It is part of the mission of the UPHA to encourage and promote educational activities and competition related to the sport of showing horses. Through our Challenge Cup programs, many youth and adult riders have increased their equine knowledge and athletic skills. In 1997, with Challenge Cup Championships offered in many different breeds and age divisions, former UPHA President, L.F. Lavery, felt the program was incomplete without a division for the physical or mentally challenged rider. In 1998, the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup program was developed. In 1999, the American Royal National Championship Horse Show, held in Kansas City, Missouri, and the UPHA hosted the first UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup National Championship.
The UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup program is designed to give mentally and physically challenged riders the excitement of competing and the ability to earn awards at competitions in their area and on the national level. The Exceptional Challenge Cup program provides an arena for everyone to enjoy the rewards of hard work, determination and perseverance.
The benefits of therapeutic riding programs are well-established. They help riders develop core strength balance and coordination. Through riding, riders with physical and mental challenges strengthen their bodies and empower their spirits, find confidence and self-assurance. The benefits are noticeable immediately and have long-lasting effects.
Classes may be held at any type of show: USEF licensed, unrecognized competitions, or stand-alone events such as your local barn or fun show.
It is recommended if an academy session is held, the Exceptional classes be included during this session if possible.
Application to Hold UPHA Exceptional Classes
In order to add a class to your show/event, the competition manager, secretary or contact for the show will need to complete and submit to the UPHA office the Application to Host UPHA Challenge Cup Classes at least 30 days prior to your show. There is no charge to the show to host a class. The application form can be found here.
Thanks to generous donors, ribbons (first-sixth place) and challenge cups are provided to the show free of charge to use as awards for the classes. The orders are typically shipped from Fair Publishing two weeks prior to the horse show.
UPHA membership is not required, but we must have the rider's contact information included on the results form so we may invite them to participate in the National Finals.
Results from the classes must be reported within 10 days of the end of the show in order for the class to be counted as a qualifier for the finals. Show secretaries may email their class results sheets to firstname.lastname@example.org or report the results on the results form. Click here for results form.
CLASSES AND PROCEDURES
There are two types of Exceptional Challenge Cup classes; assisted and unassisted.
The assisted class is titled: UPHA EXCEPTIONAL CHALLENGE CUP WALK/TROT WITH ASSISTANCE
The unassisted class is titled: UPHA EXCEPTIONAL CHALLENGE CUP WALK/TROT
The assisted and unassisted classes must be run separately.
In both classes, the riders must complete rail work as a group. In the unassisted class riders may use the full ring and the class will walk and trot each direction. The unassisted riders may enter the ring at a walk or a trot. In the assisted class riders may use half the ring. Riders must walk and trot each direction, but they can walk and trot for multiple short periods each direction depending on the level of the riders.
Riders must complete the official UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup Individual pattern, a two loop serpentine. Pattern may be done using the full ring or half of the ring.
Riders are allowed to have handlers, cones or other markers to assist them in the completion of the pattern.
While the riders compete in specific levels for the national championship they are not required to compete in specific levels for the qualifying classes. If the class is large and needs to be split then it is recommended they are split by level. See levels document for description of each level.
UPHA EXCEPTIONAL CHALLENGE CUP WALK/TROT WITH ASSISTANCE
Riders may use full or half ring. Riders are to enter at a walk and be judged at a walk and trot both directions. Each rider must then complete the required pattern of a two loop serpentine. Again the pattern may be done using the full ring or half of the ring. Riders are allowed to have handlers, cones or other markers to assist them in the completion of the pattern.
UPHA EXCEPTIONAL CHALLENGE CUP WALK/TROT
Riders may enter at the walk or the trot. Riders are to be judged at the walk and trot both directions. Each rider must then complete the required pattern of a two loop serpentine. Riders are allowed to have handlers, cones or other markers to asset them to complete the pattern. One (1) handler per entry may be permitted in the ring to facilitate the safety of the rider. Handlers shall stand quietly as a group in a designated area of the ring as to not obstruct the judges view, unless their assistance is needed due to safety concerns. There is to be no coaching from center ring. Riders may be coached from outside the ring only.
Click HERE for complete details regarding class procedures and judging specifications.
ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE
Participants must have a medically diagnosed condition attested to by a licensed medical physician. The Medical Certification Form must be completed by a licensed medical examiner in order to compete in the finals. This form is not required for qualifying classes.
Open to all English Equitation riders, with a mental or physical handicap, riding a mare or gelding of any breed.
Riders may compete in academy at the same show at which they compete in UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup classes.
Open to Walk and Trot riders only. Riders must never have been judged in a class at a recognized or non-recognized show that required a canter. Riders must have never been judged in a class at a recognized or non-recognized show in any class besides academy, therapeutic, or UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup classes. Tournaments, Academy classes, and Schooling Shows are considered non-recognized shows.
A first place win in a UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup or an UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup Walk and Trot with Assistance class does not eliminate that rider from further competition for the remainder of the qualifying season.
Winners of the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup Finals and the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup Walk and Trot with Assistance shall be eliminated from further competition in the UPHA Challenge Cup program after three (3) consecutive or nonconsecutive wins of the respective Finals Class.
Requirements for tack and attire can be found in the class procedure and judging specifications document.