Spectators at the 2018 Chicago Festival of the Horse gathered around the Grand Prix Arena on Thursday afternoon for the day’s highlight event, the $25,000 Welcome Grand Prix. With a field full of some of the nation’s best jumpers, the crowd was not disappointed with the caliber of competitors battling for the top honors. This time, it was 16-year-old Brian Moggre that topped the class, finishing not only in first, but beating his own time to also take home second place.
Moggre has seen his fair share of winner circles in his short years of competing, and this afternoon’s $25,000 Welcome Grand Prix was no exception. He took to the jump-off with MTM Vivre Le Reve and MTM Flutterby, both owned by Mager Wager, LLC, after going clear with both in the first round. Moggre was joined by just three other competitors during the jump-off as the five horse and athlete combinations vied for first place.
Moggre was first to enter the jump-off, starting off with MTM Vivre Le Reve, going clear and setting the pace at 34.970 seconds. “My mindset was ‘I’m either going to win it or I’m not so I might as well give it all I’ve got!’ Just based on his performances at Tryon I knew he was going to be on his game so I just went in, had a plan, and [Vivre Le Reve] executed it perfectly and I couldn’t be more happy with him.”
Wilhelm Genn and his mount Van Gogh followed, but had an unfortunate rail and a time of 39.499 seconds. Thomas Cerra and his own mount McGregor successfully completed a clear round, but were unable to catch Moggre’s quick time, finishing in 37.194 seconds. Hayley Barnhill and Reid Patton’s Halibo Van Texelhof would be the final pair to attempt to surpass Moggre, but they had a rail just before the last fence and a final time of 36.339 seconds.
Finally, Moggre took to the ring with MTM Flutterby. Moggre had already secured himself the win in the class and was now on a quest to beat his own time.
“If I’m going to be honest, I was a little worried for myself trying to beat my first time,” Moggre joked. “I knew my first horse [MTM Vivre Le Reve] was quick and felt great, so I thought ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’m going to try!'”
MTM Flutterby holds a special place in Moggre’s heart and he speaks fondly of the mare. “I’ve had her for quite a few years now, she’s the love of my life! I think she has a forever home here. Mike [McCormick] and Tracy [Fenney] bred her originally out of one of Tracy’s grand prix horses so she has a lot of sentimental value and she’s just amazing.”
The pair moved swiftly around the course, shaving a second off of the winning time to finish in 33.800 seconds and earn the blue. Moggre would ultimately receive second place with MTM Vivre Le Reve, while Cerra and McGregor rounding out the top three.
This week’s feature show jumping class, the $50,000 Prix De Lamplight, will take place on Saturday, July 28 at 4:00 pm, where the nation’s top athletes will once again compete to take home the lion’s share of the prize money