Kat Fuqua Outshines the Field to Emerge Victorious in 2019 Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals

The 2019 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, drew to a close Sunday, with Kat Fuqua claiming the top honors in what is hailed as the capstone class of the week, the Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals, to conclude her trip to the Kentucky Horse Park on a high note. Fuqua bested a field of nearly 200 riders aboard small, medium and large ponies over two rounds of competition to emerge victorious with the ride on Prestige. The win marks Fuqua’s second of the week, after she piloted her own Prestige to the championship in the Large Regular Pony Hunters.

Kat Fuqua and Prestige. Photo by Phelps Sports

Designer Jasen Shelley’s winding first round course offered exhibitors a number of chances to display their skills, with a handful of inside turn options in addition to a trot fence and a required halt as part of the test. Following the first round of riding, 20 duos had set themselves apart from the pack, led by Fuqua, Aedan Mooney, Vivian Golden, Maddie Tosh and Jocelyn Rhyno. Headed into callbacks, the medium ponies were best represented with 10 returning entries, followed by six larges and four smalls.

With the field whittled down to the best-performing pairs, the second portion of the 2019 Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals invited back the top horse-and-pony combinations for another trip around the Alltech Arena. Riders aboard small ponies tried their hands around the abridged pattern first, followed by the mediums and finally the large ponies. A handier track than the first, the course was well-suited to present contenders with opportunities to showcase their abilities and equitation. Already holding the leading position as last to go in the second round, Fuqua effortlessly navigated the 8-year-old Belgian Riding Pony to a seamless round, which included a prompt halt and a smooth trot jump. Ultimately, she outshone the massive field thanks to two textbook trips to secure the coveted victory in the 2019 Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals.

Kat Fuqua and Prestige. Photo by Phelps Sports

Fuqua, who has already experienced great success during the 2019 USEF Pony Finals with Wednesday’s title of Large Regular Pony Hunter champion, was 101st in the order of go. Not to succumb to the pressure of the notoriously long day, Fuqua managed her nerves by wearing her lucky wristband and listening to the advice of trainer Jimmy Torano. Partnered with Prestige for a year, Fuqua showcased his large stride to help nab the final championship title at the 2019 USEF Pony Finals. Up next, Fuqua will aim towards medal finals during the indoor circuit.

“I was really shocked and really, really happy,” shared the young rider. “It was a big relief. It feels amazing, especially with ‘Prince.’ He is a green pony but we did him in the Large Regular division. We knew that he was a green pony but he didn’t act green at all so we wanted to try to go for the Larges to see what we could do.”

Kat Fuqua and Prestige. Photo by Phelps Sports

Though a work-off of the top challengers was an option should the judges panel ask for it, judges Ken Smith and Tom Brennan opted to forego a final test as the award winners were clearly distinguishable. Capturing the reserve champion title was Maddie Tosh and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Bit Of Love to close out Tosh’s long list of accomplishments throughout the week. Third place was claimed by California-native Shiloh Roseboom and Buzzworthy, after jumping up from the 13th position heading into the final round. Jocelyn Rhyno and Bold Dream claimed fourth place, while Olivia Sweetnam and On Your Mark ultimately settled in fifth.


Place / Horse / Rider

2019 Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Finals
1. Prestige / Kat Fuqua
2. Bit Of Love / Maddie Tosh
3. Buzzworthy / Shiloh Roseboom
4. Bold Dream / Jocelyn Rhyno
5. On Your Mark / Olivia Sweetnam
6. Clovermeade Bunny Side Up / Helena Timpany
7. Rock Lobster / Aiva Gamelin
8. Winsome Court Jester / Camille Borres
9. Best of the Best / Clayton Farrell
10. Goldrush / Kippen McWhirter