What a beautiful day to enjoy the new location of Portman Horse Trials.
With glorious sunshine, super ground conditions and an inviting new cross country course, it would have been hard not to have an enjoyable day!
Team Bragg had four horses competing, three in the Novice sections and one in the Intermediate Novice.
Midnight Ash showed pleasing improvement in the dressage before jumping a classy show jumping round, just having an unlucky back rail of an oxer in the middle of the treble.
I cruised around the cross country giving Ash a smooth jumping round. He is showing great confidence and talent in this phase, especially considering this is only his second season eventing since finishing his racing career. A couple more novice runs and I think a step up to Intermediate is on the cards.
Kelsons Limited Edition also contested in the Novice class. At only 6 years old he still makes a few green mistakes but has great composure in all three phases for his age. He posted a competitive dressage score, and a little like Ash, he jumped a super show jump round with only one lapse of concentration resulting in one rail down. It is taking time for him to learn to contain his huge stride and scopey jump but he is showing masses of potential to jump the bigger courses in the future.
Kelsons Ltd Edition was very keen on the cross country, this is his second competition of the season and I think he must of very much enjoyed his first run as he was eager to get stuck into the course that Portman had to offer. There were a few distances in the related lines that were on the shorter side which was a good question for a young eager horse encouraging him to remain concentrated. He ate up the ground on the great going to cruise around inside the time. Apart from a slight awkward moment where I’m not sure whether he noticed there was an open ditch to be jumped between two hanging logs and nearly popped a back leg in it as he cantered over the ground line in front of it, he gave me a great ride.
The Night Traveller had another solid performance in his Novice section. He was a little excited with this being his second competition, and maybe could have been a bit more relaxed in his dressage, but he performed accurately and posted another sub 30, a very competitive score. He gave me a super ride around the show jumping for another clear round.
With future events in the back of minds our plan was to start on the cross country nice and steady to build his confidence and work on the quality of his cross country rounds preparing for the bigger shows to come. He gave me an amazing ride but with this plan he incurred 2 time penalties. On a usual day this would have been insignificant but with the attendance of all the top riders in the country being at Portman this unfortunately pushed him from 2nd to 7th. Although a little disappointed, everything went to plan and I was over the moon with his performance.
Duke Of Axbridge was having his first run of the season in the Intermediate Novice section. He performed a nice dressage test showing some lovely canter work. He just an unfortunate jog in the walk section which slightly marred his score but overall, for his first test this year I was very pleased.
He show jumped well but was a bit exuberant over a couple of fences costing us 8 faults. I gave him a smooth and steady ride around the cross country where he took everything in his stride. This was a great event to set him up for the forth coming season where he competes in his next competition in an Intermediate at Bicton.
To read more about Team Bragg and catch up with all the horses and watch their videos CLICK HERE