Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Great Britain: Sa’da Sekora meets the Red Dragon - Full Article

20 October 2015
by Gillian Talbot

A week before Red Dragon and Welsh Team Member Hannah Maskell has a lame horse and sadly has to withdraw from the 160km class – Jane Tennant rings me to ask if I would consider riding for Wales as I have an entry in the Red Dragon 160km CER and Sa’da Sekora is slotted into the vacant position.

The Friday before the ride is busy as a team member, but also good fun as we parade around the show ground with the Irish, Scottish & English Teams. Later that evening we welcome the visiting teams to Wales with drinks and canapés followed by wonderful singing from the local Welsh children and a hugely entertaining speech from the local Mayor of Builth Wells.

Saturday morning arrives, the mist is present and it’s cold. There is a good entry of 17 starters in the 160km class this year and we start out in the mist behind the car along the road. Sekora is quite chilled out in this her 2nd CER mass start and quite bemused by some of the antics going on around her. She settles into her wonderful ground covering trot and we are soon striding our way to the top of the first hill. We canter and trot through the mist to the first CP, take a slosh and trot off down the very familiar road...familiar to me that is.... my three companions suddenly veer off to the right, up the hill and away.... I am slightly behind them at this point so a bit bemused as I was not aware of a route change. As I get to the right turn I realise the markers are still taking me to the left so I trot on and shout at the top of my voice that they are going in the wrong direction!

The mist comes and goes which obscures the scenery but the turf rides extremely well, bit slick in places but far less mud around than in previous years. We are soon heading into the first vetgate and riding a section of route completely new to me.

Rob is waiting with a slosh and bucket, we check the pulse as I dismount, dropping nicely and settling well at 59 bpm so we pull off the saddle and head toward the vetting area....we are about to present in first place.....our ‘Team’ is hovering around us, ready to offer assistance if needed.... It is at this point I realise the vetting is to take place in a cow shed...

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