By Leslie Potter/US Equestrian Communications Department
Devon, Pa. – Winning at the Adequan©/USEF Junior Hunter National Championship requires near perfection, and Kat Fuqua (Atlanta, Ga.) and her gelding Grand Remo delivered this week at Pennsylvania’s historic Devon Fairgrounds on their way to winning the 3’6” Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under National Championship and the 3’6” Overall Grand Championship.
The pair were among the 324 Junior Hunter entries competing in the East Coast final this week, marking a record number for the event, which returned to Devon for 2021 after a year away due to COVID restrictions.
Tuesday’s competition day started off with thick fog and occasional light drizzle, providing some relief from July temperatures, while the 3’6” entries completed their Under Saddle and Handy Hunter Rounds in the Dixon Oval. The 3’3” sections started with their Classic Rounds in the Wheeler Ring, followed by Under Saddle in the Dixon.
USEF Junior Hunter 3’6” Overall Grand and Reserve Grand Champion
As the 3’6” overall grand champion, Fuqua was awarded the Monarch International Perpetual Trophy.
Fuqua and Remo were well positioned heading into the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under Handy Round on Tuesday afternoon after turning in a polished Classic Round on Monday and a standout performance in the Under Saddle on Tuesday morning. Fuqua is no stranger to competing at the National Championship level, but she admitted she did have some nerves before the final phase of competition in Devon.
“I was actually very nervous going into the handy because I had won the hack and the classic, so it was a lot of pressure; I wanted to be champion” she said. “I always mess up the trot jump or chip the trot jump, so that was our main thing we were focusing on, and Remo was perfect!”
Grand Remo is a 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding that Fuqua has owned and showed since 2019. “He has been so amazing,” she said. “He is just the best mover and I’ve had so much fun riding him. He’s really sweet and has been very successful in the 3’6” in 2020 and 2021.”
Fuqua’s trainer, Jimmy Torano, had similar high praise for Remo and for Fuqua, who also competed this week in the Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under section with her Westphalian gelding, Consent.
“We had a plan going into this. The horses came here last week to really gear up for this championship,” said Torano. “You can only call on these horses a certain number of times, so this was really our goal. Both horses stepped right up…these horses continue to go out and try to win every time.
“Kat is a real talent,” Torano added. “This didn’t happen by accident…She is a real talent with great horses and her parents back her. I think we have a good group behind us with the grooms, and I know these horses like the back of my hand. I think it is a whole team event that came to a head today.”
Fuqua and Grand Remo managed to hold on to the lead in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under section champion standing across all three rounds, but they had tight competition on their heels from Alexa Lignelli and High Society, the Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by The Lignelli Family. The pair performed nearly flawlessly in the Handy Hunter round on Tuesday afternoon, earning 90s from all three judges. Those scores gave them first place in the Handy and were good enough to put them in reserve for the section as well as winning them the 3’6” overall reserve grand championship.
“He is such a special horse,” Lignelli said of High Society. “I’ve only had him since August of last year…he is an amazing horse and we clicked immediately He is also special because of his jump and his style around the ring. He can really feel the atmosphere and thrives off of it. So today, with the crowd and the beautiful atmosphere, he really shined.
“It means so much to me [to be Reserve National Champion.] The whole team works so hard,” said Lignelli. “The occasion is so fun, and my horse was amazing. He deserves all the credit.”
Best Mare – Sweet Caroline
For being the top finishing mare in the 3’6” sections, Sterling Malnik’s 2011 Warmblood, Sweet Caroline, was recognized with the War Dress Memorial Trophy donated by Cleta S. Turbow and Pamela J. Rush. Sweet Caroline was ridden by Grace Debney (Hampden, Mass.) in the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 section where they finished as the reserve champion pair.
Final Standings – 3’6” Sections
Overall Grand Champion: Kat Fuqua (Atlanta, Ga.) and Grand Remo, her own 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding
Overall Reserve Champion: Alexa Elle Lignelli (New York, N.Y.) and High Society, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by The Lignelli Family
3’6” Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under
- Ariana Marnell (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Ocean Road, a 2013 Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Keri Kampsen and Lexy Reed
- Kat Fuqua (Atlanta, Ga.) and Consent, her own 2012 Westphalian gelding
3’6” Small Junior Hunter 16-17
- Augusta Iwasaki (Calabasas, Calif.) and Heaven’s Dream, a 2010 KWPN gelding owned by Isabella Griffin
- Grace Debney (Hampden, Mass.) and Sweet Caroline, a 2011 Warmblood mare owned by Sterling Malnik
3’6” Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under
- Kat Fuqua (Atlanta, Ga.) and Grand Remo, her own 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding
- Alexa Elle Lignelli (New York, N.Y.) and High Society, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by The Lignelli Family
3’6” Large Junior Hunter 16-17
- Alexander Alston (Gahanna, Ohio) and *Cash*, a 2008 Warmblood gelding owned by Alston Alliance, LLC
- Hensley Humphries (Austin, Texas) and Capitalized, a 2009 Warmblood gelding owned by Hannah Weiss
3’3” Classic Rounds and Under Saddle Results
3’3” Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under
- Campbell Brown (Fayetteville, Ark.) and Fleetwood, a 2012 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by MMK Equestrian LLC – 254.5
- Elianna Kirson (Barrington Hills, Ill.) and Candor, a 2008 Warmblood gelding owned by Ashland Farms – 251.0
- Rylynn Conway (Fair Haven, N.J.) and Perseus YC, a 2009 Hanoverian gelding owned by Mountain King Ranch LLC – 261.0
- Eva MacKenzie (Darien, Conn.) and Iladin Du Rouet, her own 2013 Dutch Warmblood gelding – 260.0
3’3” Small Junior Hunter 16-17
- Hannah Kohler (Wright City, Mo.) and Highlight, a 2014 Warmblood gelding owned by Cindy Locke – 247.0
- Alexander Miller (Santa Fe, N.M.) and Charm the Crowd, his own 2014 KWPN gelding – 237.5
- Ava Peck (Topanga, Calif.) and Ever So Often, her own 2014 Belgian Warmblood gelding – 259.0
- Anna Pemble (Overland Park, Kan.) and Arendelle, her own 2010 Dutch Warmblood mare – 257.0
3’3” Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under
- Caroline Olsen (Sherborne, Mass.) and Handsome DD, a 2012 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Dianne Desroches – 261.5
- Mae Mannis (Woodbury, Conn.) and Cloney’s Pleasure, her own 2010 Hanoverian gelding – 257.5
- Rose Campbell (Cochranville, Pa.) and Unanimous, a 2009 German Sport Horse gelding owned by Maher Family LLC – 258.5
- Clara Propp (New York, N.Y.) and Arabesque, a 2013 Oldenburg mare owned by Aquitaine Equine – 256.0
3’3” Large Junior Hunter 16-17
- Riley Hogan (Warrenton, Va.) and Balou Moon, a 2015 Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Donald Stewart – 262.0
- Dominic Gibbs (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Cascatero, a 2014 Warmblood gelding owned by Joey Roman – 258.0
- Madison Gould (Suwanee, Ga.) and Dream A Little, her own 2010 Wurttemberger mare -257.0
- Bridget Hickton (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Serenade, her own 2013 Warmblood mare – 255
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