I have just a couple more purchases on my list to perfect Moon's barrel racing accouterments (that doesn't look right, but spellcheck says it is ??). I had been debating whether to buy this pad or not...
It's the Reinsman Sharon Camarillo Sure Fit Orthopedic Pad (what a mouthful). Earlier this spring I had ordered a Tod Slone pad for Moon, and although I love the pad and it fits everything else, it just doesn't fit Moon. I overed on Megan's Colorado Saddlery Pad and that seems to work better than any other pad I have. But, I'll be bringing Megan's horse out here soon and she is going to need her pad back. Besides, it wasn't a perfect fit on Moon, just better. I am still getting a bit of slide when Moon runs. I actually think that with the above pad, I will be able to use my Sharon Camarillo saddle on Moon. The saddle does fit him across the shoulders, it just wants to slide back into the hollow behind his withers. It's just the way he is made. Having him fit has helped some, but that spot is just never going to change much on him.
The nice thing about this pad is those black pockets are actually open. I can change the thickness of the foam inserts to match what Moon actually needs vs. the other pads that just have a built in thickness in that spot. So if he changes for the better or worse, I can adjust the padding. The pocket is also on the top, so there is no lump or pressure under the pad. The padding holds the saddle up. That aught to keep Moon moving free through the shoulders when he runs.
The other little adjustment will be moving him from a twisted snaffle to a Jr. Cowhorse bit...
I like this one with the smooth mouth and copper roller. It's similar to the curb bit that I use on Moon for other events and he seems to like that mouthpiece. Moon doesn't have what I would call a soft mouth. He's really pushy with his nose. Always has been, always will be. When I first started running him, I ran him with a gag bit. That kind of helped him to break over at the pole, but since he runs as straight as a board, he just started giving me a little face and dropping his shoulders out from under. That's when I went back to the twisted snaffle. He has run fairly well in that, but is getting to strong.
Moon is changing. He's stronger and fitter than I have ever had him before. He also knows his job in the arena. He's far from being one of those 'crazy, stupid' barrel horses, but he's no deadhead. The last two times I have run him, he was starting to run through the snaffle before I was ready to let him go. That does not work. I can't have him taking off before I have him in position. I'm hoping the bit of curb action will not only keep him from running through my hands, but will help him rate straighter.
Moon is not one of those super bendy, supple horses. We work on suppleness daily, because if I didn't he would be like riding a 2x4. However, when we are running, I have realized that by using one hand with either the gag action or direct pull actually throws Moon's body out of position. Mostly at 2nd....our nemesis barrel. I realize that I have a long way to go to consistently help Moon get that barrel right but hopefully the change will help both of us.