Monday, July 19, 2021

Thornridge CT -- he does it again!

I gotta say, I am LOVING Thornridge's combined test series this year. These events are basically exactly my speed right now. 

Really, what's not to love? It's a 2-phase show (dressage and show jumping) complete with ride times. They're inexpensive, typically very small (tho packed with familiar faces) and mostly cater to the lower jumping levels. Meaning, Charlie and I are often in the first division of the day -- so we're usually done and dusted before 10am. 

who doesn't love taking pics in sweltering weather with a horse who is actually literally asleep lol
Ooooh, and. It's a top class gorgeous facility less than 30min drive from Charlie's barn. The dressage court and indoor warm up arenas have the best good juju -- horses love them. And the little grass jumping arena is literally the actual cutest. It's bounded on 3 sides by shrubbery and woods, giving it a nicely enclosed feel. And the terrain is perfectly "barely-there" -- enough to make you pay attention, but not disruptive.

So. Yea. Loving it haha. And, ya know, it helps that Charlie keeps winning his classes there. Blue ribbons are always a nice bonus, let's be real lol. 

Mostly tho, I'm just really enjoying... not overly stressing about it all. Does that make sense? After trying (and kinda sorta failing) to move up for so long, endlessly obsessing and torturing myself over it... Well, eh, this year my attitude is a little different. 

they always have the prettiest ribbons!!
Like... Let's be real, ain't nobody from the Tokyo 2021 selection committee looking my way. My competition record, my successes and accomplishments will never be beyond "average" haha, but they are mine. So it's up to me to devote my efforts to the activities that will be most fulfilling. 

Right now, that fulfillment is coming in the form of easy novice show jumping rounds at local unrecognized shows. Which, as far as Charlie's concerned, might as well be the actual Olympics haha. Homeboy is a professional through and through, he is ALL business on show days. 

Which is so useful bc.... this particular day didn't get off to a great start. We were going solo for once, which meant I mayyyy have made slightly irresponsible choices the night before -- given that nobody else was relying on me. So. Ahem. I woke up hungover and disoriented at the time I was actually supposed to be walking out the front door. Whoops?

i spy with my little eye, sleeping ponies!!
Nbd tho, I knew we'd be fine. So long as the truck started. And Charlie wasn't alllll the way out in the furthest reaches of his pasture. Which, it did and he was not. So. Perfect. Got the horse in and fed while I hooked up the rig and packed (bc obvi was too lazy to do this the day before like normal..), then threw him on without even brushing. 

We arrived uneventfully, parked in a perfect shady spot right next to two friends, and I quickly got about swiping off the mud (yes, mud, omg wtf you filthy animal) readying ourselves for dressage.

the actual literal condition of my horse upon arriving on the show grounds lol #bathsareforsuckers
All told, my butt hit the saddle about 7 minutes before our ride time. Luckily, our perennial division mate (one of the friends parked near us, who was therefore aware of my tardiness) offered to ride ahead of me, giving me an extra 5min in warm up. 

Super generous -- obvi took her up on that offer haha. Tho ya know, it probably would have been fine either way. Charlie is Charlie. He knows the drill. He knows when we're at a show, and he has done that Novice A test literally zillions of times haha. 

pictured: a professional show pony, at your service
So we were ready to go ringside once our turn arrived. And ya know. It was a test, and scored slightly worse than our typical average for Nov A, mostly bc the judge wanted Charlie to be rounder. Which, eh, cool, but nah. I kinda gave up trying to ride the horse on the bit after determining that I kinda suck at it, by riding the horse backwards behind my leg and kinda rein lame in tests lol. 

Charlie felt like he had good energy (for him) tho, and was very responsive. We actually stepped into canter too early in the first circle bc homeboy knew what was coming lol. Kinda wish there was video, but will probably buy some pics when the photog gets them uploaded -- stay tuned!!

no pics from dressage (yet!!) but here's the test sheet itself
Anyway, after dressage I unbridled Charlie but left the saddle on, since we only had an hour to jump and I still had to walk the course. Normally we arrive early and walk before dressage but... Shit happens lol. Gotta say, tho, getting down the hill for the walk, and then back up again (omg it's a big hill, guys) just about killed me in the heat. And probably wasn't even necessary since there wasn't a single related distance on course.... But. Eh. I like knowing what to expect. 

So I huffed and puffed through it, then huffed and puffed some more (dear fucking lord) trying to dig out the disintegrated rotten cotton stud plugs in Charlie's shoes.... Yet another task I probably should have done the day before. By the time studs were in, it was definitely Go Time, haha. 

lol and here's charlie absolutely struttin on his way out of the ring after our round haha, still kinda sorta running away with me LOL...
So my division mate and I hopped on at the trailers and headed down to warm up, and then do our rounds! The third person in our class was already down there and had the warm up fences adjusted to height -- helpful when one doesn't have their own ground person lol. 

I think Charlie and I did 5 jumps total in warm up. Trotted and cantered the X, then cantered the vertical -- which we knocked down the first time whoops. Got that fixed, then cantered it again off each lead. 

Meanwhile, Charlie informed me in no uncertain terms that, "Excuse me, Emma, it's balls hot and there are a shit ton of biting flies in this field -- I know how to jump, so let's get on with it, yes??"

pictured: a horse who knows how to jump lol
also, yes, they use very generous ground lines. this ain't the olympics, guys, and that's a-ok!
And obviously, who am I to disagree?? So we cantered off to the ring and headed in to get our round done. Charlie flew around haha -- that excellent feeling of really pulling me to the fences, but still letting me have some say over speed and balance. 

Our technique has gotten kinda messy in the past year of spotty lesson schedules... But, eh, whatever. We got it done, and it was fun! The course was full of slightly tricky tight turns with short approaches to jumps, which actually nicely suits Charlie bc it helps keep him more on his toes vs dragging me straight across the space time continuum lol. 
Tho... You'll see in the video that we did get just a tad strung out coming back toward the in-gate over jumps 5 to 8. It worked out tho with just a couple taps but no rails. And, lol, also visible in the video is us clobbering jump 1, with the rail popping fully up out of the cups -- and my actual astonishment looking back at it when it didn't actually fall lol...

So yea haha. It was a clean and clear round, but could have just as easily been a 3-rail round with the PVC poles. Luck is a fickle thing, tho, so I'll take what I get and be grateful LOL. 

you can sorta tell that this fence had a slightly extreme angle to it relative to the direction of approach. charlie loves slicing fences tho!
All told, in our little division we lost the dressage but put down the only clear jumping round. Again, when the poles are PVC, this is often enough to snag the top spot. Woot woot, way to go Chuck for pickin' up them giant clodhoppers!! 

And, amazingly, we stepped off the trailer back at Charlie's barn before 11:30am -- a tantalizingly early end to a show day lol. Again, what's not to love? A great venue, inexpensive classes, *ride times omg*, plus friendly people and very inviting and doable courses. Literally what else do we need from this kind of event?? I'm already looking forward to the next one haha...




20 comments:

  1. What an awesome show, and a great result! I wish we had something like that here.

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    1. thanks! and honestly, i think overall it's a pretty tight operation. obvi it takes real work to pull off a series like this... but they keep things really simple and streamlined, in a way that makes it seem like any barn with the interest could host events like this

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  2. Yay Charles! I love that you guys having something fun like this so you're still going out and doing the thing!

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    1. yay charles, indeed haha -- he was quite pleased with himself lol. and yes omg i'm so grateful to have these fun little local shows right now, not gonna lie!

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  3. Got to love being done early in the summer! Glad to see you out having fun!

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    1. thank you!!! felt great getting out again, esp after so many fun plans ended up cancelled or not working out over the last month. clearly charlie was READY!!

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    2. Yes he looks like he's having a blast!

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  4. Congrats! Sounds like a really fun day, and I am 100% on board with doing things you enjoy and not doing the ones that make you want to poo your pants.

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    1. Dude for real haha! Right now all I need from this is to just simply have fun. Thankfully this little CT series has been the perfect vessel for that lately!

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  5. Sounds like a great show, I love being all done by lunch!

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    1. Omg it feels like getting away with some sort of crime haha being done so early! Definitely all about that convenience factor right now LOL

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  6. Congrats! Sounds like you have a great day. (And omg, I feel you on the "up and down a hill in the heat" - there's a reasonably steep one between the pasture and the barn where I board, and I swear, this time of year it feels like you're gonna diiiie.)

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    1. dude these hills will 100% be the end of me.... usually we try to get there early and walk the course *before* dressage so that i have time to recover lol, rather than ride-hustle-then-ride-again...

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  7. Way to go to you and Charlie getting a cute blue ribbon with a hangover!!! Lol That is dedication. :-)

    Glad you were able to get out and do something fun!

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    1. ugh i'm generally pretty disciplined about making good choices ahead of an event lol, but eh it was a long week for stressful work reasons, and ya know, it all worked out anyway HAHA!

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  8. You are just a wonderful rider! Charlie is living his very best life with you. You go, girl!

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    1. d'aww thanks haha -- i like to think charlie enjoys his life ;)

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  9. That sounds like a lot of fun! And done by noon? Perfect! You two looked so good out there in the jump field <3

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  10. haha great job keeping the airlight poles in the cup Charles! And ugh.. yeah let's not discuss how many times I wake up hung over for horse shows... *shifty eyes*

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