After a year of qualifying, 238 riders started their quest for the top prize in the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at The Pennsylvania National Horse Show. All the hopefuls have one goal in mind, to add their name to the illustrious list of riders who have preceded them, names like Steinkraus, Chapot and 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 for the hopefuls. Printed clearly on the course map were the following instructions “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 assess the riders’ style, and where riders navigate single fences unrelated to lines.
The top 25 from the first round were invited 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.
After undergoing all these tests of riding ability, the judges announced Brian Moggre of Flower Mound, TX the winner of the 2018 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final. Alexandra Worthington from Las Vegas, NV, earned second place and Coco Fath, Fairfield, CT, 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.
Alexandra Worthington was one of the riders that the judges made note of in the second round. “Style really became a part of it in the end,” said Robin Rost 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