When you visit an Event Rider and the conversation, while he makes you a cup of tea, is about the fact that he believes making a horse get up in the morning before it’s ready, doesn’t put it in the best frame of mind for the rest of the day... You know that it’s going to be an interesting interview!
That was just a small insight into the amazingly strategic equestrian mind of Somerset based International event rider, Alex Bragg. Of course, a few cunning tricks are employed to make the horse want to get up, evidently introducing an interesting neighbour into the horse box next door works like a charm if you want an inside tip!
But this innate understanding of the individual characters on the yard is front and centre of the conversation that we had with Alex during our visit to the Team Bragg Eventing yard.
Read on to find out more about Alex and what makes him tick.
Alex tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do, where are you from, where we can find you online and what makes you tick?
"Having grown up with horses, it was probably inevitable that I would have a career within the equestrian world.
I loved pony club mounted games and went on to concentrate on show jumping, and I did well, which spurred me on.
I took a break from riding at the age of sixteen but continued working with horses as I trained as a farrier, qualifying with distinction and then set up my own horse shoeing business.
I met my wife Simmone through my farrier business and I have to credit her with giving me my first insight into eventing and then I began to ride and compete horses again.
I still shoe all my own horses but I've had to reduce my farrier commitments to pursue more success as an event rider."
Alex has huge ambitions, with several top 5 placings at 5*, and many podium finishes at 4*, he is one of the most competitive riders on the circuit.
He has successfully competed on Nations cup duty on several occasions with many different horses. Alex was the best Brit at Aachen, Germany where he also won the Ride and Drive spectacular in front of a full house of 50,000 people. Alex was in the team in Boekelo (Holland), that secured the 2018 Nations Cup series win for team GBR.
You can find out more on Team Bragg's website here
and keep up with their instagram adventures here
With Badminton Horse Trials coming up very shortly, can you tell us a bit about your preparations please?
"I've literally just competed at the Musketeer Events Burnham Market International Horse Trials this last week, and I was really pleased that Quindiva, my Badminton ride had a really good run and now I'm full of excitement for the new season.
At Team Bragg, we're big believers that you can't rush the process, a nice horse for Badminton should be produced over a number of years, rather than putting them under pressure, then they can relax into being in the arena. Trust between rider and horse is absolutely key and that takes time and consistency to develop.
We found it interesting that you said that at the beginning of the Season, the break makes the jumps seem bigger than they were at the end of last Season!
A lot of our Equestrian followers will probably take heart from knowing that everyone feels like that at times, and that as you get back into the swing of things and ride them, your perspective changes for the better.
Also, that the repetition of having a training plan and sticking to it helps build discipline for horse and rider, along with the reassurance and confidence that comes from the horse knowing what they need to do.
In fact, that advice could actually be translated to many things that we want to achieve in life as well, not just Eventing!
And finally - what advice can you offer to our followers?
Be curious, create ambition, then nurture it - believing you can do something is a big part of of achieving it (and that applies to you and your horse. they need to believe too).
Thank you so much Alex for chatting to us, it was truly fascinating. We absolutely loved seeing behind the scenes at the Team Bragg yard and the amazing bond that you have with your horses - we look forward to seeing you at Badminton!
You can find Alex on Instagram at @teambraggeventing