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 $98,810 and complete over 1,200 community service hours

We believe this program,” said United Professional Horsemen’s Association President Gary Garone at the organization’s recent annual convention, “personifies the value of a youngster’s participation with show horses. We strive to develop great riders who enjoy a lifelong sport, but, as importantly, excellent citizens who make our communities a better place.”

“Each one of these 30 saddle seat riders’ accomplishments is outstanding,” agreed UPHA Ribbons Of Service Committee Chair Helen Robertson. “It’s truly the Ribbons Of Service participants’ best year yet. Not only did these kids raise $98,810 for St. Jude Children’s Research and other deserving charities, but they participated in over 1,200 documented hours of community service.”

On January 18, the following participants were congratulated in a celebration at the InterContinental Chicago:

  • Kara Hachigian, Houston, Texas – A sophomore at the Kinkaid school is the overall winner of the program with the most funds raised, 16-year-old Kara is also the American Saddlebred Breed winner. Under the direction of Sandra Currier and Cindy Boel, Kara and her American Saddlebred CH- EQ My One Night Stand raised $29,420 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and completed 95.5 hours of community service, earning her the following scholarships and prizes:

Golden Creek Farm Overall Winner - $5,000

Golden Creek Farm Saddlebred Breed Winner - $2,500

Pigeon Roost Overall Winner - $1,000

Freedman Harness Custom Leather Backpack  

  • Harriet Butscher, New Orleans, Louisiana –Harriet, 9, is the youngest participant with the most funds raised.  Under the direction of Jimmy and Helen Robertson, Harriet and her American Saddlebred Walk-And-Trot gelding CF Cool Night Out raised  $3,500 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and completed 12 hours of community service. Harriett was awarded the following scholarships:

The Becker Brothers Youngest Participant - $2,000

Independent Equine Agents Youngest Participant - $1,000

  • Molly Remondino, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Overall winner of the Morgan Breed, Molly is under the direction of Susan Morey. For the second year in a row, Molly raised $11,000 for the Peppers Ranch Foster Care Community along with completing 274 community service hours. Her scholarships and prizes are:

Golden Creek Farm Morgan Breed Winner - $2,500

The Kenny and Ceil Wheeler Most Hours Served - $1,500

William Woods College - $1,000

Overall Runner Up - $1,000

Freedman Harness Custom Leather Backpack

  • Emily Pate, Victoria, Minnesota – Overall winner of the Arabian Breed division, Emily rides under the direction of Leah Beth Boyd. She and her equine partner CRF Hott Pants raised $4,025 for the Arabian Horseman’s Distress Fund and completed 58 hours of community service, which earned her the following scholarships and prizes:

Golden Creek Farm Arabian Breed Winner - $2,500

Freedman Harness Custom Leather Backpack

  • Mia Clementi, Hartland, Wisconsin  – Under the direction of Andy and Lynda Freseth and the first performance-division rider to complete the program, Mia and her American Saddlebred CHMy Princess Begonia raised $6,075 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Mia also completed 16.5 hours of community service and earned the UPHA Performance Rider $2,500 scholarship.

“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 2014 program, visit UPHAonline.com/ribbonsofservice.html or contact Helen Robertson at 502.802.6777 or Helen@InfinityStables.com.