the industry. The new horse show will be organized under a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Read More
  • FoalsNFocus

    There must be something in the air as the foal photos have been flying high. We had a nice mix of artistry in this week’s submissions, including our first dual foal shot of the year. In the Champion category was an Avis shot of a filly feeling good about herself.Owned by Misdee Wrigley Miller, she is by Honorable Kiss NKF out of the great, multi-titled world’s champion of champions, CH HS Baby Steps. Read More
  • The Stephens College $20,000 Scholarship

    The Stephens College $20,000 Scholarship, sponsored by Sally Jackson, will provide $20,000 to a high school junior or senior that competed and qualified for the 2024 UPHA Senior Challenge Cup National Championship, the UPHA Senior Pleasure Challenge Cup National Championship, the UPHA Senior Arabian Challenge Cup National Championship, the UPHA National Show Horse Challenge Cup National Championship or the UPHA Senior Morgan Challenge Cup National Championship. Read More