By Eric Loeb
While studying abroad, Eli Kogan ’13 recently finished in first place at the Casilla La Mancha Federación Hípica National Equestrian event. Despite being the youngest competitor, he ranked first in show in multiple events, winning the 0.9 and 1.1 meter jumping events.
Kogan attempted to clear a 1.1 meter fence on the first day of competition but failed. On the second day, however, Kogan successfully cleared the 0.9 meter bar and did not recieve a single deduction from the judges.
On the third and final day, he returned to the 1.1 meter event, completing the jump and finishing in first place.
“I had no idea that I came in first until they called the top three back into the ring to receive the trophies,” Kogan said. “When they handed me the first place trophy, I was shocked. The first day of competition I was eliminated, and the second day I did not qualify top three, so winning first on the last day was the culmination of a lot of hard work and validated every minute of it. I was more than ecstatic to have won, and the lap of honor felt like a dream.”
Kogan began riding early in his life.
“I started out riding western when I was very young,” he said. “When I moved to London when I was six, I started riding English and, soon after, jumping.”
Kogan traveled to Spain for his junior year as part of the School Year Abroad program.
After qualifying for the event by winning smaller events in Zaragoza, Spain, where he currently lives, he needed special permission to participate from the Casilla La Mancha Federación Hípica.
While balancing his hobby with his studies, Kogan trained vigorously in order to continue to compete in the events.
“When in Zaragoza, I get out to the barn every day except Mondays,” Kogan said. “At the barn, I either jump a few horses or work on training a few young stallions. At the moment, my project stallion is a 5-year-old named Confoster. A couple times a month, I compete in shows in the area, and, after winning last weekend in Toledo, I will now start traveling to higher level shows. I may be coming back to Spain in July to spend the month competing.”
“Coming to Spain this year was the best decision I have ever made,” Kogan said. “I love my host family and I have made lifelong friends, both American and Spanish.”
Kogan is currently on a week-long trip through Cordoba, Sevilla, and Cadiz for school, but he looks forward to returning to Zaragoza to continue his training there and compete in more events.
“I feel like this year is a complete dream,” Kogan said.