Friday, June 18, 2010

Same Old Song And Dance

I tell ya, the fun is gone from this competition thing.

One 1/2 way decent run and Moon is back to slamming into barrels. He hit 3rd so hard last night, all of the skin is gone from below my knee and my shin is swollen and sore. I can't ever remember having that happen before.

I'm sick of it and tired of paying entry fees only to look like a complete gunsel out there.

Sorry for the lack of videos lately. I don't know what Meg's deal is, but the ding-a-ling seems to have forgotten how to push the record button. Either she is gawking off and completely forgets to record my oh-so-crappy runs or she only manages to get half of them. Come on kid, get with the program!

As for Moon...well...He better shape up too or he is going to find himself with a one way ticket to Texas. I've got a friend down there who harassed me for some time about buying him. He roped on him when we lived in AZ and absolutely fell in love with him.

It's no fun having a barrel horse who is a deliberate cheat. I think Moon has a couple of minor issues that he needs help figuring out, but he is not making this easy, nor is he letting me help him through it.

For one thing, he is a horse who is always thinking of ways to get out of doing what you are asking of him. He's not what you would call a willing participant...of anything. Not just barrel racing. If that was the case, I would say that he didn't particularly like running barrels and just do something else with him. No, the lack of willingness has reared it's ugly head time and time again over the years, in every event I have every used him in.

He's always been smart enough to realize that I cannot really get after him during competition too. He's pretty sneaky that way. Although what he needs when he acts like that is a good spanking, these days, people frown if you get after your horse too much in public. Even if the dirty, rotten bugger needs the attitude adjustment.

Do you know how hard it is to explain to people that your horse is really, truely a belligerent bully and the only thing he really understands when he starts thinking he is smarter than his rider is a one time over and under? It's a quick reminder that I am the boss of what is going to happen, not him.

I have become friends with the gal who runs the NBHA district I have a membership to and we have discussed my little on-going battle with Moon. I finally asked her last night, if I would be sanctioned for giving Moon the spanking he needs during the time-only's at the NBHA run this weekend. She told me no, as long as it was only a couple of swats. We all know, no one wants to watch anyone beat the hell out of their horse, but thankfully I am running with a good bunch of ladies, most of who are really good horsewomen and they all know that occasionally a horse has to be reprimanded at exactly the right Moon's case in a competitive get it into a horse's head that what they are doing is wrong.

With the current trend leaning towards the 'train them forever' mentality, many people just do not realize that at some point the horse has to have some responsibility too. Barrel racing is not an event where you can go win if when you go through the gate, you are wondering...Is my horse going to rate, is he going to rate too hard, is he going to stay off the barrel, is he going to run out straight?

No, there comes a time when you have to be able to trust that your horse is going to run in there and do their part as well. I don't trust Moon to do that anymore and he is not letting me help him through the runs either. It's time to take back control of the situation and make him realize that there are consequences for making no attempt to pay attention to what I am asking or to stay off of the barrels.

It is interesting though that the one thing that is making Moon difficult, will end up being an awesome attribute, if I can get him re-focused on turning the barrels correctly. If nothing else, Moon is consistent. He is consistently making the same errors in his runs. So if I can get him dialed in that THIS is the way to do it, he should be consistent then too.

Here is the link to a pic taken at Hotchkiss...CWBRA-6-5-10 (pic #14 and if you click on it it will enlarge) that kind of shows what Moon is doing. It's not a horrible pic, but my reins are definitely too long (I switched bridles that day and did not switch my reins) and you can see how hard I am having to pick up on him to hold him up. Rather than bending around the barrel, he is arcing into it. Horses that do that just loose all of their momentum when they have to gather for the next stride. This most often causes them to either drop into the pocket or depending where you are in the turn, roll back into the barrel as they leave for the next one. Either way, you usually end up hitting, if not knocking over the barrel. That day we didn't tip any barrels and picked up a check, but it's really frustrating that we are so inconsistent. Every time I manage to beat Moon to the punch, he figures out a way to anticipate it the next time. I'm done trying to figure out a way to out-think him, every single run. It's time for him to start paying attention to me. If a spanking or two is what it is going to take, I guess that is what it will have to be.


GoLightly said...

Great post, well said.

Good luck, I can only judge from his expression.
If he has more fun figuring out how Not to do it properly, it may be time to say, whack/whack, & see if he smartens up, or let him be another kind of horse.
His interest doesn't seem to be there.

There are horses that jump beautifully, and hate every minute of it. Others that jump poorly, but will drag you to them for the joy they find in jumping.
I would assume games horses are the same? Sorry, barrel horses.
YOU know what I meant:)

Heck, AnY horse should at least like what he does...

I'm avoiding workk.
(smacks fingers)

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Me too GL. I really need to be over riding horses already...and mowing...and irrigating...but my leg hurts and I am having a bit of a pity party for myself this morning-LOL.

I also believe that a horse should like what they are doing. And Yes-game/speed event horses would be much like H/J horses. Some are really good and you can just tell they hate it, some have no potential to ever win and yet they love it.

I don't think Moon dislikes running barrels any more than he dislikes doing anything else. Usually the first place you notice that they are not happy about it is at the gate. To date, Moon is very forward moving and eager to go in the gate. No resistance there.

If anything, it's entirely possible that he is running harder than he can handle in his eagerness to prove he can do it. Does that make sense?

There is not a lot of in-between with Moon. He's a hard-headed bugger and he thinks he's got it down. So wheee-hawww, hold on, cause here he comes. LOL

But your right, either I need to get him lined out or move on. Wasting time fighting to get things right is just...well, wasting time. It's not like I have a shortage of horses available to me that wouldn't be a lot more fun to work with than this pig-eyed monster.

Stephanie said...

Sorry you are having to deal with that - I have also dealt with a gelding like that and had to move him along.... His answer to my every request was always "Make Me" or flat out "Screw Off" and he had nothing but the best upbringing. It was baffling and frustrating but his behavior was a tad more dangerous than Moon's so hopefully you can find a way to let him know he is not immune to schooling while competing.

I know how you feel, wish I had some useful advice but I really don't you have a pretty good plan going and there is nothing i would add....

Mrs Mom said...

Ya big meanie head, picking on da poor widdle pony....

Steph-- was your old gelding by chance a redhead by the name of Savior Sonny Hope? The two of them sure sound a lot alike....

Breathe said...

I'm no help, but I had a horse that would not be told what to do. He's gone now.

And my demands were much less intense, that's for sure.

Can I ask a dumb question? When you look at the photos, which horse is showing the best combo of form and attitude? I know they are all at different spots, but I'm just curious. A couple look like they were about to hit the dirt. and I love #2. Team work.

Still glad you won some $.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

I think there are some horses that just don't want to work at anything. Why is anyone's guess but they are individuals.

I feel you on the public spanking thing. I'm convinced it will only get worse. I'd be a fan of shock "collars" for horses (if there is such a thing) but unfortunately the vast majority of people whould F it up and then there'd be even more horse problems out there.

I'm normally pretty conservative when it comes to stuff like this and talk about physical issues, training issues, etc etc but I've read your blog long enough.

Somone else wants your's time to let him have a new partner and you find another. Easier said than done but you've been with him for a while and you know him. Your friend in TX could be a star with him. One person's trash is another's treasure especially when it comes to horses. We could all tell stories.

I don't mean to sound callous - I am the pot calling the kettle black. I have a gelding that lives off me and wins me nothing. We have been through a lot. I've decided he goes no where and I am stubborn.

Best of luck

fernvalley01 said...

You know your stuff and what is best.I would hate to be struggling with a horse that is going to do some of the stuff he is doing at speed .Easier to fix at a slower pace , but once in the thick of a competition...It sounds to me like if he is to be gotten to it will be by you , but maybe a rope horse is what he needs to be.Need and Appy barrel horse?LOL

Chelsi said...

I am with fernvalley- you've been a cowgirl long enough to know whether you're just beating your head against a wall or have a horse that can work through it.... however, I also know that sometimes we can get so focused on getting a job done we loose sight of the big picture. I did. I am stubborn as shit and I dont ever give up which are a good trait to have as a cowgirl but also ones that can get in the way of long term success.... make sure you are getting out as much as you put in. That was the problem with the gelding I put down. I was working my ASS off to fix him and he just wasnt trying at all. Every success we had was a result of my grit, not his try. In the end I realized that I cant make up for what was lacking on his end. Abby, on the other hand, is a bit physically limited (shes a little wide, heavy and stubby for her job) but that mare is ALLLLL TRY... she'll try her little guts out and never EVER looks for a way out. She'll only take me so far but I'll respect her along the way. What makes a GREAT horse is when talent and try are all wrapped up in the same package. And when I say try I mean a horse that is going to do his best FOR you. If you're going to spend your time and your money and if this really is a dream of yours that you want to take to the top you need a horse under you who has more than talent and speed. If you think Moon has it, great. But dont get so focused on making him work that set yourself back.

Rising Rainbow said...

Some good comments here, that's for sure. I believe if there's no hope for Moon to get what you want, you'll see it. I also agree you need to be able to get into him when he's pulling the stuff he shouldn't. I'm glad to hear you have the support of the people there to do just that. It could make a world of difference.

I'm all for hanging in there and giving a horse the time he needs but only if it makes sense for that horse.

It's like Legs with the spooking thing. If I were to love on him and tell him he was OK he would never get better. He's looking for confirmation he's right about being afraid. When I spank him because he's over reacting he gets it figured out that he's doing something wrong.

Each horse is different and you have to do what works for that particular horse even if that means a bit of thumping on them from time to time.