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UPHA Pleasure Challenge Cup Championships

UPHA Senior Pleasure Equitation Competitors


Dreams really to come true if you “stay positive” and stay focused according to UPHA Senior Pleasure Challenge Cup Champion Emily Abbott. The past two years and final years of her equitation career have been filled with roadblocks and hurdles in her ultimate goal to win her division championship title in her hometown of Indianapolis. The road was traveled with several teammates, due to illnesses and even the loss of a favorite four-legged companion.


“A lot of people told me maybe this was a sign not to keep going,” said Abbott, talking about the death of her horse this summer. “But that just made me want it more, trying even harder.”


UPHA Senior Pleasure Equitation Champion

Emily Abbott and her teammate All About Charm

earned the right to ride in the spotlight.


Abbott is always smiling and will tell you it’s important to always stay positive. A reserve champion two years in a row it was Abbott’s last chance for the title at the All American Classic. Tough competition brought riders from all over the country but when she was called out this year only tears could express her emotions. Mom and instructor Kathy Conflenti feels privileged to be able to share the moment and the struggle with her daughter.


“She just loves it all so much and it just comes all right from inside her,” said Conflenti. Mother and daughter are now headed to South Africa for the World Cup competition.


New Orleans teen Victoria McHenry and her teammate CH Creditworthy finished in reserve for the prestigious and grueling competition. McHenry knows it takes patience and gentle commands to guide her teammate through a difficult pattern.


Victoria McHenry and CH Creditworthy


She described her four-legged teammate as smart and a horse that recognizes the patterns. The unusual combination of patterns she knew would confuse and frustrate her horse, but she was ready. “When I’m calm, she’s calm and I knew I had to keep talking her through it,” said McHenry who was excited about one leg of the pattern most riders dreaded. “I’m glad we’re finally being asked to drop our stirrups. I’ve been waiting for this all year.” McHenry heads to St. Louis next with trainer Barbe Smith.


UPHA Junior Pleasure Equitation Competitors


The Junior Pleasure Challenge Cup Championship brought tears, screams and hugs when announcer Peter Fenton called the young Kristen Gardner to center ring. Gardner, who worked so hard and caught the eye of many at Indianapolis seemed so surprised when chosen for the championship title. Her eyes first searched for her parents who were proudly recording her every move from the stands. It was connection among mother, daughter and father that brought onlookers to tears. Gardner, who is trained by Jonelle and Robert Gardiner, took every moment to focus on this competition Saturday morning. She shared her nerves and her dedication with her parents as they returned to the stands together after her rail work and pattern to watch and support on her colleagues.

Kristen Gardner celebrated with her parents

and teammate Callaway’s Gold Reserve.


Not afraid to take on the girls and seeming to enjoy being the top guy in the ring, Nick Maupin accepted the reserve junior champion title to a thunderous applause from his female fans. Learning early on the ways of a gentleman, Maupin waited outside the ring to congratulate Gardner and share the spotlight for a champion picture or two. Maupin is trained by Scott and Carol Matton.


“Oh What A Feeling” for UPHA Junior Pleasure

Equitation Reserve Champion Nick Maupin.


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