Right, I think I’ve recovered sufficiently now! Got pretty much exactly what I wanted out of the day today. Weather was forecast to be pouring, so Claire and I thought we had nothing to lose, trial by fire!
As predicted it was raining when we got to the yard. 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 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’. That’s pretty much what happened and 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.