Monday, May 3, 2021

Thornridge CT: Ready When it Counts

Who's ready for the first 'Fraidy Cat Show Recap of 2021?!? Because... Obviously we're not counting the scrubbed derby outing in March lol... 

So, this little schooling CT officially constitutes Charlie's and my first proper judged outing since... Hm... last summer? It's been a while. And, as anyone who read that March recap knows, I've kinda been stuck in a little bit of an anxiety trap about it all. 

my handsome show pony <3
A nice little feedback loop where I'm anxious because it's been so long, so then I don't feel good about getting out again, and more time passes and we're still not getting out, and on and on and on forever with the anxiety. 

"look ma, here's a trot!"
But. Dammit. I know how to fix this problem. And step 1 is: jesus christ, Emma, go forth and literally do the thing. Then do it again. And it will be ok. And it will get better. And you might actually even like it

Which. Ahem, it turns out -- I really really do like it haha. Especially that feeling when it's all over, that happy little wash of endorphins that can only come from going out and trying your best with your favorite pony, and maybe even doing not half bad. 

honestly feeling fine about this picture <3
So. Let's get to the details, yes? The CT was at an absolutely lovely small local dressage barn that we've been going to for years. Every single horse I've ever ridden in the indoor just LOVES it - the footing, the windows, the rarified air. For some reason, it's just an absolute paradise that brings out the best side of every horse. 

lookie we can do it the other direction too!!
I was rider #1 of the day, so it was kinda an early morning with getting to the barn, shipping out, arriving on site, walking our jump course first, then getting into warm up. And I ended up with a little less than 15min... Which, isn't ideal. But Charlie, bless him, honestly felt pretty good and ready for action. 

good boy, charlie <3 and lol @ the tracks he left from his shuffle steps
Obviously we didn't break any new ground in this very basic walk-trot-canter dressage test. Charlie kinda hovered somewhere just above the bit for most of it, and we never really had any "Wow!" moments or anything. Obviously haha. 

the test for all y'all non video watchers
But all the things happened where they were supposed to (uh, except the final halt where I sighted onto the big ring flower boxes instead of the small ring cones for my landmarks, whoops). I mostly just focused on trying to sit a little prettier in the saddle -- esp as it relates to my hand and arm position, and otherwise didn't really fuss with the horse. 


Which worked out for us! The scoring is all pretty generous, obviously, bc schooling show. But virtually all of my runs through this test have been at schooling shows, and we were bang on our average score of 33.8% haha. Consistency, yo. We gots it. 

onto the fun part -- jompies!!! you can't tell me this isn't the cutest little grass ring
Really, the important part of the day is the jumping. Mostly bc.... While Thornridge has absolutely beautiful fun colorful jumps... They're made of PVC. In other words, they're very light weight, very easy to tap out of the cups, and horses often have very little respect for them. Charlie, a notoriously casual horse, is no exception. 

sorry the early morning light was bad for pictures. but d'aww look at this pony trying!!
I was actually pretty proud of myself for staying on top of the details for this show in a way that wasn't completely like... obsessive compulsive. Like, I did all the things I needed to do (lengthen stirrups before dressage; shorten stirrups before jumping; remember neck strap for jumping; get studs in early; etc) but managed to avoid feeling hectic about any of it. 

the twisty turny course suited him very nicely, actually
Possibly this was aided by having a pretty pleasant trailer parking situation. Charlie had his best bud and partner in crime Punky (who did his first N CT at this event and was phenomenal!) as a trailer mate, plus we were parked next to a long time horsey friend who was also riding in our division with her adorable buckskin.  

he honestly could have smashed through this fence if he wanted, but picked up and jumped it great instead!
While dressage times are more spread out just by nature of how long it takes to complete a test, we all figured we'd be best off getting down to jump warm up together as a group. Which obviously the horses all appreciated. 

sad the pictures aren't great quality -- but it's much easier to see in the video i swear!
There was only an hour between dressage and jumping too -- so I hadn't even unsaddled Charlie in between (it was also fairly chilly out, so he probably appreciated keeping the saddle on his warm back LOL). That also meant we were basically already warmed up physically -- just needed get ourselves acquainted with the shift from arena footing to grassy terrain. And jump a few jumps. Then -- go time!

lol the infamous Friesian jump. pro tip: if you ever go to a CT at Thornridge, definitely let your horse look at these standards before your round. a SHOCKING number of horses are weirded out by them haha, which is probably why they made this such a small jump LOL
I honestly really didn't know what to expect. And was characteristically pretty freakin anxious. Lessons were cancelled unexpectedly last week, and my attempt at a solo jump school the same day Charlie got his feet trimmed proved to be.... not at all confidence building - with Charlie feeling more protective of his feet than of the fences.... So I didn't know what I'd get on show day. 

But -- Guys. Charlie is a good horse. He's basically a professional novice packer by now, let's be real. It was clear from our very first warm up fences that all systems were GO in Charlieland <3

finishing strong over the pretty pink oxer, good boy!!
He got to the show, knew what we were doing, and made it his business to get it done. Charlie jumped one of the best courses of his life around this little ring. Not necessarily bc it was our most perfect or whatever. But bc... wow he really really tried. Every jump, he picked all four of his toes up. Didn't touch a thing

Even at jump 3 -- complete with the ferns hanging on the standards and frothing in the breeze -- when I lost his shoulder through the turn in approach. Charlie could have selected any myriad options for what to do in that moment, and he chose to jump the fuck out of it. Good boy
It honestly might not look like much in the video, but I was beyond thrilled with him. I think the course suited him too. Suuuper twisty. Like, a generously bending line to start, then a standard 5 stride diagonal (which Charlie nailed the 5 even after our questionable in jump), and then... Wow the course basically turned into a giant sweeping figure 8 with jumps at every point. 

omg!! it's amazing what clean jumping can do for your final placing haha!
While the only proper related distance was the diagonal, it honestly felt like EVERY jump from 5 to 9 was basically more or less related. Charlie tried to get clever with his auto-changes, but it was honestly hard for him to keep up haha -- lots of changes of direction! Tho ya know, it was fine since he's a #countercantersavant. 

so ridiculously proud of this goofy horse <3
For real, tho, I couldn't believe we jumped clear!! Like, obvi was kinda amazed (and seriously relieved) that he jumped so well after our crappy schooling earlier in the week. But I *never* expected to jump clear -- for no reason other than the jumps are PVC. But, out of nowhere, Charlie made it happen. 

"did i win?!?" - charlie, probably
And ya know. Clear rounds are rare enough with PVC that it was enough for us to snag the win, omg! To say I was walking on air would be an understatement lol. 

Bc this is the feeling we live for, right? Like, obviously not really the part about winning a small class at a schooling show... But -- showing up, doing our best even when we're nervous, and walking away feeling like it was a great day. That's what I'm here for haha. Here's hoping I don't let the anxiety monster take over so much that I forget about this feeling again. 




36 comments:

  1. Woohoo! Go Charlie!!!! I wouldn't be mad about that dressage test either!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks!! at this point, we're just happy when he's going freely forward haha!

      Delete
  2. Getting out of the groove really does something to my anxiety too. Even things as small as not having seen my [insert show equipment thing here] for [insert long period of time here] subtly increase my anxiety, because it's not all so automatic. Great job getting out there and WINNING!! Proud of you two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dude yes - that's exactly it. i get mired down in random little details and tasks and low grade stressors. while that definitely DID happen in the lead up to this show, i didn't let it overwhelm me. so ya know. small wins haha!

      Delete
  3. Yassss! Satin. And the little blue checked background on that ribbon is so cute!

    Ahem - but of course more importantly is that you guys got out, ran through a course and had a great day! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you -- aren't those ribbons adorable?? this place always has the best satin haha <3

      Delete
  4. Great job Emma! And Charlie! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks, so proud of charlie being such a practiced professional these days haha

      Delete
  5. Congrats on getting out and having a good time to boot! That dressage test was lovely to watch. Nice and steady and fluid. Good to see you out there doing the thing again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! 'steady and fluid' has basically been exactly my focus for the last few months -- basically to the exclusion of literally everything else. and i think charlie really appreciates me not fussing with him so much haha

      Delete
  6. Way to go! Loved your dressage test and jumping round. What an awesome attitude - it's not about the ribbon, it's about that feeling (though the ribbon is super nice and well deserved, too!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dude yes, the feeling is so important. i've had great competition results from rounds that... really didn't feel good with lots of out of sync moments and just sheer luck to not have rails. and we've also had results that looked pretty crappy on paper, but where charlie strutted off like a champion after what felt like wonderful rounds. so. ya know -- it's not always just what's on the paper haha

      Delete
  7. Congrats on good rides! Love the gingham on that ribbon, that is SO cute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this place has the cutest ribbons -- not gonna lie, that's a big part of why we love it so much LOL

      Delete
  8. In both videos y'all look so fluid and in sync with one another. Well done and congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! charlie is so much happier in his movement when i'm not nagging and micromanaging him lol

      Delete
  9. Congrats!!! Glad it was such a great day. Well deserved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks - i'm so glad (relieved??) it turned out to be such a great day haha

      Delete
  10. Yay!!!! Congratulations!!! I totally think it's a big deal to win a class, no matter the rating.
    I'm for sure stuck in that anxiety circle about showing. Fortunately, none of my beasts are quite ready to take the plunge, so I can back burner it for a little longer... Lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the anxiety loop is the fucking worst tho, omg. but hey, at least you got those fun rounds on Shiny?? for real, tho, i was seriously tickled to win the class -- small tho it may be. it's really validating to know that even tho we're not super fancy or whatever, it's still possible to make it happen haha

      Delete
  11. Good boy Charlie! Good girl Emma! It sounds like you were able to think through your nerves (which is hard) and had fun!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Woohoo way to go you two!! Sounds like it was an absolute perfect outing, and the weather looked perfect for it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Way to go! Way to just do the thing! AND IT WAS FUN! And you looked awesome (confession, I only watched the jumping video) and Charlie is clearly like: "Jumping! We're jumping! Which jump? This jump? THIS JUMP! Next jump! We're jumping!"

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a wonderful outing!!! Good Guy Charlie strikes again! Congrats on the satin

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey, an 8.0 for your first halt is DEFINITELY a wow moment!!! Congrats on a wonderful day with your wonderful horse <3 and a little satin to cap it all off is always a great bonus :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That should be centerline, not halt, lol

      Delete
  16. Congrats girl! Way to take that enormously scary first step at knocking the rust off :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congratulations! It’s a great confidence boost I’m sure.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment! If you have trouble with this form, please email: fraidycat.eventing at gmail.