HARRISBURG, Pa.--Brian Moggre of Flower Mound, Texas won the Hunter Seat Medal Final at The Pennsylvania National Horse Show on Sunday, Oct. 14 after three rounds of competition and over 238 riders who had qualified throughout the year
Previous winners included such world famous names as Bill Steinkraus, Frank Chapot and George Morris.
At the draw on Saturday, Judge Geoff Teall gave the riders a brief overview of the class, and when the course was revealed, there were instructions printed clearly on the course map.
"The number of strides from #6 to #7A and from #7B to #8 is optional and less important to us than the quality of the jump created by the rider" giving a clear indication of the judge's preferences in the class.
Teall and fellow judge Robin Rost Brown, herself a Medal Final winner, put together a course that let them asses the riders' style, and where riders navigate single fences unrelated to lines.
THE TOP 25 from the first round were called back to test over a second course to further demonstrate their control, position and technical skills.
The top six then returned for one final test where they had to change leads, counter canter to two fences, hand gallop another, halt and demonstrate sitting trot.
Moggre, riding Efendi, who moved into the lead after the second test, won over Alexandra Worthington of Las Vegas, Nev., and Coco Fath of Fairfield, Conn, was third.
"This is my third year doing the equitation, and it means so much for me to go in and have the result I did," said Moggre. "I came with a mission, and I wanted to accomplish that mission. I can't thank everyone involved enough for making it happen. It really is a group effort. This win means so much to me because it is not only about the success, it is about the production and everybody behind the scenes making it happen.
"The first round I was quite pleased with," Moggre continued. "But that does not eliminate the nerves, I thought it was built very nicely for my horse, but that still could not bring the nerves out of me, so I was a little bit shaken. For the second round I was in third, so I had a little bit of ground to make up, and I thought that the only way I was going to make it to the top was to give it my all and not try to protect third place. I was really happy with how it worked out."
Moggre's 'go for it' attitude was noticed with approval from the judges.
When asked what put Moggre over the top, Geoff Teall summed it up, "He did" was the reply.
Worthington, who made a big jump up the leader board in the second round, was one of the riders that the judges made note of.
"Style really became a part of it in the end," said Brown. "It is not just getting the job done but being attractive while you are doing it."
Worthington considered her second round to be "a bold round that luckily worked out and put me in the final test."
"This is my last year doing the Final," said Worthington. "I wanted to give it one last shot and do my best. I started college this fall at Vanderbilt, so I actually sold my main equitation horse a couple of days ago. I ended up leasing the horse I rode from a barn mate, and this was his first Medal finals so he really stepped up to the plate. He was pretty perfect so I could not be happier with how it all came together today."
"This Final is very special to me, it was the first Final that I medaled in, and I am here with Class Action, my horse, the best horse I have ever had," said Fath. "He might be old, but he can still come out here and put everything together. I owe everything to him. I could not have been happier with my three rounds today."
The Best Equitation Horse Award, sponsored by Missy Clark, was awarded to Efendi, owned by Don Stewart and ridden by Brian Moggre.
"Efendi was spectacular today," said Moggre. "I just started riding him recently and I wasn't quite sure what to expect in an indoor ring, but he never puts a foot down wrong."
Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final
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