Grrrr...Moon is such a knothead...
Mom has been helping Megan with her barrel pattern and she is doing really good. Well, pretty good...but that's another story.
I've been riding Moon and working on the slow pattern too. Ya just can't do to much slow work. But even during slow work, I was noticing that Moon really wants to cant his head to the outside, brace his shoulder and not really set his hindend at his rate spot. I've been messing with different bits on him...all very mild-1/2 gag action type bits, with different mouthpieces. The last couple of nights I have been riding him with a simple rope-nosed hackamore called the 'little S'. It's not really leverage I'm looking for, but rather something that Moon seems comfortable carrying.
When I'm not practicing or running barrels, I ride him with a simple broken-mouth, copper wrapped curb. The same bit I ride nearly everything in. He gets along with that fine. But it's not the right type of bit for running barrels. The curb action does not work correctly for lifting and bending Moon around the barrel.
And boy, does this horse need help lifting that shoulder and bending around the barrel. See that is really his problem, not the bit. He is back to his old trick of canting his head out, dropping that shoulder and diving into the barrel. Aaaahhhhhggggggg! And he is pretty darn determined about it.
So anyway, mom watched him work for a couple of evenings. And finally suggested that I put a tie-down on him and use a full gag bit. I had a tiedown in the trailer and put it on, played with the adjustment and that really seemed to help.
Duhhhh-I feel kinda dumb. A tie-down is exactly what Moon needed to help himself balance around the barrels. He is struggling to find his balance going into the barrel and that results in him basically throwing himself around the barrel anyway he can. In his case-front end first. He's a little over eager!
The problem is not 100% resolved. I have to gather up that gag bit and add that to the mix. Then it is just going to be a lot of steady repetition, trotting and loping up to the rate spot and making him bend around the barrel. Time, lots and lots of time!
The problem is really compounded by the fact that Moon is a hard-headed bugger. The term a lot of people might use is P.I.G-headed. One he gets something into his head, it's a fight to change his mind. He's pretty smart, but he is also a cheat. He'll do whatever you ask, but he is always trying to figure out how he can cheat. Smart and lazy-a bad combination if you want a horse that you don't have to constantly work on to keep them correct. I swear, sometimes his only saving grace is the fact that he is so darn fast. But if you ask my mom, his only problem is ME!;)
Hmmm-she might be onto something there too! Darn I hate that she is usually right on this stuff. Not really! It's pretty awesome to have her helping again. She can see things from the ground that you just don't realize when you are riding. Like the fact that I am the one who is letting him dive into the barrel. She said that I ride up to the rate spot and just stop riding. It's like I am just throwing him out there to find his way around the barrel however he can. I sure didn't realize I was doing that. So I have to work on keeping him gathered up and bent and actually riding him around the barrel more. You can bet I didn't like hearing that-LOL. It didn't feel like that was what I was doing. Maybe that is why Moon and I get along so well-we are both pretty pig-headed.
Sooo-I'm going to have to cowgirl up and stop thinking my horse can find his way around the barrel correctly and sit up there and ride him around it. I bet fixing MY problem is going to improve his problem dramatically.