On Sunday morning during the Blenheim Horse Trials the HTSG hosted a master class given by our scholar Alex Bragg. Spencer Sturmey joined Alex and as a duo proved to be excellent hosts for the session, with both adding interesting and fun insight on training event horses.
Alex was riding one of his younger, more inexperienced horses which has moved up the eventing levels quickly from BE100 in 2017 to winning an Intermediate at Gatcombe just last week.
Alex demonstrated a short exercise which he uses to help develop athleticism in his horses. Firstly they are required to stretch over an oxer before then shortening their stride, bending through their rib cage, and lifting up through their shoulder to get itself more engaged as it jumps three small fences built in a fan shape.
One of the overall aims of this exercise is to help build core strength in the horse. It also allows the horse to think for itself and work out where to put its legs when it comes to the three fences which are close together.
During the master class Alex had to tweak the exercise because the horse was tense and shying away from the marquees and speakers (it was her first time in a large event arena). To stop the horse cutting in to early Alex placed a pole as a guide rail and used his wife Simmone as a block to help the horse meet the fences in the middle.
Alex uses this exercise with with both younger and experienced horses, being flexible on the height and distance depending on the horse, with the aim of quality over quantity when it comes to grid work like this.
For members and visitors who attended the master class, we hope you enjoyed it and for those who were not able to attend you can watch this video to get an idea of how the session went.
Alex and our second scholar, Laura Collett both had a very successful event at Blenheim and your can read about it here on the website.