By Jan Westmark
Shereen Fuqua loves her life — which includes her husband, Jeff; daughter, Kat; their Collecting Gaits Farm and all the horses and ponies that call it home; supporting the horse show world; and her company. “My company of 14 years produces chewing gum for horses, GumBits. It’s a product that makes people and their horses happy,” she said. “It’s not work when you love it.”
Shereen, who is a Grand Prix dressage rider, spent 22 successful years in commercial real estate. When she decided to have a family, she left the real estate world behind and has found her joy in family and the horse world – which includes sponsoring shows. “We’re going on our fifth year of Collecting Gaits Farm sponsoring Pony Finals,” she said. “One of the things I love about Pony Finals is the children come together and have their own mini Olympics. It also creates lasting memories and friendships.” Some of Shereen’s favorite Pony Finals memories come from her own daughter. “My favorite horse show experiences over the years include when Kat won Pony Finals for the first time, then when Kat won the Pony Medal last year and Pony Finals again.”
How long have you owned Collecting Gaits Farm?
We built the farm in 2001 to seriously train the grand prix. Jeff loved and studied the architecture of old barns in Europe for the best layout and designs. Our barn was published in “Bygone Treasures and Timeless Beauties, Barns of Old Milton County” by Robert Meyers in 2011.
What are some of your highlights of your show career?
My fondest show was winning 2006 USDF Regional Championships at the Intermediaire 2 (mini grand prix). My next great accomplishment was showing the grand prix less than two months after having a C-section with Kat in 2007.
Do you have a funny horse moment that still makes you laugh?
I closed my inside leg to ride the corner in a third-level test years ago. Clearly I had no outside aids, because my horse hopped over the rail. The judge looked at me and we both laughed. She said I could go ahead and finish the test. Because I was at the other end from the entrance, I closed my outside leg and he hopped back over to complete the class.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I’m lucky because Kat has a sweet disposition, and I think she knows she’s a miracle. I was days from turning 45 when Kat was born.
What are your goals in the horse world?
Be GumBits Happy!
What is your favorite thing about being part of the horse world?
Being with Kat
If you had a week off, what would you do?
During the shelter-in-place, I’ve really enjoyed living at our farm for days. It feels safe. I teach Kat to take care of her own horses and rely on herself.
Who inspires you?
The elegance of Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn, definitely
What talents do you feel you have?
My gut instincts haven’t let me down yet.
Do you have a personal motto or catch phrase?
Be an eagle; it’s ok to be a loner.
What’s your favorite item of clothing to wear?
Anything my daughter gives me. Recently, Converse shoes.
What three items can usually be found in your refrigerator?
Sparkling water, pink sea salt and strawberries
What’s your favorite meal?
What would be the best gift in the world?
Peace for all mankind, which sounds cliché but I really mean it.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Seeing the future. I’m very impatient — maybe it would help me do something better if I knew how wrong I would be.
What’s something everyone should try at least once?
Ice skating … I was a competitive figure skater in high school.
How would you like people to remember you?
As a nice person
Photo by Shawn McMillen