Harrisburg, Pa. – Oct. 12, 2018 – Defending their historic 2017 team win, Zone 7 were once again victorious, bringing home team gold in the 2018 Neue Schule/ USEF Prix des States Team Championship at the 73rd Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
The gold medal team, comprised of Briley Koerner 18, of The Woodlands, Texas, riding For Jef VD Wezelse, owned by Bks Horse Farms, LLC; Sloan Hopson, 17, of Huston, Texas, aboard Costa Rica VH Waterschoot Z; Anna Beth Athey, 17, of Enid, Oklahoma, riding For Serrano Sr, and Brian Moggre, 16, of Flower Mound, Texas, on MTM Flutterfly rode, to victory under the guidance of Martien Van Der Hoeven as their Chef d’Equipe.
Briley Koerner and Jef VD Wezelse, the 13 year old Belgian warmblood gelding, were the only combination of the team to produce a fault free second round boosting the teams standings. “I couldn’t be happier with [For Jef VD Wezelse]. He jumped his heart out for me,” said Keorner. “Each round he came back wanting more and more. He just makes me feel so comfortable.”
Strategy was key in building from last year’s epic win. Koerner was thankful she was part of back-to-back team wins with friends. “We had the same strategy as last year and we are all really good friends. It’s nice to be back to back (champions). I couldn’t be happier.”
Riding as the anchor rider for Zone 7, with an unlucky rail in the in the final phase, Brian Moggre was nothing but smiles and full of praise for MTM Flutterfly, the 11-year-old thoroughbred cross owned by Major Wager Llc., and for his teammates. “My horse (MTM Flutterfly) was great, she was awesome. I couldn’t really have asked much more,” said Moggre. “My teammates are awesome and jumped great! It means a lot for her (MTM Flutterfly) to come here and do this and do so well.”
Sloan Hopson and her own Costa Rica VH Waterschoot Z, the 10 year-old Zangersheide mare, produced a strong round incurring four faults to put her on the heels of teammate Moggre in the final standings. “The first round I was trying to manage a smooth round and I actually made a small mistake but got away with it,” said Hopson. “I was glad to have fixed that mistake in the second round. She (Costa Rica VH Waterschoot Z) jumped great and I was very happy with how everyone did. We’re all great friends and this is a great experience to be able to win with our closest friends.”
Anna Beth Athey and her own For Serrano Sr, the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, were the drop score of the team with four faults. “[For Serrano Sr] was amazing he really gives me a lot of confidence. He feels like he could jump the moon,” said Athey. “We had a little mistake in the second round. The team is great, and I’ve known them for a really long time, so it’s great to get to this level and really perform.”
When asked about the technical difficulty of course, Athey was all smiles, “He (For Serrano Sr) has a really big stride and was really fresh and going forward today!”
The Neue Schule/USEF National Junior Jumper Championship culminates on Saturday with the Individual Phase III competition. Scores from the first two phases are converted into points and are carried over with the top 60 percent of competitors from Phases I and II, who have not been eliminated, eligible to take part. The individual champion is the competitor with the lowest number of combined penalties after Phases I, II and III.