History has graced humankind with many famous Erkels.
There’s Ferenc Erkel, the father of Hungarian grand opera. And Dutch former medical aid worker Arjan Erkel, who headed a relief mission for refugees fleeing from Chechnya.
In America, the most well known is perhaps Steve Urkel, star of the sitcom Family Matters—and of “Did I do that?” fame.
But for teenage wonderkind Brian Moggre, rising talent of the U.S. team, it’s an Erkel of a four-legged variety that plays the leading role in his ongoing history. And they just added to it with a win in the final WEF Challenge Cup of the season.
“He’s my rock after all these years,” said Moggre (USA) of his longtime partner, MTM Vivre Le Reve, aka Erkel.
“All of my firsts, like my first FEI class, first grand prix, first three-star, four-star, and five-star, have been his first time also, so he’s a horse that I have a really special relationship with. It’s really nice to see that we’ve still got it.”
Sixty-three entries contested the course set by Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER); eight found a clear track to qualify for the jump-off. Olympic silver medalist Kent Farrington (USA) elected to save his horse for the weekend’s $214,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI4*, leaving seven to challenge the short track.
Second last to go, Moggre rode for the win.
“Erkel is amazing,” exclaimed Moggre after the win. “With seven jumping off, we could put a little pressure on and see what came of it. I asked him to step up to the plate, he did, and I still feel as though I have a good horse for the grand prix on Saturday.
“In the jump-off, I did one less stride in the first line and the last line. I walked eight [strides] and eight [strides] but he’s got a huge stride. The horses carry across this footing in the International Arena very nicely; they travel the ground well, so I did one less stride, and he got up those sevens just as if he was doing the eight. It worked out for us.”
The risk paid off. Moggre and 11-year-old Westphalian gelding posted a double-clear, crossing the timers in 40.04 seconds ahead of Olympians Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Lucifer V, (40.32 seconds) and Daniel Deusser (GER) and Casallvano (40.56 seconds).
“I know him like the back of my hand,” continued Moggre. “I trust him, and I know what risks I can take and which ones I should maybe avoid. I think the best part of our relationship is we really know the ins and outs of each other. You can say we know so much about a horse, but I think they really know you too as a rider. That’s a great thing for him and I. He’s incredible.”