Kat Fuqua is an accomplished Champion Equestrian of Ponies and Junior Hunter/Jumpers, winning major championships at Washington International Horse Show, USEF Pony Finals, and at Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuits.
The Atlantan native was born in 2007 to Grand Prix Dressage parents and has been riding all her life at her Collecting Gaits Farm in Georgia. Her first horses, a miniature horse named Buttercup and her baby, Nutterbutter, were a present for her first birthday. Kat grew up at the barn and began competing at the age of five.
She learned to jump with Mindy Darst a well known hunter/jumper judge and trainer who invited Kat as one of her only students to teach at the 2014 WEF season. Kat earned multiple championships on Hillcrest Blue Gemstone in cross rails. Mindy laid out a multi-year training plan for Kat to compete in the hunter/jumper circuit before sadly passing away that year.
In 2019 Kat made a huge leap to train with Jimmy Torano, International Grand Prix Jumper & World Cup Finalist, and Big "R" Judge known for judging the Maclay Finals & the George Morris Excellence in Equitation Award competition.
During the 2019 WEF circuit, USEF awarded the remarkable eleven year old Kat not one, but six major awards for her triumphant successes with her talented horses, at the 2018 USEF Horse of the Year Banquet.
- USEF Leading Pony Owner (also winner 2017)
- USEF HOTY Brighton Grand Champion Pony
- USEF HOTY Finesse RF Reserve Grand Champion Pony
- USEF HOTY RS Levitation Junior Hunter under 15
- USEF HOTY Brighton Large Pony Hunter
- USEF HOTY Finesse RF Medium Pony Hunter
The 2018 USEF Pony Finals Presented by Collecting Gaits Farm crowned Kat and her large pony Brighton, Grand Champion Pony Hunter. Not only is it rare to win all three classes of model, under saddle and over fences leading them to Division Champion, but the dual had the highest combined score in history of all size hunter ponies. The pair earned Grand Pony Champion as the youngest junior, showing as a ten year old. Kat had just celebrated her eleventh birthday barely two weeks earlier July 25th, and actually won the title on her mother's birthday. The two went on to win 2018 Champion of the prestigious Washington International Horse Show Large Pony Division.
While USEF Pony Finals is a huge national accomplishment winning best of over 420 ponies, Kat is no stranger to high competition. Just a week prior, the 2018 USEF National Junior Hunter Championship awarded Kat and RS Levitation third in the country for Junior Hunter Division at 3'6" which ages to competitors 15 years old.
What is astonishing is that Kat didn't start riding horses (vs ponies) until February 2017, when she got High Noon 3E and a month later won Champion of $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Junior/Amateur at the Palm Beach Equestrian Center.
The day before that same February 2017, Kat and Somekindofwonderful won the $5000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby causing a stir in the stands of winning back to back derbies. The same year Kat later went on to win third in the $10,000 NAL Children's Hunter Final Championships in Harrisburg, PA, as well as multiple WEF Circuit Championships, USEF Leading Owner Pony Hunter Champion, two USHJA Pony Derby National Champion awards for Rider and for Pony, and four times Zone 4 Horse of the Year awards with multiple ponies.
Kat is in the sport to win and work very hard to compete at the highest level and strives to be a world class equestrian. During her journey, she enjoys making friends all over the country and loves to care and play with her ponies and horses. Kat strives to be a horsewoman putting her animals first in all instances over competitions. She goes to a regular school during the week and loves French and Math. Foot jumping is her next favorite thing to do when she's not riding.
It all goes back to that 2014 season with Mindy in Wellington , and returning to Kat's home showing at small shows in Atlanta. Kat's mom asked, "Do you want to be a big fish in a little pond, or a little fish in a big ocean?" And without any hesitation, the then six year old firmly stated, "I want to be a little fish with the big fish!"