Monday, November 1, 2021

Last Thornridge CT of 2021

This little CT series at Thornridge Manor has been hands-down the best thing for me and Charlie this year. I love the events, the people are super friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed... Plus it's close to home and just.... plain fun. Really, what’s not to love? 

The series has also really helped me get a grip on some of the anxieties and confidence issues that weaseled their way back into my headspace after trying for so long to move up. Stepping back and just focusing on levels where we're comfortable and can truly have FUN has been a game changer. Goooo figure, haha. 

charles murray, reporting for duty!
I'm honestly a little sad to see the series end for the year.... But, realistically, the ground only holds up for so long into late fall. Right now, it's particularly soaked. Because, obviously -- it's rained like 6 times this year, but always on the days when I have horse shows. 

And this weekend was no exception -- our area got well and truly drenched the night before the CT. But the show must go on, right? And -- actually, despite the forecast predicting rain through the morning (during my scheduled ride times), we were pleasantly surprised by dry mild temperatures!

ok my inner 12yo really likes riding with wings haha. also kinda love this coat / breeches / boots combination too??
Charlie's barn also switched turnout hours this week, so the horses now sleep inside overnight and go out all day. Obviously this made for a much easier morning experience haha -- trying to find my tall dark handsome pony out in his giant field in the pre-dawn blackness is.... not the most fun! Especially in the rain

So we were able to feed the ponies their breakfast, brush off any stray bits of hay or sawdust, and hit the road at a fairly leisurely pace. Arriving onsite with plenty of time to walk our jump course first, then mosey over to warm up. 

loookin gooood, sir!
And.... Ya know. There really isn't much more to say about Charlie's dressage than what I've already written a million times. He got into the ring and basically just clocked right on around this test like he's done it 8,000 times. Because, ahem, we have done it 8,000 times. It's almost bittersweet, actually, that this might be our final time riding 2018 Novice Eventing Test A. Almost bittersweet lol. 

30.7% test sheet - click to embiggen
Charlie did it good justice, tho. And I like to think I did good justice to Molly's recent lessons too -- considering we absolutely have Molly to thank for that 8.0MG Rider score. I also loved the judge's final comment, she called us a "kind pair," which obvi made my sentimental self feel all sorts of proud of this big sweet gelding. 

fully annotated with directives, scores, and comments

It's obviously still not what you might call "flashy" -- but perhaps we've arrived at a place where we can show the judge a nice test that they more or less enjoy watching. That's enough for me. 

As I already mentioned yesterday, there weren't any other entries in the novice division anyway, so it was easy to stay relaxed and casual about the whole thing. Which -- let's be real, that's probably just as much of a factor in our better-than-average score as all those lessons we've been taking lately with Molly.
literally the best horse
For the jumping phases.... Honestly I mostly just wanted to have a good steady round and avoid wiping out in the somewhat appalling ground conditions. The venue did a good job of setting jumps such that we could avoid the worst sections, and there were no sketchy turns this time. Tho the distances in the lines still felt a little aggressive given how careful horses might be feeling in the mud. 

being brave in the sloppy footing
Charlie was great tho. I had the foresight to bump up the height of one of our warm up jumps while we walked our course to give Charlie his best shot at either getting UP IN THE AIR, SIR -- or, ahem, clobbering a couple jumps to wake his tootsies up. And, eh, it sorta worked. We actually knocked most of our warm up fences down, but he felt good -- so off to our course!

splish splash!!
And while we did have jump #2 down, I'm honestly not mad about it. Charlie was HELLA careful out there -- really happy to wait and balance in the turns, really happy to find nice even strides right up to the base of each fence, and wrap right around it. 

We did a planned add stride down the line from 2 to 3, measured for six strides but the seven felt prudent and rode fine. The 60' line in the gif above would have been harder to add in, so we committed to the four and got it done easily without any slippage in the turns, whew! Also tho -- look closely and you can see the mud flying with each footfall omg....

On one hand, the course and conditions kinda catered to my habit of wanting to ride on a smaller more collected canter -- getting to the base of every fence. But.... frankly, I think Charlie's grown quite comfortable with that style anyway, it feels very natural and organized for him now. 

He seemed to proceed around this course coolly and calmly, ticking off each jump like just another item on his "To Do" list lol. What a good boy haha!

yep, still #keepinghim
So. That's a wrap on the Thornridge series for this year!! Virtual cookies to anybody who actually stuck around for all five of the write-ups haha, one a month since May (except for June, when it was rained out). Our total results were: three 1st place ribbons, one 3rd, and one 4th, with an average dressage score of 33.1% and a grand total of six rails (and one circle). 

Not too shabby, all things considered!! With any luck, we'll be back next year too!! Oooh, and I heard there might be some sort of year-end prizing giving too.... we'll see, I guess!! 

In the meantime, thanks for following along ;)


  1. That rain was... something else! Nice job and I love the wings!

    1. so much rain.... tho it felt lucky that the actual weather during our rides was super nice!

  2. WE had rain all last week, except for 2 days and then yesterday. I am over the rain!
    I would be over the moon with that dressage test. I can only dream of it at this point.
    I'm so glad you did this series.

    1. thanks - i'm so glad we did the series too, it was 100% worth all the early mornings haha. and i'm super proud of charlie for being such a professional! he's definitely very appreciative of some of the lessons molly is teaching me LOL!

  3. Ugh, that rain was annoying! Glad it stopped for your rides though! And yay for that dressage score!

    1. thanks! i'm super relieved it wasn't raining for our rides too -- charlie was a good boy but idk if his quarter would have run out if conditions were much worse than they already were lol

  4. The wings are great! I've loved following along!

  5. Seems like a good time was had by all. And what a neat series to have close by - I'm jelly!

  6. His form over that red oxer ~~swoon~~


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