I got with a friend this week and we decided to haul to Montrose together for the Friday barrel race. I want to keep getting regular runs on Moon...but I don't really want to over-do it either. I figured this would be a nice time to just put an easy run on him, as a lot of the girls are at a big 3-day run in Craig. I didn't see any reason to haul to Craig for the weekend, except for the possibility of drawing a check, none of the points count toward the associations I belong to.
A nice, easy run is exactly what Moon gave me. He is getting very relaxed running and is becoming so malleable. Running barrels is getting to be a lot of fun.
I would say that 3rd barrel has gotten to be my favorite turn. It's absolutely amazing how that horse just runs into that pocket and wraps the barrel. He's so close to it that I could reach down and place my hand in the middle of the barrel at any point in the turn...but he never feels like he is going to hit it.
Second barrel was a picture perfect turn. Moon didn't try to go wide going into the pocket, he just ran in there and wrapped that turn too. He did bow, ever so slightly again when he left the turn.
First...well...I think I am getting a little lazy on first. Moon didn't shoulder it like he did at Rimrock on Tuesday, but he felt a little stiff in the neck and we missed our 2nd stride (the backside of the barrel) and I felt him lose momentum. He didn't get 'stuck' per say, just didn't have the drive he usually does. My mistake was going to the horn to soon with my outside hand. I think that is what I may have done the last run too. Either I need to remember to keep both hands on the reins all the way into the turn, like I used to with him, or I just need to give him time to figure out the changed cue.
I wasn't pushing Moon at all, just letting him coast along and he still took almost a full second off from the last time we ran down there. That time was a 19.18 and this run was 18.2. It was good enough for 3rd (of course they only paid 2 monies-LOL), with 2nd place also an 18.2. Beat out by a hundredth of a second.
My traveling partner won it with a 17.8. I was really happy for her. Last year her little mare was one of the horses to beat. IF she got the 1st barrel turned. This year, she has had some clean runs, but her times have been off. It's good to see her little mare firing again. LIke me earlier this year, she was wracking her brain to figure out what the problem was. It seems to have worked itself out.
Moon is going to have to hustle if he is going to catch that little firecracker. However, this race, I went more for relaxation than for speed. I think it is kind of unfair to ask a relatively green horse to run his heart out...every. single. time. Sometimes it's nice to just let them ease through at a pace that is comfortable to them. Which in Moon's case...is still clocking. Lucky me! The girls were giving me a hard time about 'loping' my horse through the pattern. But that's Moon, he really doesn't look like he is running...When his runs are smooth. His strides are sooooo long and effortless.
That run is going to do us until next Friday. I want to give Moon a little time off from competition. He's been running well and I feel we are solid. I just want to spend this next week riding him in the desert and working on his pattern a little bit. I don't want that bow out of 2nd to become a habit and I think we should work on re-establishing some bend going into 1st.
I guess my next step is to work on bringing his fitness level up a notch. The 4th of July rodeo weekend is coming up and there are some local rodeos I would like to enter. I'm just trying to decide if it is worth it to buy my Colorado Pro Rodeo membership or not. I can enter the rodeos as a non-member and pay an additional 'permit' fee. But if we would actually win some money...it might be nice to try to qualify for the CPRA Finals, which are held in Grand Junction in October.
I'm also trying to decide if I should get Moon shod or not. As you guys have seen, I have a fabulous farrier and I trust him to shoe Moon correctly.
Another little thing that Moon needs to work out is, hating to wear skid boots. The first couple of nice runs we made, I did not put his hind boots on and boy, does he seem to prefer that. The problem is, Moon really gets up underneath himself going into his turns and after a couple of runs sans skid boots, his hind fetlocks were a little sore. Because he really does not seem to like the Pro Choice protective hind boots I have, I resorted to using a little pair of neoprene reining skid boots. I'm sure that's why he has slowed down a bit again. I can feel him kind of pull his inside leg up when he starts into his turns. It's like he is saying, 'Ugghh, I hate these things on my back feet.' I'm thinking he might like the Iconoclast boots better. They are thinner and have the double sling that would actually support him rather than just feeling like a hinderance. He's going to have to get used to something on those hind fetlocks though, cause I'm not going to let him run unprotected anymore.
Oh, and lest I forget...I took Frosty with and rode him around the race track. That's about as close as he wanted to get to all the goings on. He was a bit nervous of other horses working on the track as well, but we did not have any blow-ups. After the barrel race, I took him into the arena and just lunged him. He stared at the other horses and flinched when they got close, but wasn't ridiculous. We walked all around the arena and I made him lunge next to the bucking chutes (which didn't seem to bother him) and then I knocked barrels over and rolled them around, then I set them up and sat on a barrel while making him lunge around me, moved to the next barrel and did the same thing, then we did some back and forth work and some backing. By the time we were ready to go, he was nice and quiet. Watchful...but thinking more about minding me than worried about everything else that was going on. It's going to take some time with him, but there's hope.