What if every time you rode through the gate, you were helping someone in need? What if every time someone applauded you, you knew they were applauding your compassion?

Now, junior exhibitor proformance riders and drivers can compete with a new reason in mind: raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or their selected charity.
It’s a shared-commitment program that encourages riders to show an American Saddlebred, Arabian (including Half-Arabian), Morgan, National Show Horse or Hackney Pony in competitions, and encourages donors to pledge funds for charity for each class in which the rider shows. The rider is not only responsible for raising the donations, but for performing community service as part of his or her own contribution to the effort.

What is UPHA Ribbons Of Service?

This UPHA program is designed to encourage, challenge, and reward saddle seat equitation and performance riders/drivers who …

  • Participate in horse show competitions in order to raise funds for a charitable organization that helps those less fortunate;
  • Commit to helping others through hours of hands- on community service;
  • Educate themselves and others about the needs and important work of a charitable organization such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and
  • Prepare themselves to discuss how participation with horses helps riders learn the value of hard work, sportsmanship, poise, and a rewarding relationship with an equine partner.

How does UPHA Ribbons Of Service work?

Saddle seat equitation and performance riders/drivers compete with each other to raise funds for an approved charity. First, riders choose a beneficiary -- either St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in Memphis, Tenn., or another charity of the rider’s choice that is approved by the UPHA’s Ribbons Of Service Committee. The rider learns about the charity so that he or she may solicit donations for the charity. On November 1, the fundraising begins; the rider approaches persons, companies or organizations that may share an interest in the rider’s commitment to service. But, UPHA Ribbons Of Service is about more than riders pledging to ride in equitation classes if a donor pledges to contribute funds for a worthy charity; it’s also about involving the equitation rider in hands-on service to persons or organizations that need assistance. The rider’s community service hours must be tracked and verified, and the donations are submitted to UPHA according to the program deadlines. After the end of the program’s season (all funds and forms must be submitted to UPHA Foundation, Inc., by October 31), UPHA will recognize the top fund raisers in a special awards ceremony at the UPHA Convention, held in January.

How you can participate?

Saddle seat equitation and performance riders may enroll in the program by submitting a UPHA Ribbons Of Service Application with a brief personal resume, setting a goal, and developing a plan for raising funds for an approved charitable organizationWhen UPHA receives your application, you’ll be mailed an approval letter and a package of information.

Scholarships and Awards:

At the end of the show season, prizes given to the rider of each of four saddle seat equitation rider equine breeds (American Saddlebred, Arabian, Morgan, National Show Horse) and to the performance rider/driver who raises the most funds for the designated charity. Each of these winners will be eligible  for the overall award -- including a scholarship to be given to the rider of any of the four breeds or performance rider/drivers who has raised the most funds and the (a minimum of $1,000 is required) and completed a minimum of 10 hours of community service.

Helen Robertson and some of the 2013 UPHA Ribbons of Service participants presenting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with a check for $71,019.00.

UPHA Ribbons Of Service riders raise $86,664.40

Kara Hachigian- Golden Creek Farm ASB Breed winner $2500
Kara Hachigian- Golden Creek Farm ROS Overall winner $5000
Caelen Casper- Kenny and Ceil Wheeler Community Service Award $1500
Caelen Casper- William Woods Community Service $1000
Jordy Isgrigg Overall runner up winner- $1000
Audra Grace Lee Golden Creek farm Morgan Breed winner $2500
Emily Pate- Golden Creek Farm Arab Breed winner $2500
Katie Dunn- Golden Creek Farm National Show Horse Breed winner $2500
Harriett Butscher- UPHA Performance Horse winner $2500
Alice-Mithali Unger Singh- Becker Brothers Youngest participant $2000
Alice-Mithali Unger Singh- Independent Equine Agents youngest participant $1000

“We also thank all of our wonderful sponsors,” said Robertson, pointing out that each of them contributes to the program’s success:

Becker Brothers, LLC

Kenny and Ceil Wheeler

Independent Equine Agents

William Woods University

Freedman Harness

Mary Gaylord McClean

Pigeon Roost Farm

For more information or to enroll in UPHA Ribbons Of Service’s 2016 program, visit UPHAonline.com/ribbonsofservice.html or contact Lynn  McNamara at 860-563-2068 or cedarledge555@gmail.com.