Brian Moggre has taken the show-jumping world by storm. In March of 2019, Brian and his Westphalian gelding MTM Vivre Le Reve, or Erkel, picked up their first international win at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Ocala. Brian was just 17 at the time. His World Cup qualifier success continued into the current season, where he and Erkel won yet again—this time in Lexington at the prestigious National Horse Show. One week later, the pair placed third at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto. He’s now in second place in the World Cup Eastern Sub-League rankings behind Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden. This position guarantees his ticket to the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas, which is quickly approaching in mid-April.
I caught up with Brian at trainers’ Ken and Emily Smith’s base in Wellington at the beginning of January to hear more about his World Cup season, what it would mean to compete at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas and more about his partnership with Erkel.
You were only 17 when you won your first World Cup qualifier last March in Ocala, and then you went ahead and did it again in Kentucky in November. To what to you attribute such early success?
The first win really caught me by surprise. That horse show at Live Oak—I wasn’t even sure I was going to show there until about the week before. I really didn’t have any expectations for how the week was going to go. My horse had been performing wonderfully all winter. He not only won the grand prix, he also won the qualifier just a few days prior. That was a surreal moment for me and it was a huge eye-opener that maybe I can do it and I’m so thankful that it was with that horse because that made it even more special to me that I can do it and he can as well.
[Winning] at the National Horse Show was amazing. I competed in Washington the week before and had a medium result in Washington. I was happy with my horse, but I could have performed a bit better. So again, I didn’t really know what to expect and it could’ve gone any way. It was amazing. I cried [laughs]. I cried both times. It was super great to win those two classes not only in the same year, but with the same horse. It was just a spectacular 2019. I had always dreamed of winning my first three-star and my first four-star and for those to be in the same year when I was 17 and 18 is crazy to me.
You’ve done very well in the North American League this year gearing up for the World Cup. Can you talk about what your season has been like?
The World Cup Final is a massive goal of mine and it has been for many years. I went and watched the World Cup Final in Vegas maybe 5 years ago and I told myself, I’m going to do this one day. Last year, 2019, was my first year actually to compete in any three-star, four-star or five-star grand prix. That was awesome and it gave me the opportunity to chase those points and we made a plan accordingly and a schedule that these are the classes we want to do in order to qualify. My horse performed amazing. He jumped clear at the American Gold Cup, he jumped clear in Columbus, Ohio. He won the National. We’ve been entering those weeks with hopes that we’d make it to the big final and our chances are looking pretty great right now so I’m super happy about that.
Can you talk about what MTM Vivre le Reve (Erkel) is like?
Erkel is 11 this year. I’ve had him for about four years. He’s so special to me. He’s a little bit like me in horse form and I think that’s why he’s so special. He always tries his hardest. He’s very serious about what he does, but at the same time he’s very playful and has a sweet heart. It’s my first time experiencing all these amazing things, and it’s his first time as well, and I think that’s the most special thing to me, is to do it all together and learn a lot along the way. It means a lot to me.
What are you most looking forward to at the World Cup in Vegas?
Probably the atmosphere. To experience a competition like that is something I have never experienced before in my life and to be there and to represent the United States and also show everybody that I am this 18-year-old kid from Texas and try to show them what I’m capable of and my team and my horse. I think we have a strong chance and I could not be more excited.
Follow along with Practical Horseman’s coverage of the 2020 World Cup Final on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Special thanks to our sponsors, ADM Animal Nutrition, Soft-Ride Equine Comfort Boots and Vetoquinol for their support.