Sunday, June 1, 2008

That Competition Thing

This morning Megan was entered in the 4-H rodeo here in town. She was only entered in the barrels. She was going to use Moon. But things changed pretty quickly yesterday morning.
My little cowgirl got up yesterday morning and got me up too. She was anxious to get to the arena and give Moon a whirl around the barrels. And boy did he give her a whirl.
The last time Megan ran barrels on Moon was 2 years ago when we were just starting him. We would go to playdays to get some experience on the horses and because they were fun. Moon was still in his "lope around the barrels" phase. Megan likes that phase. She is awesome at that phase.
But since that time-Moon has progressed. He no longer lopes around the barrels. He is turning the barrels-even at slow speeds. He knows what his job is and he loves it.
Megan is still in a slower gear and Moon is just too much. After trying a couple of times, I could tell she was frustrated and Moon was starting to do his flippy thing with his hind quarters again. So I got on and made a little run on him to make sure he got back to business.
Now to me-Moon is just the easiest thing ever to ride around the barrels. He is pretty much on auto pilot and I can just sit and lift around the barrels. I know he is going to turn the barrel and all I have to do is ride to the pocket and leave him alone. I trust him.
Megan-not so much. She is still trying to "train" on him and he doesn't need it. It causes problems. I was very, VERY proud of my daughter when she straight up told me that Moon's speed scared her. It takes a lot of guts to say "this is too much".

So we went to plan B - this morning Megan used Rip at the rodeo. Now we have only loped Rip around the barrels a couple of times but he does know the pattern and he is showing good form. Much to my mother's dismay, Megan and Rip made a nice, slow lope around the barrel pattern.

Personally, I have no problem with this. Megan was entered and it cost nothing for her to ride to the arena and get to do this. My mother does not believe in going unless you are there to win. But she came to watch anyway and left a little more impressed that Megan and Rip made a nice pattern. She also gave the thumbs up to start bringing horses to town so Megan can get a lot more experience loping horses and see if we can get her to start building some speed into her runs.

I know Megan would like to be competitive at the rodeos-but you know what? I'm not one bit worried about it. She is very, very good at patterning horses and that is a skill that is harder to learn than getting on and running full speed. That being said-I noticed a couple of things in the pictures that we need to work on. She doesn't do this when we are practicing so it must be a competition thing. So many people(myself included-until I finally figured it out) think that competing is different than practice. It's not. If you are making good practice runs, whatever you are doing then you must do during a competition.

See how she is sort of hunched forward? and her hands are down by Rip's neck? Ideally, she should be sitting straighter. Her inside hand needs to come up to lift and balance the horse around the barrel. In the first picture you can sort of see what happens when your hand drops too much. Rip's shoulder is wanting to "leave" the turn. Sitting back, lifting the hand and using the outside leg to keep the shoulder in the turn, especially at this point in the turn on 2nd. You really have to hold the turn on 2nd for an extra stride so your horse won't blow away from the barrel too soon. In the 2nd picture you can see what happens when that shoulder drifts. Rip went into the pocket at the right spot but he drifted out on the back side, causing him to come out wide.

You can really see the difference in his body position when you compare the two sets of pictures.

Seeing things like this in pictures or on a video is so helpful and considering Rip is basically pleasure loping the pattern, Megan will learn something from it and there is no damage to the horse. All in all-a win, win situation. Especially for me-I got my barrel horse all to myself this year.

Now I just gotta find some barrel races to go to...


Mikey said...

Awesome! I agree, it takes a lot of guts to say "This horse is going to blow me right out of the saddle" lol, but good for her. Better to do it on a horse you're comfortable with. AND sometimes making a slower clean run can put you in the money if others blow it and knock a barrel. So there's nothing wrong with that!
Love the side by side comparison pics. Boy, that and video do make a big difference. You can see exactly what you need to do.
Glad you got your barrel horse to yourself :) But yeah, you better find some races to take him to. Sounds like he's ready to rock and roll!!

BarnGoddess said...

you are right! it did take guts for Megan to admit Moon's speed was too much for her. She obviously has some good horse sense about her. I bet you are proud of your girl. Your right, it isnt all about winning all the time, it's about the experience too.

Ranch Mommy said...

Wow!! Looks like so much fun. I wish that I knew all of the technical stuff that you do. I would love to eventually have my daughter running barrels, but I don't have the background, so I think we'll have to do lessons...

Callie said...

Good for Megan! You're right, it all takes practice. And it certainly takes guts to admit that a horse is too fast, especially when you're young!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Ranch Mommy - My mom ran barrels but she wasn't that great at teaching me the technical stuff(Recently she admitted that she really didn't know all this stuff when she was running-she was just lucky enough to have a couple of good horses and she let them do their thing).
Years ago she bought me a Sharon Camarillo book. That taught me a lot. My current "bible's" are Charmayne James' barrel racing book. That book really explains things well. And the other is Ed and Martha Wright's Barrel Racing: Training the Wright Way. I don't know if this book is still in print but it is fantastic.
Between those two books-I managed to get rid of some of my own bad habits and really improve my training.
If you are interested in Pole Bending-I got the Nineteen Second Pole Bending by Wayne Sandberg book for Christmas and really like it. He explains it so well and has some great practice exercises.

Now go out and get that girl started on barrels-LOL.

Mrs Mom said...

Wow is there a lot more to form than I would have thought. Love the side by sides-- really made a difference for me, to be able to really see what you were talking about. I may never run barrels, but at least now when I watch, I will have a much better under standing of what is going on!

Keep 'em coming girl- this stuff is awesome!

AND a meag-Kudos to Megan. Sounds like you are raising a very perceptive young lady there--- something to be WAY proud of there Mom! ;)

Andrea said...

It's amazing what you can learn from photos!! You can totally see the difference!! Good thing she has an awesome mom to stear her in the right direction!!