Harrisburg, Pa. – Oct. 14, 2018 – Each year, riders from across the country work towards qualifying for a spot in one of the four prestigious equitation finals held in the fall. This year, out of the 241 competitors that took to the ring Sunday, it was Brian Moggre that rode to the coveted win in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. While this is only his third year competing in the equitation divisions, Moggre rose to the occasion aboard Don Stewart’s Efendi as he clinched the win with his effortless rounds in the ring.
Judges Robin Rost Brown and Geoff Teall produced three exciting courses for riders to tackle throughout the day’s competition, each asking riders to demonstrate both equitation and hunter-style paths to showcase their position, adjustability, and responsiveness. Coco Fath managed to take over the early lead as number 97 in the ring during the first phase of the class. Fath was coming off of a seventh-place finish at this year’s Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East and was hungry for a win. At the conclusion of the first phase, Fath was able to maintain her lead, followed by Madison Goetzmann who sat in the second position with Moggre sitting in third.
The top 25 riders were called back to the ring in reverse order to compete over a new course with the hope to move up in the rankings. The new course brought new challenges for riders as they were to showcase their strengths and some had to work to overcome their weaknesses. The field of riders called back continued to wow the judges, and it was clear that these riders were the best of the best. An early lead was not a guaranteed callback to the work-off round, and only the top six riders were invited back to the ring. Moggre moved up in the rankings after his second round course to take over the first position, while Fath moved down to second. Also among the impressive contenders was Alexandra Worthington who rose from 15th to third after the conclusion of the second phase.
For the third and final phase of the class, the top six riders were called back to the ring once again to compete over the work-off course. The judges did not hold back with testing riders, asking them to demonstrate a variety of difficult tasks including two changes of lead in a line, a halt, two counter canter fences, and a hand gallop to the final fence followed by a sitting trot out of the ring. Riders received their instructions mounted in the ring, and with no chance to walk the course or further school, an understanding of the course and trust in their horse was vital.
Ellie Yeager, Olivia Broder, and Augusta Iwaskaki were the first three riders to try their hand at the work-off, each completing the round with flair. Next would be Worthington riding Ellie Yeager’s mount Alant, setting the bar high for Fath and Moggre to follow. Fath put down yet another impressive course, but the halt proved difficult for her and her mount Class Action. As the last rider in the ring with the pressure mounting, Moggre entered with Efendi to try and maintain his lead and clinch the win. While Moggre only started riding Efendi in September, the fresh partnership did not stop the pair from dominating, and they concluded the day with a foot-perfect round.
Though judges Brown and Teall commended each of the competitors on their impressive riding, it was Moggre that emerged victorious to win the prestigious equitation medal championship. Worthington made an impressive leap from her early 15th position to earn the reserve championship honors. Fath would ultimately round out the top three in the class. The Dorris H. Clark Memorial Perpetual Trophy was awarded to Moggre’s mount Efendi for earning the title of best equitation horse for the day.
Though the highlight event of the weekend has ended, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show will continue with plenty more competition in the coming week, drawing top horses and riders to Harrisburg to compete for more top honors.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Brian Moggre – 2018 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal champion
On the class:
“This is my third year doing the equitation and it means so much to go in and have the results that I did. It was nerve-wracking. I came with a mission that I wanted to accomplish and I can’t thank everyone enough who makes it happen. It really is a great group effort, and so this win means so much to me because it’s not only about the success, it’s about the production of everybody behind the scenes making it happen and I really appreciate that.”
On the first & second round:
“The first round I was quite pleased with, but that does not eliminate the nerves. I thought it was built really nicely for my horse and I was feeling confident but that still couldn’t bring the nerves out of me so I was a little bit shaken up, but [Efendi] is great. I thought the course rode beautifully and it was a great first round. The second round, I was in third, so I had a little room to make up and I thought the course was really great about showing some people where their strengths and weaknesses could be. I thought the only way I can make it to the top was just to give it my all and not protect third place and I’m really proud that he stepped up to the plate.”
On the work-off:
“Effendi is spectacular at the test. He’s very alert, he never puts a foot wrong. I really knew if I was on my game, he was going to be right there with me. In the second and third jumps with the changes, I opted for the simple changes there so that I could have a quieter pace to my round and then kind of pick it up more with the flying changes as opposed to trying to micromanage because he knows his job and is going to do it wonderfully. If I ask him the right questions, he’ll answer them.”
“I just recently started riding him, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in an indoor ring. I’ve never shown him inside. He’s amazing, so I’m very pleased with my rounds and the consistency and how he felt. I couldn’t be happier. The first time I rode Efendi, who is owned by Don Stewart, was early fall, early September. It was a deal that was basically put together by Ken and Emily Smith and my trainer Mike McCormick. And Don Stewart of course. We really wanted to have a strong year this year so we all came together and I’m very appreciative of that. I showed him at the Hampton Classic Horse Show and that was the second time I ever rode him. He is under the care of Ken and Emily [Smith], who do a great job and it was great. I won the Washington Jumper phase there and was overall and he’s just spectacular. For regionals, he was great. It really says a lot about the horse when you can’t practice all the time and he’s going to be the same every single time you pull him out of the stall. Since regionals, I hadn’t ridden him until this week. He’s spectacular.”
Alexandra Worthington – 2018 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal reserve champion
On the class:
“This is my seventh year doing the equitation and finals and it’s also my last year doing it so I was very excited to give it one last shot and try to give it my best. I actually sold my main equitation horse a couple of days ago, so I ended up leasing this horse, Alant from a barn mate, Elli Yeager. This was his first Medal Finals, so he really stepped up to the plate and was literally perfect. He didn’t put a foot wrong anywhere, so I couldn’t be happier with the horse, with everything, with how it all came together today.”
On the first and second round:
“The first round I really liked, I thought it was a very nice, flowing course. There were times to breathe, but also times to connect to jumps. I had a hard rub in the first round and it put me into 15th place coming into the second round, so I knew I had a lot of ground to make up. My goal in the second round was just to go in, not take necessarily a lot of risks so to speak, but try to give a bold round that would hopefully move me up. The horse was absolutely perfect, so I was able to get into the test and sort of kept the same strategy, tried to be bold in the test and really hand gallop. It worked out, luckily.”
“I sat on him for the first time at Kentucky Summer in August when we were thinking about selling my equitation horse so we wanted to have a back-up. I showed him in two classes there and he was great so we decided to go through with it and then I actually started college this fall at Vanderbilt University. I haven’t been able to practice too much. He came to regionals. I ended up doing my eq horse that we sold, but I did some warm-up classes on him and since then he kind of just showed up here, rode a little this week and again, it does say a lot about the horse that you can kind of just come and they’re always the same, super dependable so he’s a nice horse to mesh with, super easy.”
Coco Fath – 2018 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final third place
On the class:
“This is actually my fifth time at Medal Finals. It is a really important final to me, it was my first final I ever ribboned at. Five years ago was such a special day and I’m here with the horse who I’ve had for the past two years, Class Action, who is the best horse I’ve ever had. He might be old, but he can still come out here and put everything together. I owe everything to him and the team at Beacon Hill and Stonehenge. I wanted to come here and put in some solid rounds today and I think we accomplished that. I’m just so happy with the horse and thank you so much to Dover Saddlery for putting this all together.”
Geoff Teall – Judge
On the class:
“It was an amazing class that was fun to watch, all of it, from beginning to end. There were so many interesting things about it, but in the end, these three were phenomenal. You did everything and jumped it beautifully. Brian [Moggre], I don’t know where you found the nerve to make it harder than everybody else but you did. Alexandra [Worthington], your second round was just unbelievable, and Coco [Fath] your first round was unbelievable. You said you were a little bit cautious, but I was speechless. It’s interesting when we have 11 riders after the first round in the 90s. Some said I made the course too easy, but it’s fun when you do what you like. In the end, you guys were just amazing.”
Robin Rost Brown – Judge
On the class:
“I think style really became a part of it and I’m adamant about that. It’s not about just getting the job done, but being at least attractive while you’re doing it. Brian, I commend you, I’ve watched you ride for a long time and I could tell you’ve worked really hard on your equitation. I think the big thing we wanted was for everyone to have a good experience, even the lesser riders could complete that course and feel good about themselves. I think the horses as well, we didn’t want to take the hearts away from any horses.”
1. Brian Moggre
2. Alexandra Worthington
3. Coco Fath
4. Elli Yeager
5. Augusta Iwasaki
6. Olivia Broder
7. Kaitlyn Lovingfoss
8. Ellie Ferrigno
9. Sam Walker
10. Emma Kurtz
11. Nina Columbia
12. Emma Fletcher
Reserve – Isabelle Song
For more information on the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, please click here.