Lexington, Ky.—Nov. 2
As he leaned over the table at the press conference following the $225,000 Longines FEI Lexington World Cup qualifier to look at his new Longines watch, Brian Moggre’s eyes widened a hair, and he exclaimed, “Oh baby!”
Though his demeanor was bright and full of mirth as he was peppered with questions, just a few minutes prior the 18-year-old was wiping away tears as the “Star-Spangled Banner” played throughout the Alltech Arena.
“That moment for me was something I never expected to feel, especially this year, where I am in my career,” he said. “That horse is so special to me, MTM Vivre Le Reve. That horse has really taken me through all the ranks with him. I won my first FEI grand prix with him at Live Oak in the spring, another World Cup. To be able to win two was not even in my imagination. He was really on his game today, and luckily I was on mine. It was awesome, a really great feeling.”
Known for riding by the seat of his pants in the jumper ring, Moggre put his faith in “Erkel” for his long gallop down to the final fence. He let the 10-year-old Westphalian (Ustinov—Chellana, Chello II) fly and trusted him to see the same distance. The gelding soared, never coming close to the red, white and blue rails.
On landing, Moggre leaned low to gallop through the timers, and he looked back up at the scoreboard to check if it was enough to beat Karen Polle’s blazing fast time of 34.44 seconds with Kino. Upon seeing 34.22 on the clock, Moggre broke into a smile, and as he turned to exit the ring, he leaned down and gave his partner of four years a long hug.
But Moggre had to sweat it out a little bit longer, as there was still one more to go, and it was Switzerland’s Beat Mändli. And the winner of the 2007 Rolex FEI World Cup Final (Nevada) looked like he might be able to pull it off, but the distance to the final fence wasn’t there, and Simba stopped, sending rails flying and throwing Mändli.
Moggre felt utter disbelief.
“I was scared,” he admitted, when asked how he felt waiting for Mändli’s round. “I obviously wanted to do well, but at the end of the day, a second in a class like this would still be phenomenal.
“My horse jumped amazing,” he continued. “I would not change a single thing about my ride or how my horse performed. I’m ecstatic with that. I could have been smoother, maybe I could have been quicker, but at the end of the day I am very pleased with the result, and say the last one went in and beat me, it would just give me more of an edge for next time.”
As for that watch he was starry-eyed over? He already knew exactly what he was going to do with it.
“This watch, I’ll probably give to my father because if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this. He let me keep the first one, so he can have this one.”
Don’t miss all the Chronicle’s online coverage, with behind-the-scenes stories, lovely photos and more! Follow the Chronicle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Chronofhorse and check out the Nov. 18 issue of the magazine full analysis of the competition.