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.
Laura Collett wins CIC3* 8/9 year old class
HTSG scholar Laura Collett had an incredibly successful weekend when she finished first and third in the prestigious CIC3* for eight- and nine-year-old horses at the Ssangyong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials.
Previous winners of this class have gone on to win 4* events and championship medals and Laura looks to have two stars in winner London 52, owned by our own committee member Karen Bartlett with Keith Scott, and Diana Chappell’s Dacapo (3rd).
“London 52 finds it so easy it’s scary,” Laura said of the nine-year-old she bought two years ago out of a showjumping yard. “He’s pure class. It’s some feeling riding a horse with a long stride like that. Yet again, I’ve bought a horse I don’t want to sell – I really don’t have much of a business head!”
Photos © Fiona Scott-Maxwell and MDR Photo
Watch Laura's winning interview with Blenheim commentator (& HTSG committee member) Spencer Sturmey...
Alex Bragg makes up for fall at Burghley with 3rd place in the CCI3*
HTSG Scholar Alex Bragg and his top horse Zagreb made up for an unlucky fall across country at Burghley a couple of weeks ago with a very close third place at the SsangYong Blenheim Horse Trials in the CCI3*. They show jumped clear to finish on their dressage score of 29.6, just 1.2 penalities behind the winner. Alex said: “Our aim was the top three – job done!”
As well as Zagreb in the top 10, Alex finished an impressive 9th onboard one of his new rides for 2018 Barrichello, with whom he is building an impressive partnership. Alex was also competing in the 8/9 year old class with Shannondale Percy.
Photos © Fiona Scott-Maxwell and MDR Photo
As well as competing on three horses Alex hosted a master class in the main arena on Sunday morning and you can read more and watch a video right here on the website.
August was an extremely hectic month for HTSG Scholar Alex Bragg and it started with two horses competing at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park. It was a very successful event with Shannondale Percy finishing 2nd in the Intermediate championships.
In the CIC*** British Open Championships Barrichello finished 9th and won the trophy for the youngest horse in the top ten. That is very exciting for the future!
After Gatcombe it was off to Homme House with five youngsters and there were some sold performances with two in the top 10...
Next up was Hartpury and it was Alex's birthday weekend. There was no win or top placing for the birthday boy but he was happy with the two younger horses in the CCI* class...
Following Hartpury Alex had three rides at West Wilts with young horses all going well and two in the top 10. Then it was onto Somerford Park with 6 horses and the star of the stable was My Lucky Day finishing 2nd in the Intermediate - what a great name for a successful horse! There were also 2 more top ten finishes.
After Somerford it was a trip across the Irish Sea to Millstreet for Alex with 5 horses, three in the CIC** and two in the CIC***. Well it was definitely worth Alex making the trip as he took 2nd on Zagreb and 5th on Alactraz II in the CIC** and he placed 3rd on Barrichello and 4th on Shannondale Percy in the CIC***. What the below video of Alex explaining the SJ course.
Last event of the month for Alex was Burghley, known as the biggest four star in the world. Alex headed there with top horse Zagreb. Dressage went well but Alex was a little disappointed with his score to be 14th before XC.
On the XC Alex was having a fantastic ride and was just getting into the middle of the course when he had a very unfortunate fall at the Maltings. The good news is they were both fine and will be back in action at Blenheim next week.
Both of our HTSG Training Scholars, Alex Bragg and Laura Collett, are in action at the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials next week, and we are putting them to work!
Alex and Laura will be hosting a course walk (CIC course) on Thursday 13th September at approximately 11:30am. This will be a fantastic opportunity for HTSG members and their guests to get a detailed insight of the course and ask our scholars any questions. The course walk is free of charge to members, and £10 for guests (including a donation to the event's nominated charity). We would like to thank the organiser's of Blenheim for allowing this to happen.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place. Numbers will be limited.
Alex Bragg Master Class
We are very excited to announce that Alex has kindly agreed to present a Master Class on behalf of HTSG on Sunday 16th September in the Marlborough (Main) Arena at 10:00am.
Alex will ride one of his horses and be joined on the ground by Spencer Sturmey. Please do join us for what promises to be an educational and entertaining session.
Tickets are available for the WEG supper being held on Saturday 15th September. All of the action from the cross-country at Tryon will be shown live on the big screen, as well as some exclusive behind the scenes footage from Team GBR. Please see the attached flyer for more information.
Owners, Athletes and Trainers Facility at Blenheim
The organiser's of the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials have secured support for a dedicated Owners, Athletes and Trainers (OATs) facility for this year’s event, and as well as the owners of horses who are competing, they are very kindly offering members of HTSG to use the facility.
The facility will be supported by Theraplate UK whose wave vortex stimulation therapy products are aimed at equine, dog and human rehabilitation and are used by vets, rehab centres and several riders.
The Owners, Athletes and Trainers marquee will be located adjacent to the main arena collecting ring allowing owners and HTSG members to watch the horses prepare for CCI3* dressage and the show jumping phases of the 8&9-year-old CIC3* and the CCI3* as well as a great place to see the ‘south lawn’ loop of the CCI3* cross-country on Saturday.
There will be tables and chairs inside, a garden area with patio furniture, complimentary refreshments, daily papers and lifestyle magazines and from the sponsors complimentary tea and coffee and a welcome glass of fizz!
Please ensure that you wear your HTSG badge to gain access to this facility.
Finally, we would like to wish Alex and Laura, as well as any HTSG members with horses competing, the very best of luck for a safe and successful Blenheim.
We look forward to seeing you.
With best wishes,
Alex had a very busy and successful July, starting with 6 horses competing at Barbury International Horse Trials with four horses finishing their sections in the top ten...
After Barbury, Alex headed to Jardy in France and wow what an amazing event it was for him. Zagreb performed out of his skin in the Event Rider Masters (ERM) CIC3* section to lead from start to finish to claim a famous win. Not to be out done, Shannondale Percy finished 3rd in the other CIC3* section and in just their second competition together Alcatraz came 9th in the CIC2*.
After all the excitement of Jardy it was back home for Alex and Team Bragg for 7 horses at Dauntsey and then onto Aston Le Walls with four in the Intermediate - there was more success with two 3rd places for Bonmahon Blue Mist and King of the Mill.
After Aston Le Walls, Alex headed to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight for the inaugural London Capital & Finance Osborne Horse Trials. All three horses (Zagreb, Barrichello & Alcatraz) went well with star of the show being Barrichello taking second place.
To round up the month Team Bragg were out in full force at Wilton Horse Trials with an unbelievable 8 horses competing. There were another 2 winners, King of the Mill in the Intermediate and Cobalt De Dugny in the BE100.
Alex Bragg, one of the HTSG scholars for 2018 talks to us about the support he has received and some of the benefits of being a member.
If you haven't heard Alex won the latest leg of the Event Rider Master on his top horse Zagreb. Read the full report on the ERM website.
June proved to be a very busy month for Alex with his increasing string of horses competing at various national and international events. At the beginning of the month he had 6 young horses running at West Wiltshire...
Next up for Alex was one of his local Somerset events, Nunney International Horse Trials where he had 9 horses over the weekend. It was a successful weekend with 7 top 10 places...
This busy month was finished off at Chepstow with 5 horses running all in one day. It was a day of mixed fortune but Alex continued to perform with his young horses with a win and a 3rd place...
This yard visit has been postponed until later in the year - full details will be provided in due course.
An exciting and exclusive members visit to Alex Bragg's yard in Somerset has been arranged for the 24th June.
Alex is one of the HTSG Scholars for 2018 and has kindly agreed to host a yard visit for 20 members.
The day will include:
The visit will be at Poplars Equestrian, Chilton Trinity, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA5 2BG. It will start promptly at 10.30am and is expected to finish after lunch at approximately 1.30pm.
As this event is limited to just 20 members please complete the below contact form to register your interest in attending. This form will be closed on the 18th June or as soon as 20 members have registered an interest.
The beginning of May saw our busiest and most exciting time of year, Badminton Horse Trials. After a very challenging start to the 2018 eventing season with many cancellations it was great to be at the biggest and best 4* event in the world and also enjoy some bright sunshine.
As always the Horse Trials Support Group had our members marquee just a stone’s throw from the main arena, offering members a great place to meet friends, watch the action on screens, enjoy good quality food and attend several events put on by the Committee.
197 members took up their Badminton passes this year which represents the majority of our membership – it was wonderful to greet so many of you in the marquee.
We hosted a number of events throughout the four days of the event which included:
Photos © Fiona Scott-Maxwell
We would like to thank our members and guests for their generous support at these events over the four days.
Redpath Ransom was a little tense with the atmosphere heightened as it always is on Friday afternoon. Alex said ‘Both my boys tried really hard on their dressage. Zagreb performed a consistent test for a competitive sub 30 score. Redpath Ransom’s nerves got the better of him and the tension prevented him from picking up good marks’.
We saw Alex again on Friday evening along with fellow scholar Laura Collett as they were presented with their Training Scholar awards at our Cross-Country Preview Evening. Their humour was well received by the crowd, who valued their insight into the course.
Saturday dawned bright, we bumped into Alex walking the course and he was happy and looking forward to the day. Zagreb was early out on the course and stormed confidently round, unfortunately breaking a pin at Fence 18. It was great to see them through the finish with a smile.
Alex & Zargreb - Photos © MDR Photo
The great sadness of the afternoon was the catastrophic injury to Redpath Ransom on the flat towards the end of the course - until then he had given Alex an amazing ride around the course with Alex really getting the crowd cheering at the lake. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the entire team.
Alex & Redpath Ransom - Photos © MDR Photo
Alex bravely presented Zagreb for the second horse inspection on Sunday morning. Simmone and Heather had Zagreb looking fantastic and he passed with no problems. The show jumping course caused many problems and was very tight for time. Zagreb jumped a great round for just 4 faults and the crowd appreciated Alex’s obvious pleasure with his horse.
Overall, it was not the Badminton the team were hoping for but we are delighted to hear of new horses joining the team in the coming weeks and look forward to the yard visit to meet them all in June (keep an eye on Facebook and here on the website for more info).