As MiKael predicted...this clinic was the perfect opportunity for me to get some control over Moon's shoulders. LOL-If you ever want to find the holes in your horse or yourself...do some cow work. Things you didn't even realize will become glaringly obvious.
Things I learned about myself;
#1-I am riding too tight. Back when I used to ride a lot of colts, I know I rode a lot 'looser' than I do these days. Back then, if a colt jumped or spooked, my first instinct was to grab the saddle horn, scootch my butt into the saddle and just flow with the colt's movement. My legs stayed loose. Cause god forbid you clamp down on a colt with your legs. You could turn a little jump into a full on bronc ride by doing so. As I have gotten older and graduated to riding broke horses...well, I'm less inclined to think about things like that and somewhere along the line, I have started riding differently. I really noticed that I have started clamping down with my legs. My first cutting run on Moon was W.i.L.D!!! I picked a fast cow and Moon was all over the place. He was slinging me around like a rag doll up there and I could not get ahead of his movements. Because I could NOT let.go.with.my.legs! Ugghhhh!!! When I finally got him off of the cow, Carl told me I needed to get my horse gathered up and get control of the situation. This is cutting, he said, YOU control the cow. A definite wake-up call.
#2-I need to stop being so damn lazy when I'm riding Moon. I KNOW Moon is the kind of horse that likes to take control. He seldom stays very correct once he knows he's in control. Oh, he's going to do his job, he's just going to do it the way it's easiest for him and going to the left, that means dropping his shoulder and diving. Once he is allowed to do things his way a few times, he does get belligerent when I finally get my act together and say...'NO, you are supposed to do it this way'. So then Moon and I argue over who is the boss 'til I win. I always win. I'm not completely stupid. I know what is correct and I know how to make any horse do the correct thing. I have just gotten lazy and let Moon get away with doing the wrong thing until it creates a problem. So I just need to up my game with the horse.
It's no big surprise that Moon was doing the same thing working cattle that he was doing running barrels. When the cow was moving so that Moon's left side was to it, he was leading with his shoulder. You can see in the video in several places, where I was really hauling on his head, trying to get him to move that shoulder over, arc his neck and lead with his nose. We was not liking that AT ALL. We did get a ton of improvement by the end of the day. But I had to do like a thousand reverse arcs when we were doing slow work.
Here's how that worked-Moon's good turning side is to the right. So if he was tracking a cow so his right side was to the cow, when the cow turned, Moon would sweep across himself correctly. But he didn't like completing the arc. He would get about 3/4th of the way through the turn and then try to take off after the cow with his left shoulder leading. NO, NO, NO!!! So, as he came around, I would pick up the inside (left) arc and force him all the way around in a 360. He had to complete the arc and leave after the cow with his body in the correct position.
That is exactly what was happening in our barrel runs. Moon would make a nice right hand turn at the first barrel, but he never finished the turn. When he left 1st barrel and headed to second, he was leading with his left shoulder. I was not catching that 90% of the time and when we would get to 2nd barrel, the only thing Moon could do was arch his neck away from the barrel and dive around it with his left shoulder leading the way. No freaking wonder his 2nd barrel was a mess.
Of course, by the time he got headed to 3rd, I would have his left shoulder moved over and his head and neck arced correctly and we never had much of a problem there. I have to be careful because Moon does like to roll back and slice off his turn coming out of 3rd, but all it takes to prevent that is a little lift on the rein.
Now, this reverse arc is something that I can do a lot of with Moon anytime. Sue Smith showed us how to use it in the barrel pattern and I have used it forever in my day to day training. I just didn't realize where Moon's problem was in the barrel pattern. It's not AT 2nd barrel. It starts all the way back to where he is leaving 1st barrel. Realizing this now and knowing I have exercises that can 'fix' or at least inhibit Moon's natural tendency, I guess now I don't know whether to switch him on the pattern. I don't think it hurts a horse to know how to run the pattern both directions though. So I'll probably keep working him both directions until he can at least lope a nice pattern either way. In his case, I don't think anything that makes him have to think about things is a bad thing. Moon is way too smart for his own good.
I do know there is a lot more cow-work, specifically cutting exercises in Moon's near and indefinite future. I can work him for a long time on cattle without ever burning him out vs. trying to accomplish the same thing on the barrel pattern. In Moon's case, working specifically on cutting type maneuvers is very beneficial. He is a front-endy kind of horse, so the 'get-back' style required in cutting really helps him.
Spooks...not so much...but that is a whole 'nother story!