After several weather induced days of this...
A person starts to go a little stir crazy and you end up doing things like this...
To be completely honest-this is a semi-educated bushwacking. I read on the internet that now is the time to trim lilac bushes. Right after they are done blooming. Well, I thought these bushes would finally have some pretty blooms on them this year, but no!! They budded up and then nothing. The buds just fell off without ever really blooming. According to the the directions you are supposed to trim back about 3 inches from the blooms and remove unwanted new growth from the bottom. That still left it pretty bushy and out of control. Mom made the mistake of telling me that one year they put sheep in the yard and they ate the bushes back to nothing. The next year they bloomed like crazy...Well, I don't have any sheep-so I guess my pruning shears will have to suffice. I hope it works.
It is still cold, but at least the rain has stopped, so I asked my little cowgirl if she wanted to go ride. Duh...
We saddled up and headed to the arena.
Megan is working Moon on the barrels this week because she has a 4-H Rodeo this Sunday.
As you can see, he is wanting to cheat her a little. Notice that hip wanting to swing out on 1st?
Now that Moon has figured out this run thing, he is really wanting to take off out of 1st. At least he is coming out straight.
Megan kept him under control and after several sit down and back up sessions between the barrels, she got him thinking again. Good girl!!
3rd looks much better. She is using her legs to drive him forward so that he keeps his hindquarters engaged and is traveling true through the bend.
What I find interesting with a lot of barrel racers is that once a horse is running, they don't go back to the slow work. For us, once a horse is running, slow work is about all we do. That slow work keeps a horse honest and traveling correctly to and around the barrels. They have to think about what they are doing rather than just running around the barrel pattern. Especially a horse like Moon, who has learned to "cheat" by flipping his hindquarters out and switching his leads.
We have been working Rip on that right lead. I can get him into it with little difficulty now. Megan still can't, but Rip is a big horse and I think her legs are just a bit short to really apply the leg he needs to drive him into that lead.
But now that we have a right lead, we can progress to loping around the barrel pattern.
There is still lots of trotting involved. Trot to the barrel. Stop square. Walk around the barrel. Trot to the next barrel. Stop square. Walk around the barrel. Trot to the 3rd barrel. Stop square. Walk around that barrel. Trot home.
Then we progress to lope to the barrel. Rate down to a trot-keeping in mind that the rate down must be nice and straight. Trot around the barrel, etc.
Just for fun and to see how Rip is progessing, I loped him all the way around the pattern acouple of times.
Boy is he keeping his frame nice. I love it when horses get to this point. From here on out it is just keeping that nice frame and letting them slowly add the speed as they get comfortable.
For those who might be wondering about the distance that I am away from the barrel. That is called a pocket and when you are training a barrel horse, you must always leave the pocket, all the way around the barrel. In Rip's case, because he is such a large horse, he needs a bigger pocket. When you start increasing the speed, the pocket will naturally decrease. It is much easier to reduce the size of a horse's pocket than it is to increase it, so I always leave plenty of room for the horse to turn comfortably and correctly.
PS-Nothing going with the foaling. I am getting a little worried because I have not seen the baby move in 4-5 days. Woofer's belly has dropped but the bag is doing nothing much. Anyone who has recently foaled--should I be worried that I am not seeing the baby move anymore?? I hate to haul her to the closest horse vet-50miles away when she is this close. Woofer seems to be fine-she is actually acting pretty squirrely for a hugely pregnant 24y/o.