Fuqua Wins Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Final
The 2019 USEF Pony Finals presented by Collecting Gaits Farm came to its conclusion on Sunday with the Marshall & Sterling/USEF Pony Medal Final taking center stage at the Alltech Arena. A total of 197 young athletes competed for the coveted title over a solid track designed by Jasen Shelley. A total of 20 riders with four from the small section, 10 from the medium section, and six from the large section returned for the second round over another challenging course. Judges Thomas Brennan and Ken Smith required no further testing, and Kat Fuqua was declared the 2019 champion.
Fuqua (Atlanta, Ga.) rode Prestige, her eight-year-old Belgian Riding Pony gelding, to the top of the leaderboard after the first round. She and trainer Jimmy Torano planned to hold on to the position at the top of the leaderboard with another smooth trip over the second-round course.
“The first round I wasn’t too nervous because I had already been champion [with Prestige earlier in the week], so I was just going in to have fun,” explained Fuqua. “For the second round, I was definitely a lot more nervous. I just trusted [Prestige] and talked to him and tried to relax.”
Fuqua executed the plan, delivering a flawless round. For the awards, the top ten who entered the ring had delivered strong performances, but it was ultimately Fuqua who was announced as the champion.
“I was really shocked; I was really happy. It was a big relief,” said Fuqua of the win.
Maddie Tosh (Milton, Ga.) claimed the reserve champion title with Bit of Love, Betsee Parker’s 13-year-old Welsh Pony cross gelding, while Shiloh Roseboom (Corona, Calif.) took home third-place honors with Buzzworthy, Enchantment Farms LLC’s 11-year-old Welsh pony gelding.