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Pontispool horse trials 8th October 2015

With a wet couple of weeks leading up to Pontispool, the ground was just perfect.  The first day of the show gifted us with beautiful sunshine, which gave us fantastic conditions to enjoy the event.  With Pontispool’s addition of an owners  hospitality tent, it meant that those who are closely involved in the sport, and give so much to support riders, could relax, enjoy light refreshments while perfectly situated to watch the show jumping in the main arena below them.  I know this went down really well with our owners, and it gave everybody an ideal meeting point to catch up.  I’d like to say a huge thank you to Pontispool for providing such a great facility.

My first horse of the day was a last minute favour for Alanna Day.  She asked if I could give her inexperienced horse Mulhalls Magic a confidence giving round in the BE90.  It’s not something that I regularly do, but the horse had a great temperament and it was nice to help Alanna out.


He put in a solid performance in the dressage for a score of 32, then jumped a faultless double clear to leave all involved with big smiles.  I had to ride him HC as I’m unable to competitively ride at BE90, however this result would given him a good placing otherwise.

Look out for me on this horse again, I think we are attempting a BE100 at Aldon next month.  Lets see if we can bring home a rosette there.

Mid morning, Team Bragg’s horse lorry rolled in at Pontispool, and the serious competition started.  I had three horses competing across the BE100 sections.

LVS Stonehavens Quebec was having her final run in preparation for the 5 year old championships held at Osberton next month.  This was intended to be an easy competition so to boost her confidence.

After a nice dressage test we moved on to the show jumping where I was trialling a different bit.  Although I had plenty of control, she seemed to be sitting herself behind the contact which was effecting her judgement of the fences.  She jumped almost too casually which resulted in her having two fences down.  This was a preparation show, so it was a good opportunity to try new things, but it is always a reminder that you shouldn’t change tack without thought, and don’t do it if the result really matters.  Taking the positives from this, we shall be wearing her usual jump bridle at the championships!!

She went cross country fantastically.  She is so enthusiastic is loving everything about it.  We did have a slight ‘hold your breath’ moment, where she took off a stride early when jumping out of the water up a double of steps.  She showed her athleticism, popping up the second step with ease, even after jumping herself into a bit of difficulty.  I think the lesson learnt was, it’s good to be bold, but you also need to assess the question carefully!

Bloomfield Tiger Two, our other 5 year old performed a foot perfect dressage test to lead the section on an incredible score of 14.

This always puts a little more pressure on, but it is such a nice position to be in.  He delivered a brilliant clear round show jumping, which was rewarded with a huge cheer from ‘The Ladies Club’ who were conveniently parked in the hospitality tent next to the show jumping.  Their day was getting better and better, and they were enjoying it in style.

Tiger has suffered with the odd loss of concentration cross country, especially when I’ve been trying to go steady and school him around.  Today the ground was perfect and being in the lead gave me the incentive to ride him more competitively.

We set off from the start with intent, and Tiger seemed to be relishing in the challenge.  The more I asked, the more he delivered.  He seemed to be growing in confidence with this more attacking style.

He gave me a fabulous ride for a quick clear inside the time to secure the WIN!

The Night Traveller also posted a leading dressage score for his section, despite the fact I was a little late in remembering my halt in the middle of the test.  Oops, pilot error!

Again, he produced a quality clear in the show jumping to put us in pole position going in to the cross country.

The Night Traveller is pretty experienced at this level and flew around the cross country enjoying every second.  It’s so nice to have a group of horses that you feel are taking you on a trip around the course rather than you having to work hard to encourage them.

This ended the day on a high with the another WIN!!

What a great day at the office!


The final day started with grey skies.  Duke of Axbridge kicked of the day with a good dressage test, but didn’t perform so well in the show jumping and had a couple down.  We weren’t sure if he was a little tired from his run at Gatcombe the previous week.

He started the cross country well, and all seemed to be going ok until the drop in to the water.  We jumped the approach fence well and met the jump in to the water on a balanced four strides.  He took off in front and decided, once he’d seen the drop the other side in to the water that he may have second thoughts. Mmmmm, not great! This left us straddled across the roll top looking down in to the water.  At this point I thought it was best I bailed out before gravity took over and sent us for a dunking.  I slipped off the side, and without me on him, Duke scrambled back on to dry land.  Although the fence judge asked, “Would you like to continue Mr Bragg”, I politely declined, and strolled back to the lorry park! Best save yourself for another day.

Spypark Ferro XS produced a very encouraging dressage test.  He did have a couple of mistakes, but the quality of work was fantastic.  I’m sure we have only touched on his potential.  As a big horse he is taking time to mature, but he is showing glimpses of pure class!

He started his show jump round very composed.  All was going well until the treble combination.  The first distance was a little long, and as I encouraged him to try a bit harder, he panicked and rushed his jump, causing him to tap the back rail.  This rattled him a little for the next couple of efforts resulting in him making a similar mistake.  He finished the round well, but had 8 faults.  This was only a green mistake, and I’m sure with a bit more experience these things will disappear.

He was exceptionally keen across country, and although we planned to have a steady schooling round, he had other ideas.  It was great to have him taking me to the fences, and in a good way, it was nice that I had to convince him to go steadier.  He jumped around for a good clear

We did our dressage on Storm Blue, which went well, but with the weather not being great, and our day not going particularly well, we decided to save ourselves for the next event and call it a day.

Pontispool  laid on a super event and created an amazing atmosphere across the two days.  The courses were fantastically built, the ground was near on perfect, and the hospitality for riders and owners was very well received.

We would like to say a Huge thank you to the whole team at Pontispool.  Great Job!!