It's one thing to compete against the world's top horses and riders, but how does it feel to beat them? Last weekend, 17-year-old Brian Moggre found out when he topped a six horse jump-off to win the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Ocala at Live Oak International — his debut in the World Cup Series and first grand prix win.
Brian and MTM Vivre le Reve produced a quick and clever clear round that was full of heart — the 10-year-old gelding made an enormous effort over a wide oxer, kicking his legs between the rails for a little extra 'oomph' (watch it below) — to win by less than three-tenths of a second.
Based at MTM Farm with Mike McCormick and Tracey Fenney, the young Texan is turning heads on circuits around the country. Brian, of Flower Mound, Texas, has a long list of top results on his resume, including victory in the 2016 Zone 4 Maclay Regionals, top ten placings at the 2016 ASPCA Maclay Final and the WIHS Equitation Finals, first place in the 2016 $250,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix at HITS Saugerties, team gold at the 2017 North American Junior Young Rider Championships, and winner of the 2018 Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final — the list goes on.
Even though Brian only received his driver’s license a year ago, he describes himself as a true professional horseman with years of experience under his belt. With big plans for the future, we sat down with Brian to learn about his unconventional start in riding and his proven formula for how he sets goals.
NoelleFloyd.com: You see most junior riders go from the pony hunters to the equitation and jumpers. How have your roots in the jumpers given you an edge over your competitors in the hunters and equitation?
Brian Moggre: What got my attention in the equitation was that I knew it would benefit my riding. I want to ride professionally, and want to make a career out of it. Just looking at previous riders such as McLain Ward and Kent Farrington, they’ve both had such success in the equitation. For me to be the best I can possibly be, it was the right decision to make. I wanted to be more disciplined and learn a different style of riding, so I’m not just relying on one thing. The equitation helps me in the jumpers quite a lot. It taught me how to execute a plan and how to really nail a course. When you walk a course and say a line could be X or Y, being able to execute your plan as smoothly as possible and make it most beneficial for you and your horse is key.
NF: How has your riding developed since you began training with Tracey Fenney and Mike McCormick at MTM Farm?
BM: I bought my first horse from Mike and Tracey in 2012 and that’s when they started helping me. I rode with a different trainer, Gianna Aycock, before making the switch. Mike and Tracey helped me with my horses and wanted their horses going well to look good for the brand, so they’ve helped me for many years. In January of 2016, I went full swing with Mike and Tracey — they’ve done wonders for my riding and I’m extremely appreciative for that. Staying on a consistent program and riding eight to 12 horses a day has developed my riding tremendously. I do online school, so I’m at the barn all the time. Mike and Tracey are the bomb.
NF: You’re a big believer in setting goals. How do you decide what to set your sights on?
BM: When I set goals, they usually start out as a big disaster. Everything I want to do, I throw into a big pile, whether it’s short term or long term, far-fetched or realistic, that’s where I start my list. Then I break that list down into smaller and more realistic goals and what I want to accomplish this year. Saying I want to compete at the Olympics — that would be a long-term goal, and is not something I’m driven to do this year. ... I break my goals into timely and realistic. I’m a big believer in lists — whenever I start my day, I make a list of everything I need to do. It helps me to stay organized.
NF: Speaking of goals, how does it feel to be competing consistently at the grand prix level?
BM: It’s a bit nerve-wrecking, but I love it. There’s nothing in this world that gives me the same feeling as I do whenever I jump a big course. It’s just so surreal and I could never imagine myself doing anything different, it’s so amazing.
I really just want to keep stepping up. I feel very confident in all my horses right now, they all feel really good, and I am excited to see where it will take me. In the future, I want to compete on the Nations Cup teams, and compete in the Olympics — everything every rider wants to do. I want to make a career out of this. ... I love this sport so much and I’m thankful to have so much support from my parents, Gianna Aycock, and Mike and Tracey. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
All photos by Sportfot.