Nick Skelton said: ‘Are you nervous? You should be!’ Young rider and horse with no front teeth dazzle on world stage

  • Young American rider Brian Moggre will be one of only two showjumpers representing the US from now on at the Agria FEI World Showjumping Championships, on a horse who has no front teeth and a teddy bear on his halter.

    Olympic silver medallists the US finished in 11th place after two rounds of jumping, just missing out on the team final, but Brian on Balou Du Reventon, along with McLain Ward on Contagious, are still in the running for the individual competition.

    Brian, who having celebrated his 21st birthday last Sunday is the youngest rider in the competition, and is making his senior championship debut, jumped clear on Ann Thompson’s 16-year-old German-bred stallion on the first day to finish 19th.

    “He’s the most gentle kind stallion you could ever imagine,” he said. “I lie in the stall with him, he has a teddy bear on his halter, he holds the rope. He’s so gentle, but he knows when it’s time to really show up and he does.”

    Brian added that the Cornet Obolensky stallion is “the funniest thing”.

    “He has no front teeth,” he said. “We have a dragon, Toothless, from How to Train Your Dragon in his stall, and it’s kind of fun to put your finger in his mouth because he has no teeth there. But overall, he’s just such a gentle, sweet character and that’s really the best part about him.”

    Brian was delighted with his day one performance, as the third of the US team to go, saying: “Nick [Skelton] and Laura [Kraut] kind of thought we might as well go give it a shot and see what we have. So I went out there kind of going for it”.

    “I think to finish where we did was a really great start to the week and I think myself and my team are very pleased with that,” he said. “My horse loves a forward rid; he’s such a gentle stallion outside the ring, but once you get in the ring, he turns into this powerhouse kind of dragon. We don’t often get to do speed rounds so to go out there and really just let him go and let him rip; he loved it.

    Asked whether former Olympic champion Nick and his partner, fellow top US rider Laura, gave him any advice before his World Showjumping Championships round on Wednesday (10 August), Brian said: “I think there were a lot of words of wisdom right before I walked in the ring, though I do remember Nick said to me: ‘Are you nervous?’ And I said yes, and he said: ‘Good, because you should be!’.

    “They’re such a fantastic support team that kind of everything they say is support.”

    Brian and Balou Du Reventon tipped one rail on day two to put them in 25th place going into tonight’s competition, in which they are 20th to jump.

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