Sunday, April 3, 2011

It Makes It All Worth It

All in all...the horse show went great.

Meg and Turk placed 6th (of 8) in her Showmanship class...

Frosty and I placed 6th (of 10) in the Adult Showmanship class...

Neither Meg or I did any riding classes. Considering the level of competition (these are some serious show people) I didn't think it was worth it to take the chance we would mess up someone else's ride. Both Turk and Frosty are unused to working with so many horses around and highly intimidated by horses passing them or coming at them. It was a little hairy in the warm-up pen at first, but by the end of the day, both Turk and Frosty had pretty much figured out how to ignore all the activity and settled into working like good boys.

That was a huge accomplishment in itself, particularly for Frosty, whose tendency has been to freak out and blow up at a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. that is coming at him head-on. The horse show was the perfect venue to work on that with him because the WP horses move so slow, he had lots of time to think about and process how to handle another horse loping toward him. LOL

It sure pays to get out there and see what's what though. I know both of these horses have come a long way, but comparing them to the fit and shiny show horses...we have a long way to go yet. I don't find that discouraging in the least. I know what I started with and know what I am working toward.

To say that it was a beautiful day for the show would be an understatement. The weather was stunningly beautiful and topped out a a whopping 82 degrees. Megan and I had a fabulous day together as well...that in itself would have made my entire day worth it. It's been a loooonnnngggg time since me and the kiddo have gotten to get out and enjoy the horses together.

Moving on to the barrel that was a cluster....well, you know what I mean....

From 82 and sunny one a darned near white out blizzard, complete with lightening and thunder the next. Of course, that didn't start until I was already AT the barrel race, or I might have skipped it.

A CountryCowgirl and her hubby came over and hung out with me for the day.

The weather made warming up horses near impossible and because everyone insisted on crowding into the little space inside the door, there was some good old fashioned wrecks. Moon started the day off in style...

Poor horse was pretty much plumb asleep tied to the fence and ACC's hubby was standing right next to him the whole time, but another gal had tied her horses beside Moon and disappeared. One of her horses kept turning his butt into the other horse, which pushed that horse into Moon and although all 3 of us were right there watching...we have no idea what happened, but Moon woke up and flipped out. He pulled back, freaked out, flopped over on his side, flopped around like a fish out of water and finally found his feet and got up. Poor horse looked so confused. I don't think even he knows why he did that. But it sure as heck cleared out the area around us. LOL

All was fine. Moon wasn't injured, no other horses spooked and the fence held. All's well that ends well.

I exhibitioned Spooks, which didn't amount to anything because it was such a mess of riders all trying to do their own thing. But Spooks is looking at the barrels and seems to know his pattern. It's time to start taking him to an arena that is down the road a bit and start working on the next phase...teaching him how to lope the pattern. Spooks is going to be a lot like Rip (Megan's blue roan horse) was to start. These horses want to kind of compact their bodies around the turn. It takes a lot of just loping spirals around the barrels to teach them how to stretch out and reach as they are turning the barrel. But I think Spooks is going to be fun to run.

Considering the mess that was going on, I opted not to exhibition Moon. It wasn't worth it to fight the crowd. We just took the horses back to the trailer, threw them in loose and gave them some hay to munch on while I waited for my turn.

When it was time, I just pulled Moon out, fixed his gear, covered us with a blanket and walked and jogged around for a few minutes before our set. To compensate for the weather, they let the next set (5) of barrel racers come in and lope circles by the gate during the rake. Moon went in a little tight, but settled immediately and loped some nice circles.

Since it has been so long since we have run and for lack of a proper warm-up, I figured I was just going to let Moon go in there and coast around the barrels. Right now, I am wayyy more concerned about good runs vs. fast runs.

Boy did Moon feel good in my hand when we left for 1st barrel. He was soft, shaped and looking. He made his usual good first barrel, closed that off really! nicely and got straight to 2nd. He made that turn in good shape and headed straight for 3rd. Gosh...he just felt so nice under me. His body was right, he was running free (if not hard) and boy oh boy does he feel strong. We got to 3rd in really good shape and then I dropped the ball. Just as we were coming out of 3rd, I looked straight down at the barrel...damn red dots!...and dropped my shoulder. Moon leaned into the turn and I just barely clipped the barrel. It fell over. Thinking about it later...I think 3rd was setting kind of 'light' today (perched on the dirt)...a lot of girls tipped it and we were barely bumping it. It really shouldn't have gone over...but that's the breaks.

I was still totally pleased with Moon's run. He did his job just fine. I just lost my concentration. Indoor arenas use these laser lights from the ceiling to set the barrel pattern up. Unfortunately, my OLS (Oh Look, Shiny) kicked in and as we came around the barrel, I just looked down at the light. LOL

I was sure I heard that my time would have been a 15.8 (with a 15.2 winning it), but ACC's hubby thought it might have been a 16.8. ACC has a video, so hopefully she will post it sometime in the next day or so. Knowing Moon's stride, a 15.8 sounds about right to me. Moon can really cover the ground when he is running free and easy. He doesn't look like he is putting any effort into it and he has remarkably fast times. It's when he starts getting a little frantic and trying too hard that his times slow down. A couple of years ago, I had Moon blow by 1st was a big...Oh shit, I missed the barrel moment...and he still placed. People actually thought the timer had malfunctioned because there was really no way he should have still had that fast of a time. That's how freaking long-strided and fast this horse is. I just really, really want to get it coming together for us because I know he is more than capable.

But anyway...we got the firsties out of the way now and can get down to moving along to the next phases. I don't really think I need to do anything different with Moon. Just need to keep his conditioning up and spending time on the slow pattern work. (I am most anxious for the Ed Wright clinic to roll around...It probably not that Moon needs so much help, as *I* need help learning how to ride a truly competitive horse.)

Just have to keep doing the same with the other horses and keep getting them out there so I have something to compare their progress to.


Paint Girl said...

Sounds like a great weekend. At least the weather cooperated for one day. Too bad it had to get so ugly the next day.
That's great about Moon! Except for the freak out at the fence. Sounds like something Brandy would do. Crazy!

Crystal said...

Wow sounds like a fun and productive weekend, but too bad about the weather being yucky for the barrel race.

Mikey said...

I think you guys did great. You've got the first events out the way and now the horses will settle down and get to work. Can't believe that weather, that would suck.
I've also done the same thing with those barrels, the OLS syndrome. Those lights get me too!

cdncowgirl said...

I have a habit of looking down too... although we don't have fancy schmancy lights to set the pattern lol

I know what you mean about the barrel being set light. I know for a fact I've seen that happen at our finals. The barrel crew is always made up from a draw of the entrants so they should know and care if the barrels are set right, but I guess if its not affecting THEIR run then why give a sh!t right? I always give them a little twist to set them in the ground and I gentle push to see if they're sitting flat and won't fall too easily.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Your halter horses look really good to me, well groomed and fit. Moon sounds like he's catching on quickly. Sounds like a good show overall.

Unknown said...

Sounds like it was a great show, weather notwithstanding!

I find my self staring at cones, if the put a laser light on them I'd run em right over.

Can't they turn off those things for the runs? yesh


Sherry Sikstrom said...

Sounds like a great first outing overall. Poor Moon , must have forgotten where he was and woke up with a start to do that!

Danielle Michelle said...

God I can't beleive I haven't posted about my ponies in forever. I spent most all weekend with them so I really need to get on that!

Sounds like you had a satisfying show overall!

AKPonyGirl said...

I like the fact that you show in blue jeans!

Shirley said...

Not too bad a weekend, and never mind showmanship- your horsemanship is evident.

SunnySD said...

Sounds like fun! I sure know what you mean about horses having anxiety about being surrounded in the show-ring. After a failed attempt at drill team, Sunny's still leery of other horses running up behind him and/or crowding him into the rail. He assumes any horse that takes notice of him is going to attack.

Trail-riding with a bunch of different horses - and considerate riders - has helped his confidence level a lot, but it's never a sure thing. I haven't been brave enough to risk showing under saddle yet....

GoLightly said...

excellent all the way around! Now you've done it, I was riding western there for a minute..
Moon sounds like a blast.. Where's his picture, hmmm?
overly demanding out..

Funder said...

Yay for a good weekend!

What's exhibitioning? Just getting a go at the barrels with no time?

I totally hear you on the weird weather.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

It was a very fun weekend, even with the lousy weather on Sunday.

Funder-That's exactly what exhibitioning is. It's an inexpensive way to give new or problem horses a chance to practice in a competitive setting.

Funder said...

Ohhh, that's awesome. Nothing like that in endurance - LD's are maybe $20 cheaper than 50s. But management still has to pay the vet and feed you, so I understand why it's half price for half the distance...

cdncowgirl said...

Even with my long-winded comment I forgot a couple things! lol

1- you mentioned Ed, are you planning on going to that clinic in Durango?

2- when you guys have exhibition runs when do they take place? In our district club we always make the exhibitioners go at the end of the jackpot.

3- I remember a post where you were talking about warmups (I think the Sue Smith clinic?) You mentioned liking a nice simple warmup just to get blood flowing and muscles warm, not the loping your horse into the ground in endless circles like a LOT of barrel racers do.
When you were talking about this past weekend and how everyone was crowded in to get out of the weather I thought of those people, then I remembered they tend to be the same people that warm up their horse and then let it stand, tied to the trailer or mounted by the fence, so they can watch everyone and then jump on and make their run.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Cdn-Yes I am. I guess I better get on the ball and make sure to get registered for that one. I really want help before the season gets rolling. If I have to, I will retake his clinic in August. I am dead serious about this barrel horse thing this year. ;-)

Our TO's (Time Only = Exhibition) are run before the races. It kind of depends on how people behave on how they run them. If people are respectful and make sure to stay out of the TO runner's way, they will let several of us go in and stand around or move around. If people are just being dinks (which is prone to happen with barrel racers), they clear the arena and only let the person making the run in the arena.

The warm-up thing is crazy...I see people who get on their horses and stay camped on them for a couple of hours (at least). If they aren't loping, they are parked by the fence sitting on their horses.

But ya know, I saw the same thing at the horse show on Saturday. People just riding and riding and riding those horses.

I'm lucky with Moon. He is not a hot horse. He does the best if I just make sure he is listening and supple and then leave him alone until I absolutely have to get him out to get the blood flowing. I have learned that if I just get off of him and hand-walk him until just a couple of runs before mine and then go stand by the gate, he stays the most relaxed and seems to be more prepared when he goes in. If I cannot get off, I start working my way to the gate by doing bending exercises. I think that has helped keep Moon quiet all this time. He knows when I gather up my reins that it's time and he starts looking. I don't gather up my reins until he is within a few feet of the gate and is already walking forward. If I didn't gather my reins, he would walk into the arena plumb flat-footed and totally relaxed just like any other time.

Rising Rainbow said...

I have a young horse that is terrified of those other horses. I'm going to have to take him to a couple of schooling shows just to hang out to see if that helps bring his anxiety down.

Sounds like the horses did great and that Moon is much improved over last year. That's very cool news!!

As for little red lights, I'd probably be gawking at the suckers too. Things like that just draw my eyes. LOL

in2paints said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend even if the weather only cooperated for one day. I like taking it easy for the first show too... it's nice just to get the horses out and enjoy the day.