Fuqua jumping Nate Archibald to a 3rd place finish in the Zone 4 HOTY Medium Jr./Amateur Jumpers (Photo by Sportfot)
Atlanta, GA (December 3, 2022) – It’s rare for an equestrian to be versatile and multi-talented enough to compete in multiple disciplines; even more rare is the skill to place at the top of the sport in multiple disciplines in the same year. But Atlanta, Georgia’s Kat Fuqua has achieved just that in 2022, finishing off her busy show season with multiple accolades at the 72nd Annual South Florida Hunter Jumper Association Charity Show, and adding to an impressive resume of multi-discipline wins. Her 2022 successes include a Reserve Champion finish in the FEI Prix St. Georges at the US Dressage Finals, multiple Grand Champion Junior Hunter wins, a top 3 finish in the Zone 4 Horse of the Year (HOTY) Medium Junior/Amateur Jumpers, and even a Reserve Champion finish at the 2022 Kentucky Maclay Regional Championships. Fifteen-year-old Fuqua was also named a USEF Dressage Emerging Athlete for 2022, was the first young rider to compete in both Jumping and Dressage at the 2021 North American Young Rider Championships (NAYC), and for 2023 aims to make the USEF European Young Rider team in dressage.
With the classical dressage as her foundation, and under the tutelage of Olympic Bronze Medalist Michelle Gibson, Fuqua stepped onto the dressage scene officially in 2021. In 2022, she and Dream Girl, a 14-year-old KWPN mare, rocketed up through the stratosphere to take Reserve Champion at the US Dressage Finals, just a few percentage points off the win in the FEI Prix St. Georges Open division. The mare was also awarded the Lloyd Landkamer Perpetual Trophy, honoring the highest scoring FEI mare. Prior to the US Dressage Finals, Fuqua was named a 2022 USEF Dressage Emerging Athlete, and was ranked 4th in the country for USDF Horse of the Year FEI Intermediaire I Open.
As her inaugural competitive discipline, Fuqua’s 2022 resume in the Hunters is no less stellar. With the elegant bay gelding Grand Remo, Fuqua won Junior Hunter Grand Champion at Devon, Grand Champion at the USEF Jr. Hunter Finals in 2021, Reserve Champion Junior Hunter Youngers at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Reserve Champion Junior Hunter at the Washington International Horse Show, and was chosen as the cover of this summer’s Chronicle of the Horse June issue. Just this past week, they were also the 2022 Best Junior Hunter Champion at the 72nd Annual SFHJA Charity Horse Show. Together with Grand Remo and her other hunter partners, Fuqua has amassed 8 USEF Horse of the Year titles, 2 Grand Champion titles at the National Horse Show, Grand Champion at Harrisburg, 10 WEF Circuit Championships, Grand Champion at Pony Finals, and to date is the highest earning Pony Derby Rider.
With the Junior Hunters in a sweep and Dressage a new-found success, the jumpers were the next target for Fuqua to set her sights on. She began trying her hand in the discipline less than 2 years ago, and in 2022 finished 3rd in the Zone 4 Horse of the Year Medium Jr./Amateur Jumpers with her own Nate Archibald. In 2021 she made history as the first rider to compete in both the Jumpers and Dressage at the North American Young Rider Championships, and was 10th in the National Devon Championship for High Junior Jumpers with her jumper Gargarin. This indoor season she competed in the High and Medium Junior Jumpers at the Washington International Horse Show, finishing 8th in the $5,000 High Jr./AO 1.40m Jumpers with Nate Archibald.
As icing on her triple threat cake, Fuqua also has been a up-and-coming competitor in the ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals. In 2022 she finished as Reserve Champion at the Kentucky Maclay Regional Championships and was in the Top 25 at the 2021 USEF Dover Seat Medal Finals in 2021.
Just this past week, Fuqua rounded out her 2022 competition schedule at the 72nd Annual SFHJA Charity Horse Show, claiming multiple accolades with her horses. She won the USET Talent Search with Class Act, owned by Emily Smith, and also took the overall win with Smith’s Quite Cassini in the Washington International Horse Show Equitation. Grand Remo remained worthy of his name with Champion in the Junior Hunters Under 15, Champion in the Jr./AA Classic Hunters, Champion Zone 4 Jr. Hunter, and earned Fuqua the title of Best Jr. Hunter Rider.
“Riding horses is what I truly love, whether it’s in a major competition or just enjoying their company at the farm,” said Fuqua. “This fall I began working with Emily & Ken of Ashland Farms, and love their calm but effective training. My goals are to continue to level up in the Jumper ring and get the Equitation down! My heart for the Hunters will never change, remembering back to big pony trainer and judge Mindy Darst who brought me to my first WEF in 2014 and was one of the founders of the USEF Pony Finals. I’ll never give up being a role model for the new pony kids comping up and my goal is to be a top rider in all of my disciplines.”
Kat Fuqua is becoming a household name in multiple equestrian disciplines, known not only for her versatility as a rider but also for the quality of her rides. She began competing at double AA Hunter/Jumper shows at the age of 6, and at 11 years old won the USEF Pony Finals & Grand Champion. She repeated the honor the following year as a 12-year-old, and added the USEF Marshall & Sterling Pony Medal. Her Junior Grand Hunter Championship wins include the 2022 Devon Jr. Hunter Grand Champion, 2021 USEF Jr. Hunter Finals Grand Champion, 2020 & 2021 National Horse Show Jr. Hunter Grand Champion, and 2021 Pennsylvania National Horse Show Jr. Hunter Grand Champion. In the Equitation, she won 2022 Reserve Champion at the Kentucky Maclay Regional Championships and finished Top 25 at the 2021 USEF Dover Seat Medal Finals.
In 2020 she began actively competing in both dressage and jumping, as well as the hunters. She made history as the first rider to ever compete in both disciplines at the 2021 NAYC, where she received 3 Bronze Medals in dressage and finished 4th overall in the Children’s Jumper Team competition. She earned her USDF Bronze and Silver Medals for USDF Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I in 2021, and was named the USEF Dressage Festival of Champions Junior Champion that year. In 2022 she was named a USEF Dressage Emerging Athlete.
Fuqua is currently a full-time freshman at Holy Innocence Episcopal High School in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. She also is a contributor to Elite Equestrian Magazine, writing her own Kat’s Korner column about her horses and life as an upcoming young equestrian.
“I like to inspire riders but showing how even though being a competitive equestrian is tough and a fail often, I get back up and try again to achieve my goals and dreams,” said Fuqua. “I have a lot of pressure going into 2023, but I spend a lot of time at my home base, Collecting Gaits Farm, personally taking care of my horses when I can to build the bond that I think leads them to work harder for me in the show ring. I feel very lucky that so many people want to help me succeed.”
For more information on Kat Fuqua, visit her website at www.KatFuqua.com.
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