Saf the Dragon's BD debut!

SaffronWelshDragon

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Quick background - Saf and I both have a slight travel phobia (we bounce off each other!) but I really enjoy competing. We've done a few unaff intros and prelims since 2012 but I wanted to get into a routine and compete regularly. Bluegate being within hacking distance, fitted the bill, with the slight issue of only holding affiliated events!

I got a bit obsessed with my weather app in the week leading up to Saturday. No matter how many times I checked it still said heavy rain for Saturday. With an hour's hack to Bluegate ahead
my sis and I hauled Saf out of the field, she had her no-fill sheet on, but after standing at the yard for a few minutes, started shivering noticeably. We were a bit worried about her getting cold as we think that's what triggered the colic in 2012 at a hunter trial. She seemed to improve by the time we were ready to tack up, my new waterproof exercise sheet was a god-send, real piece of mind. Anyway we set off with sis, Claire on the bike and me keeping my fingers crossed Saf wouldn't give me too much trouble as she's not known for her love of solo hacking (hence the bike for moral support). She was an absolute star, and we arrived at the venue in good time.

A quick costume change for Saf and me and we headed for the indoor warmup, pleased to be out of the rain. I was unsure of what to expect, it was July last year when she last went out, she lives at a lovely, peaceful yard so when she goes to new places with lots of activity she goes very tense and 'looky'. At this point JFTD arrived sporting a similar wet weather gear look to the one Claire and I had been rocking minutes earlier. There was little time for pleasantries as before I knew it we were back outside for the test.

It felt like it all happened in about 3 minutes but she was great, did everything she needed to do, didn't break canter (woohoo!) but was just inattentive which is understandable. Just messed up the halt at the end when I tried to square her up which she took offence to! Our marks came back with a 55.2% which was around what I thought. Our last unaff prelim was 59.5% so allowing for a 4-5% drop with affiliated I was quite pleased. We had mainly 5s and 6s, with a couple of 4s for the canter, no surprise there! Comments were pretty much what I expected, need to work on inside bend, attentiveness and relaxation.

Can't wait to get back there again, will aim to go once a month purely for the experience as I hope Saf will chill out a bit the more she goes and that in turn will help the marks.

Massive thanks to JFTD for the moral support and taking these fab photos! Fergs was a gorgeous and impeccably behaved as always :)

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I look rather tense here! My upper back / shoulders were killing me afterwards!

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At least I could see the funny side of our halt fail!
 

khalswitz

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I was watching out for this report after you mentioning it before!! Well done!!!

I can TOTALLY appreciate how much more difficult life is when hacking to venues - very good work getting your sister to along to help out :). You both look very smart, love the big grin at the end.

Can't wait to see the next BD report ;)
 

SaffronWelshDragon

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Thank you muddy_grey, soulfull and nikicb! I got exactly what I wanted which was to have a fun, relaxed day. Now we can get down to business now that first one is out of the way!

Definitely not! I've done that privately with enough genuinely knowledable people to be more than satisfied with the answer :)

I've been a bit busy arena xc-ing him today to put anything on here :p :D

Hehe nuff said! I saw the pix, bit jealous, looks like you had fun! (Fancy having a go at the Jumpcross at Codham Park some time?)

I was watching out for this report after you mentioning it before!! Well done!!!

I can TOTALLY appreciate how much more difficult life is when hacking to venues - very good work getting your sister to along to help out :). You both look very smart, love the big grin at the end.

Can't wait to see the next BD report ;)

Thanks khalswitz! It is difficult, but also far less stressful than travelling (though we will crack it!) Sis is great, I'm sure the roles will be reversed when she gets her new one, then it'll be me on the bike! I had a moment when I came round the corner after getting changed, sis was holding Saf, and I was just, wow is my Saf?! Will get a photo tonight as she's reverted back to swamp pony! :)
 
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