Fuqua Ranked #1 Junior Dressage Rider, Jumps to Success in First Half of 2021

Fuqua and Dream Girl. Photo by Meg Mcguire.

Atlanta, GA (June 23, 2021) – Kat Fuqua and her horses have been consistently ranked as some of the best in the country in their various Hunter and Pony divisions over the years, but for the first time this June the 13-year-old is currently ranked #1 in the country in a new discipline: dressage. With her bay mare DreamGirl, Fuqua is the top ranked pair in the 2021 USEF Junior Dressage National Championship standings, which requires performances through the FEI level. On top of this impressive accomplishment with a horse she’s only had for a little over a year, Fuqua jumped her Junior Hunters and Medium Junior Jumper to success at WEF, Tryon, and Upperville in 2021, and accepted 2020 Horse of the Year Honors.

Kat imported DreamGirl in January 2020 after trainer Jason Canton said it was time for her to get a competitive dressage horse. Family friend and 1996 Olympic Dressage Bronze Medalist Michelle Gibson began coaching Fuqua in classical dressage back in 2015 after a leased pony kept stopping at the jumps. Then family friend, USEF Young Horse Champion, and 1992 Olympic long listed competitor Canton took up Fuqua’s dressage instruction after Gibson moved away in 2017. Lendon Gray, creator of Dressage4Kids, advised Kat’s mother to come up through the ranks after observing and coaching her flatwork, and Fuqua took up the reins with the KWPN mare DreamGirl in the beginning of 2020. After only 2 qualifiers last summer, Fuqua & DreamGirl finished 3rd in the country in the FEI Childrens during Dressage Festival of Champions with scores over 71% , and one score of 76%. Last fall the duo received their USDF Bronze Medal and ended the pandemic year showing FEI Prix St Georges.

Fuqua and Dream Girl. Photo by Meg Mcguire.

In early 2021, DreamGirl stayed at the family farm in Atlanta as Fuqua and her hunters went on to receive WEF 2021 Circuit Champion awards. Fuqua, however, flew home to show and was awarded her USDF Silver Medal with scores in the high 60s in February 2021. Despite frequently traveling to shows with Grand Prix jumper, trainer, judge, and competitor Jimmy Torano, she was able to show two more times this spring in Atlanta with DreamGirl and qualify for North American Youth Championship in Traverse City, Michigan and for the Dressage Festival of Champions at Lamplight in Wayne, Illinois, this time in FEI Juniors.

“It feels like a huge accomplishment for me because my hard work with my dressage trainers the past six years is paying off,” said Fuqua. “No one really understood how hard I’ve been working at dressage at home and my commitment to the discipline. Even though I’ve only shown 7 times in Dressage, I’ve shown hundreds of times over 8 years in my life.”

Fuqua and Itteville competing in the International Hunter Derby during the 2021 Upperville Colt and Horse Show. Photo by Elegant Equus Photography

This June, Fuqua showed at the 168th Upperville Colt and Horse Show, the oldest show in the United States. She showed her Small Junior Hunter U15 mount, Consent, to scores over fences up to 85. She and Grand Remo, her Large Junior Hunter U15 mount, placed 2nd under saddle and scored an 83 in the Handy to finish 4th. Her equitation mount Itteville jumped in the Washington Equitation, the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, and the International Hunter Derby, where they finished 16th against a slew of top professionals. Her new jumper, Gargarin, showed the Medium Junior Jumpers at 1.30M and the Classic at 1.35M.

Fuqua and Gargarin. Photo by Elegant Equus Photography.

Earlier in the May, Fuqua traveled to North Carolina for the Tryon Spring Circuit. Grand Remo won two championships and Consent one championship with Fuqua in the irons, with Consent taking first in the Tryon Spring 3 Classic and achieving Kat’s personal best score of 94. Itteville took first in the Washington Equitation Overall with an 87. The chestnut gelding then competed in the International Hunter Derby, finishing 3rd in the first round with scores of 90 and 89, and finishing eleventh overall with a slight bobble at the trot jump. Fuqua also began to lay a foundation with her new jumper Gargarin prior to Upperville, jumping to 5th in the 1.30M Medium Junior Speed Class.

In the first few months of 2021, Fuqua captured two circuit awards for Grand Remo, Large Junior Hunter U15, and Consent, Small Junior Hunter U15; Kat rested her horses back in Atlanta all of April, but ventured to Florida to try the recently imported KWPN gelding Gargarin, who was scouted by her trainer Jimmy Torano to be her future 1.40M High Junior Jumper mount.

Fuqua with her Horse of the Year Champions, Consent (right) and Grand Remo. Photo by Elegant Equus Photography

While they’re already ranked as the 2021 USEF Horse of the Year Champion and Reserve Champion in their respective divisions, Consent and Grand Remo were also awarded 2020 USEF Horse of the Year honors. Grand Remo was the 2020 USEF Horse of the Year Champion Large Junior Hunter U15 and Consent was the 2020 USEF Horse of the Year Grand Champion Junior Hunter U15 and Champion Horse of the Year Small Junior Hunter.

Kat Fuqua and mother Shereen Fuqua pose with Junior Hunter National Show Hunter Hall of Fame inductee Consent in Upperville. Photo by Elegant Equus Photography

About Kat Fuqua

Kat Fuqua’s passion for horses is reflected not only in her highly decorated, multi-discipline results, but also in the joy and dedication she shows each time she swings into the saddle. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia and under the guidance of trainer Jimmy Torano for hunter/jumpers and Jason Canton for dressage, every aspect of Fuqua’s riding, training, and show career reflects a unique ardor for equines and horse sport. She balances her equestrian lifestyle with attendance as a full time soon-to-be 8th grade student at Holy Innocence Episcopal School and takes pride in developing alongside her horses. In addition to riding, Kat enjoys spending time with her school friends and her favorite subject is French.