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

  • #FoalsNFocus – Week 10

    While horse shows are stacked one on top of another, the 2023 foal crop is also blossoming across the country. Submitted by owner/breeder Kristen Wells, this week’s winning photo is of her May 20th colt by Noble Braveheart out of Hannah Starlight, a daughter of reserve world’s champion Leatherwood’s Starlight. Read More
  • Latest Issue 5 29 23

    Read More
  • #FoalsNFocus – Week 9

    The babies keep growing, the weather keeps improving and the #foalsNfocus submissions keep rolling in. We are pleased to bring you another nice group this week with the following making the top nine. Read More
  • #FoalsNFocus – Week 8

    As foaling season continues the babies are in full bloom. This week’s champion is a beautiful shot of a spotted American Saddlebred colt by Arrowhead’s Moscato out of SH Card On File by Arrowhead’s Bateleur. The photo was submitted by owner/breeder Jeff Stone. Read More
  • Latest Issue 5 22 23 Ashe

    Read More
  • Latest Issue 5 22 23 BB

    Read More
  • Address Change Announced to Honor WC Wing Commander

    In 2012, a new road was built at the Kentucky Horse Park leading from Iron Works Parkway past the sculpture of Supreme Sultan by Patricia Crane. That road was named Wing Commander Way in honor of the iconic American Saddlebred, CH Wing Commander.  Read More
  • Only Three Nominations Remain for Purchase to Standardbred Roadster 100

    Only three nominations remain for purchase to the 2023 $100,000 Standardbred Roadster 100 to be contested at the UPHA/American Royal National Championship Horse Show, says Robertson Equine Sales CEO Jimmy Robertson. Read More
  • Nominations for the UPHA Caretaker Hall of Fame Now Being Accepted

    The United Professional Horsemen's Association is accepting nominations for its annual Jesus Gonzales Gomez UPHA Caretaker Hall of Fame. UPHA is proud to offer two UPHA Caretaker Hall of Fame Awards; one presented at Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show, Lexington, Kentucky in July and the other at the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in October. Read More
  • #FoalsNFocus – Week 7

    The submissions for our #foalsNfocus photo contest continue to pour in with a wide variety of photos received for this week. Selected as the Champion was a Janelle Schroeder photo of a beautiful Morgan filly named Atwood Kantara.  Read More