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Sponsored Rider - Alex Bragg's First Blog!

Welcome to my first blog as Pontispoolís sponsored rider! Pontispool plays a crucial part in the schooling of my young horses before a competition. The key to schooling is to take your time when you are introducing them to fences. We never rush them, but always allow them to look at the fence, work out the question, tackle the fence, and learn the lesson. The great thing about Pontispoolís facilities is that there is so much variety. If other people are schooling thereís enough room to do your own thing without feeling pressured. Itís also a really safe environment because there are always others around you should anything go wrong. The Ďbuddy systemí is very much in evidence.

Last week was busy as we were at Homme House in Much Marcle, Herefordshire with five horses.

LVS Stonehavens Quebec won a 5YO section finishing on her amazing dressage score of 13.3. Sheís a lovely moving horse and did a very consistent test. The judge seemed to like her more and more and the 9s just kept coming! This meant I didnít have to rattle her round the cross-country course Ė happy days.

The Night Traveller won his BE100 Open section with a dressage score of 21.0. With both horses having double clears it was a great result.

My four-year-old Bloomfield Tiger Two scored a 29 dressage in a BE100 section, which put him into fifth after that phase, and with another double clear and a few time penalties cross country, he finished eighth.

Bonmahon Blue Mist, an Irish four-year-old scored 26 in his dressage; with a clear cross-country and two down in the showjumping to finish17th. This was an educational competition, so hopefully next time he can show his true potential.

With the ground firm, I took it steady cross country on Spypark Ferro XS, who was competing in his second Novice and we rolled a pole in the showjumping. We had quite a few time penalties cross country but it was a super performance and I was pleased he finished 14th.

Then we barely had time to touch base before we were off out again to Hartpury CCI** with Duke of Axbridge. Iíve had him for 12 months and heís improved a lot. For his stage in his training we were pleased with his dressage test. He was unfortunately held on the cross country which threw us out of our stride. He started again, a little strong, and ran us into trouble at a technical fence on the course. This resulted in us having an expensive 20 penalties but other than that I had a fabulous ride. The cross country at Hartpury is challenging which is yet another thing Pontispool has in its favour, their courses are always bold and itís great to have somewhere on my doorstep so to prepare my horses well.

Itís been quite an awkward summer with the weather. Itís either been too hard with the risk of concussion on the horsesí legs a concern, or this torrential rain, which is a nightmare to work in but also welcome in a funny kind of way.

The next event on the calendar is West Wilts on Tues/Wed Ė with the four-year-old getting an outing along with some Novice horses. Then we look forward to Gatcombe, and of course, Pontispool, where I will be putting quite a few entries together to support such a great local venue.

I love being part of the eventing world and I couldnít ever imagine swapping it for working behind a desk enclosed by four walls. The social scene is pretty special too.

Iím actually a bit gutted I canít be at the Eventing Family party at the weekend which is for a brilliant cause but Iím off early on Sunday morning with my wife, Simmone and our three daughters Ellouise, Sienna and Florence, for a holiday in Cornwall. Iíll be supporting the auction as much as I can.

www.poplars-equestrian.com

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