With International Flair: Moa Berglund Is More Than Your Average Competitor
Showing can be tough on competitors. From the long hours to the long miles, showing at major shows is definitely not a walk in the park, and there is a lot of time and commitment for those who want to make it to (and stay at) the top. However, most competitors only have to travel across several states and maybe one or two time zones. Enter Moa Berglund. The 19 year-old has a bit of a longer trip than, well, almost anyone at this year’s Ford Youth World and Quarter Horse Congress. Berglund hails from Sigtuna, Sweden, and has been a fixture on the European quarter horse circuit for several years. This year, she headed stateside to attend the Ford Youth World and the Congress where she made quite a splash.
With the western discipline and quarter horses rapidly gaining foothold in other countries, we were very excited to have the opportunity to talk with Berglund and get the scoop on what it’s like to be an international competitor. While Moa mostly shows in the western events, she recently took home the Congress title in Novice Youth 14-18 Hunter Under Saddle with Aint Gota Lot after coming off a third place finish at the 2015 Ford Youth World in Western Riding with Grey Asset.
Tell us a little about yourself. What horses & events do you show in and what are you up to when you’re not on a horse?
In general, I show mostly in the western events. My favorite events are probably western riding and trail. I ride a lot, and we have horses at home. I also travel a lot to be able to gain more experience in riding. Whenever I’m not riding, I’ve been busy with school and trying to apply for different college educations, although I decided to take a year off (pretty common to do that in Sweden) before I continue my education.
Some people travel across the United States or even Canada to show at the Congress and World Show, but you traveled all the way from Sweden! Do you have trainers/coaches both stateside and back home?
I don’t have a trainer in Sweden, but I have been traveling for the last 4 years to Italy where I have been training and showing with Matteo Sala. Right before the Congress, I also had the great opportunity to practice with Highpoint Performance Horses as well. Matteo has been collaborating with Highpoint for the past 10 years. Their riding concepts are very similar to each other, and due to that, it was easy for me to work with them as well.
The main reason I got the chance to come over here is because Matteo and the owner of Grey Asset trusted me in showing him over here. When we first decided to bring our own European horse over to the states, we knew it would be a very long, expensive, and exhausting process, although it felt like the best thing to do. No guts, no glory. It’s hard to describe how much this entire adventure means to me. It’s a memory for life! When you think about it now in hindsight, it would have been for sure easier to just lease a horse from the States, but it felt like our entire team worked too hard to give this dream up, and it definitely paid off.
Major shows can really be tiring on their own, but when you travel to the States, you add some serious jet lag on top of that. How do you manage it? Do you have any tricks for adjusting?
I arrived in the states more or less 1 week before we had to leave for the congress so I had time to adjust myself. I don’t really have any tricks for adjusting but it definitely helps to be able to sleep during the flight so you get to your final destination in a good condition.
The first thing that comes to my mind is about the number of horses and riders . For sure, you have a lot more horses and entries at the shows in the U.S. than what we have at shows over Europe. Considering the amount of horses and riders you have over in the U.S. and comparing that to the numbers we have over Europe, I do believe that the quality of both horses and riders is pretty equal. Countries such as Sweden are far behind in the western culture, and we could definitely use some tips and tricks to gain knowledge about the horse business, and by that, be able to improve the quality and amount of exhibitors.
What is one show in the US that you haven’t been to but would love to attend some day?
I would love to go to the Open World Show, which I’ve heard so many good things about it.
What is your favorite European show?
My favorite show in Europe is the European Championships. It’s one of the biggest shows, if not the biggest one. It’s like the World Show in the U.S., just in a much smaller version. Due to the show being so well organized, it allows exhibitors to compete and perform at a very high level. For example, trail patterns are designed by Tim Kimura who does an amazing job, and riding his courses are so much fun. I really like his patterns!
2015 has been a great year for you! What are your show plans for the remainder of 2015 after the Congress and heading into next year? I think the Congress will be my last show for this year, unfortunately. I’m really hoping to be able to come back next year, and also able to qualify for the Amateur World Show.
Many thanks to Moa for talking to us, and Pleasurehorse.com wishes her all the best in her new Amateur endeavors next year! Hope to see you at another U.S. show soon!