Saturday, May 8, 2010


Moon and I are struggling in our barrel runs. I don't have a video of this last run, but it doesn't really matter. It was rather all over the place.

Moon plowed over 2nd barrel. That's the first time that has ever happened and it really shouldn't have happened at this arena at all. It's a huge pattern, so there is plenty of time between first and second barrels to get your horse set.

At the last barrel race, Moon got a bit rattled and didn't want to stand near the gate. Unusual for him, he is usually quite placid standing around waiting for our turn. He is very alert and watches, but has never before acted like he couldn't handle the pressure of being near the gate prior to his run.

So this time, I made a concentrated effort to make sure to 'camp' on him around the gate and made him walk in and around the gate area during each rake. In no time, he returned to his normal quiet self. I will have to make sure to do that more often with him, so as to keep the 'freaky barrel horse' stygma at bay. Having a gate sour horse is no fun.

I think part of the errors in the run, was that I wasn't really feeling the need to push him in his run. He entered the arena nicely, started to pick up his right lead, flipped into his left, so I rated him down, make him pick up his right lead and let him stretch out for 1st.

He set into first really well and then I think I just quite riding. I must have, cause Moon didn't complete pushing through his turn and just about knocked 1st coming out of it.

Other than closing off his turn a bit too quick, he came out and was line up for 2nd. I just let him go. When we got to 2nd and I asked him to rate, he flipped out of his left lead and dove into the pocket. I got his shoulder picked up, but he knocked 2nd over with his nose on the backside.

When he came out he was still in the wrong lead and was running kitty-wampus toward 3rd. When we got to 3rd, I just set him down and made him trot around it and trot home. At that point, there is no sense in pushing. He was completely out of position for 3rd and we had a barrel down, which is a no time at 4D competitions.

Man, that is frustrating. We have regressed to the same issue we had last spring. Only Moon seemed a little more determined to carry it through this time. Maybe it's because I was unprepared for it.

Walking Moon out afterward, I was in a bit of a quantry. Usually when something like this happens, I prefer to stick around until after the barrel racing and work on the issue. It has never made any sense to me to wait until we go home and work in it, because it is not an issue at home. It is a competition issue, whether it's mine or Moon's, it only plagues us then.

But, I had my kiddo participating at her own playday and I knew that had to be getting close to being over as well. So, I didn't even bother unsaddling, I just loaded Moon up and hauled back to where my daughter was. I figured I could work in this little issue there.

And that's just what we did.

I am a firm believer in slow and repetitious patterning. I am. I think it fixes many problems and Moon will be seeing that as well, but there are times when it takes a full sized pattern and some repetitious practice runs to get things right.

I don't like to knock my horse, but Moon is not what I would call an easy horse. He's a whole lot lighter in the hindquarter than I prefer a horse to be and his corresponding habit is to want to flip out of his hind lead, so that he can dive around the barrel. That is the easiest way for him to turn a barrel, although it is horribly incorrect and if allowed to do so, he would not stay sound very long.

We work a lot on collection and exercises to build his hindquarter strength to counter act his natural tendency to want to travel by pulling himself along with his front-end. But to get him to run correctly, I have to ride like the dickens to keep him driving from behind. Today, I failed to do that.

Well, at least there is one winner in this family...

Megan racked up the wins in her age division at the playday. Her and her big blue roan horse won every class-barrels, poles, keyhole and flag.

Way to go Meg!!!

The most important thing she had a lot of fun.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!


fernvalley01 said...

Happy Mothers day to you !The wat this post reads you already have a plan to fix the problem , and you know your horse best , I wouldn't have a clue ,never having done speed events . Bet you work out the kinks in a hurry

Mikey said...

That is awesome that Megan did so good! She just kicks ass, that girl! I love it, you had to have been so proud :)
Keep going with Moon, he's worth the trouble and the time.
Happy Mother's Day!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Way to go Megan! Sorry to read about your troubles with Moon. Hopefully it's just a phase.

Dena said...

Sometimes they just get away from the program a bit.
Congrats to Meg!!!
And Happy Mothers Day to you!!!

kestrel said...

Hey, if a horse doesn't present the problem we can't fix it! sometimes a wrong ride is the start of a perfect ride...yeah, I know you know that! Thanks for posting 'when things go wrong' because it helps all off us to understand that it's a never ending process with performance horses, especially smart ones. You take away one behavior and they'll think of another, hahaha!

Leah Fry said...

I'm all for fun. Sorry Moon wasn't quite with the program.

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

I know nothing about contesting but my OH talks to a buddy at work all the time about it and says he makes sure his horse is calm at the gate, no reason to have them hyped up beforehand. I like your thinking about the slow repetitious patterning....I thing that's a great train of thought...stick with him and he'll do great. My Dun/Buckskin is lighter in his front and a little long in his topline (not awful, just not the normal really shorter backed horse) so he has to work to get under himself. I have a Chiropractor coming tomorrow to see where's he's sore. We've been riding alot lately and I'm hoping it's not my saddle! I'm just wondering what he's able to do right now. We'd like to get a couple of cows to see how he cuts (his sire is a cutter/roper)...maybe he could do barrels but I don't know if I'm up to it? LOL! He's a neat horse regardless. Have fun! Happy Mother's Day to you!

GoLightly said...

Ah, heck, if you were perfect all the time, you'd be bored:)

Happy Mother's Day!

cdncowgirl said...

Is it possible Moon's out somewhere?

Oh, and do you remember AGES ago I sent you an e-mail about my friend's young mare? Switching leads funny & crossfiring on the pattern? Turns out her stifles are f'd. Not to the point of retirement or having to cut the tendon but they did inject them. Just had a total brain fart and can't remember what the stuff is called! lol Not the same as joint injections as it goes into the tendons.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Cdn-If I did not know this horse(and his mother), I would immediately suspect stifle/hip pain, but in Moon's case, it's a genetic extraordinary ability to switch leads.

When Moon's mother was a youngster, I had the hardest time keeping that mare in a lead. I fought with her constantly. Wiggle a hip and she would do a flying lead change. I did not realize what an asset that was until a trainer told me how valuable a commodity it was. It took me a while, but I learned how to keep that mare in a lead and Moon is just like her, release his hip and he will flip into the other lead like it was nothing. Amazingly cool and amazingly difficult.

Alas, if Moon also decides not to change, as he was so out of position and running sideways into his right lead between 2nd and 3rd barrel, that does make it impossible to get him to switch back over. You probably know the feeling, when they are trying to hard and can't quite get their body straightened out?

I do have the number of a good chiro here now. Going to see if I can get Moon scheduled in. I have often wanted to have him worked on by someone who really knows what they are doing. I just think it is one of those things that is ever so necessary, especially for high performance horses. Usually I can tell pretty quickly if a horse really needs an adjustment, but Moon is a difficult horse to read. I'll be sure to update what the vet/chiro has to say.