Kat Fuqua is an accomplished Champion Equestrian of Ponies and Junior Hunter/Jumpers, showing and owning over a dozen ponies and horses that she trained with determination, energy and initiative to be the best in class.
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.
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 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 and her equine partners have won over a hundred championships in pony hunter divisions, junior hunter divisions with horses and in equitation pony medal classes. Kat won first with Captain America at the National Junior Pony Championships in Devon, and fifth in the 2017 USEF Pony Medal Championships of 163 competitors recognizing excellence in the rider's style and form, and second with Captain America at the prestigious Washington International Horse Show. She also placed second at Washington with Somekindofwonderful.
Kat has been riding almost before she could walk, as the Atlantan daughter of Grand Prix Dressage parents, and owners of the prestigious private training horse residence, Collecting Gaits Farm. 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 welcomed Kat as one of her few students to teach at 2014 Winter Equestrian Festival (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.
Kat returned to Atlanta and trained with a family friend, local trainer - Stefanie Hamilton Lackey, who instilled strong basics with Kat.
For the next three years Kat traveled to compete at WEF in Wellington, FL and Lexington, KY under the tutelage of top national trainers Amanda Lyerle, Charles Moorcroft, Bibby Farmer Hill, Liz Riley and Jenny Darst winning over 50 Championships by then on her string of ponies. For cross training, family friends Olympic dressage bronze medalist Michelle Gibson and National Grand Prix dressage champion, and young horse trainer & champion, Jason Canton regularly train Kat at home in Atlanta.
In Fall of 2017 Kat hired Michael Newman, top national Hunter/Jumper trainer and international judge to take over the reins in pursuit of national titles which wisely paid off. Having ridden horses then for less than eight months, many say at ten years old Kat is beyond her years in feel and talent in the sport and definitely a rising and long lasting star.
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.