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Kat Fuqua and Brighton Takes the Tri-Color at the 2018 USEF Pony Finals Championships

Thursday, August 9, 2018
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PONY NEWS   |   YOUNG RIDERS

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Kat Fuqua and Brighton won the Large Regular Pony Hunters.

Kat Fuqua and Brighton won the Large Regular Pony Hunters. (Photo: Callie Clement)

Bowties and braids returned to the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park for the second day of the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, on Wednesday, with the day one leaders aiming to retain their top positions in the Large Regular and Small Green Pony Hunter divisions. In the end, Kat Fuqua and Brighton led from start to finish and were successful at fending off the large field of competition to emerge victorious in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, while Skylar Wireman, with the reins on Neon Moon, leapfrogged 20 places to the top of the leaderboard in the Small Green Pony Hunter division.

Overcoming the Pressure
As the last to ride of more than 140 entries in the Large Regular Pony Hunters, 11-year-old Fuqua and her own Brighton overcame the pressure to lay down the highest scoring single trip of the day, easily sweeping all three phases of the division and claiming the championship tricolors. Displaying their prowess by maintaining an even rhythm around the lofty track, the winning duo raked in scores of 85.5, 87.5 and 88 from the judges panel to brandish top marks of 261 in the over fences class. Combined with Tuesday’s score, Fuqua and Brighton’s final tally was 1063.65, more than 30 points ahead of the reserve champion and a strong score to keep them in contention for the Grand Regular Pony Hunter title to be crowned Saturday following the conclusion of all the divisions.

Kat Fuqua and Brighton won the Large Regular Pony Hunters.

Kat Fuqua and Brighton (Photo: Callie Clement)

The 2018 event is Fuqua’s fifth Pony Finals appearance, but her first championship win, fittingly on her mother’s birthday. Both of Fuqua’s parents are grand prix dressage riders, but their daughter has shown an aptitude for jumping and shows no signs of slowing down, recently earning a top placing at the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships – East. The young rider from Atlanta, Georgia will return later in the week to contest more pony divisions against her peers.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Kat Fuqua – Large Regular Pony Hunter champion

On her reaction to winning:
“I haven’t even taken it all in yet, I’m so excited! This is my fifth year at Pony Finals and I have never won before. It feel amazing because it is only my second year getting a ribbon. I’m really, really thrilled.”

On preparing for Pony Finals with Brighton:
“I learned a lot throughout the year and trained. We trained a lot at home and have been doing some courses to pretend we are at Pony Finals. I was really happy with our course today. I’ve only been riding him a little over a month, but he has really clicked to our program.”

On coming to Pony Finals:
“I love being here. It is so much fun and I get to see all my friends that don’t live where I live! I still have some more rides this week, so hopefully we keep doing well. My goals are just to keep doing well and stay consistent.”

Kat Fuqua celebrates the win with kisses for Brighton

Kat Fuqua celebrates the win with kisses for Brighton (Photo: Callie Clement)

RESULTS

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score

Large Regular Pony Hunters Over Fences
1. Brighton / Kat Fuqua / Kat Fuqua / 261.000
2. News Day / Clara Propp / Aquitaine Equine / 258.00
3. Woodlands Misty Rain / Georgia Schmidt / Aldridge Equestrian, LLC / 256.00
4. Center Field Elle Gibbs / GC Ponies, LLC / 256.00
5. Del Ray / Olivia Manasse / Eaton Place LLC / 255.00
6. Eastside / Claire Campbell / Maher Family LLC / 253.50
7. Stonewall Top Call / Emma Rupinski / Lily Rupinski / 251.36
8. Celtics Creek Friar Tuck / Emily Grace Swinson / Erin Dombroski / 250.79
9. Silverwood Full Sail / Dylan Driver / Jennifer Darst / 250.00
10. Valentino / Chandler Wilks / Ashley Vail Aycox / 247.65

Small Green Pony Hunters Over Fences
1. Neon Moon / Skylar Wireman / Balmoral / 263.00
2. Just Right / Alexa Lignelli / Agatha Lignelli / 254.00
3. Pineapple / Alexandra Miller / Emily Elek-Burtard / 244.00
4. Tigerlily / Sydney Lin / Jessica Winer / 239.00
5. Partly Cloudy / Vanessa Mazzoli / Vanessa Mazzoli / 232.50
6. The Roan Ranger / Finley-Grace Brooks / Finley-Grace Brooks / 231.00
7. Photobomb / Sterling Malnik / Castlewood Farm, Inc. / 228.000
8. Bluebird Matthew / Chandler Wilks / Alston McLane / 222.000
9. Tina Turner / Lauren Gee / Team Weston Llc / 222.000
10. Lily Von S / Adora Dinh / Adora Dinh / 217.000

Small Regular Pony Hunters Model
1. Benjamin Buttons / Taylor Cawley / Cara Cheska / 255.77
2. Sir Dragon / Emma Hechtman / Campbell Brown / 253.87
3. Smoke Tree Starlet / Annabelle Brown / Ramble On Farm / 252.89
4. So Enchanted / Carolyn Colter / Jessica Zandri / 251.49
5. Farmore Charismatic / Lauren Gee / Ava Berman / 251.26
6. Roll Call / Georgia Jacob / Ava Berman / 249.93
7. Shenandoah Sirocco / Kaitlyn Linck / Top Venture West / 249.66
8. Smitten / Helen Ryan / Town Line Equestrian LLC / 249.42
9. Clovermeade Blue Feathers / Emily Clee / Rabbit Hill Farm / 249.35
10. iFlirt / Ella Tarumianz / Ella Tarumianz / 246.08

Small Regular Pony Hunters Under Saddle
1. So Enchanted / Carolyn Colter / Jessica Zandri / 275.20
2. Benjamin Buttons / Taylor Cawley / Cara Cheska / 269.40
3. iParty / Alexa Lignelli / Alexa Lignelli / 268.52
4. Smitten / Helen Ryan / Town Line Equestrian, LLC / 268.00
5. Bit Of Love / Maddie Tosh / Dr Betsee Parker / 265.50
6. Fairytales / Emilia Richard / Fairytales, LLC / 265.40
7. iSaid / Tiara D’Amico / Megan D’Amico / 264.90
8. Smoke Tree Starlet / Annabelle Brown / Ramble On Farm / 264.40
9. Benlea Mizzou / Clara Propp / Aquitaine Equine / 264.30
10. Tazmanian Devil / Isabel Bertelsen / Isabel Bertelsen / 262.52