Meeker on Saturday...
Moon was a jerk during warm-up. I rode him until he grew a brain. A lot more than I normally have to ride him before a run and I was a little worried I was going to take the edge off of him.
But I made the decision much earlier this year that was the way it was going to be. If Moon warmed up nicely...It would be short and sweet. If he decided to act like a boob...he was going to keep going til he remembered his brain.
It worked. Moon ran well and had the fast time in the morning slack.
Meeker has a big (HUGE), beautiful arena...filled with deep sand. The pattern was tough for a lot of the girls. Since the arena is so huge, the barrels are rather out in the middle of nothing and a lot of horses seemed to have a problem with not having a fence close by to 'help' them turn. I guess having my pattern set up in a similar 'no fences' way helped a lot in this case. Moon never sees anything but the barrels when he runs. He doesn't need a fence to remind him to turn the barrel. The gate position didn't help anyone else very much either. It was off center of the pattern, so if the right barrel was your first barrel...it didn't put you in a very good position. Almost every one of the girls ran straight at the first barrel from the gate. I decided the best course of action was to get Moon through the gate and try to get him to fade to the ride before letting him go. That worked. Moon walked right through the gate and I sidepassed him over til he was more centered to start his run and he ran into his 1st pocket in really good shape. He overstrided on the the backside by about 1/2 a stride, but self corrected and left in the right position for 2nd. He took that one really well, but started to straighten out just a bit before he had totally cleared the barrel. I just laid my inside leg on him and he melted over and cleared the barrel. That's a pretty awesome feeling, when you can maneuver a horse like that when they are turning. He fooled me a bit on 3rd. Moon has 2 ways of turning 3rd and I know what he's going to do by the way he feels about one stride before he hits his pocket. If he gives me his nose, I know he is going to wrap the barrel. If he feels a bit stiff, I know I need to push him on a little farther, because he is going to roll back through the turn. I have to makes sure my leg is past the barrel before I let him roll back, so he can clear the barrel with his hip. This time he felt soft, so I thought he was going to wrap the barrel (which is the way I prefer him to turn it), but once he was in the turn, he sort of set up and started to roll back. It tipped me forward and I had a flash of 'Oh CRAP'. I just squeezed him as hard as I could with my inside leg, hoping we weren't going to knock that barrel and we didn't.
That run put us in 4th place overall...and I didn't have a lot of hope that it would hold up. I figured we would at least get moved to 6th place...out of the money. But it was a darned nice run and Moon handled me asking him for more speed really well.
Collbran on Sunday...
I found out that we had only been moved one spot, to 5th place by the performance runs at Meeker the night before. Sadly they only paid 4 places at that rodeo.
I cannot seem to catch a break and always seem to be one hole out of the money. I called my husband to tell him I was out of the money again and we both laughed. It would seem I am destined to pay my dues for a while yet.
Oh well...That run was over...time to think about this one.
Collbran has a beautiful arena set back along a creek with huge shade trees to park under. Beautiful place. The ground was worked and looked fabulous.
Moon seemed very relaxed and was handling like a dream. I called his warm-up good relatively quickly.
This time when we came in, I knew there was a mud spot right in front of the gate, so I eased Moon through the gate and sidepassed him over again. I didn't want him to take off and slip his back feet in that mud. When he fired for 1st, I thought...Holy Cow...He is really running. He sank into his pocket just beautifully and then his whole front end dropped. And that's when I knew...
He was running waayyyy too fast and was on his front-end way too much. He couldn't handle the turn and blew out the backside. He came out of that turn good though...I don't know how...but by then he just felt frantic. He was flying toward 2nd and just kept fading farther and farther way from the pocket. He went in waaayyyy to wide and way down on his front-end. There was nothing I could do at that point...He turned his usual turn and we hit the 2nd barrel about 3/4ths of the way through the turn. Moon was just flying...and not in a good way. He rolled into 3rd and blew completely away from the barrel about 3/4ths of the way around. He finally got his back foot set and rolled back into the turn just as we headed for home. At that point, I just sat up on him and let him coast home.
I actually felt really sorry for him. He was a huffing and a puffing and completely bug-eyed when I got off of him to loosen his cinch. I don't even think HE knew what just happened. I've gotten mad at Moon at different times, when he has deliberately ducked in or out, over and over at the same spots. Those times, I knew he was trying to out think me and do it the way he wanted to do it. This time though...He just turned on more speed than he could handle. He didn't make one deliberate mistake. He was trying to hard.
I don't even know what my time was or would have been. Doesn't matter, with a tipped barrel.
After the slack got over though, I set the barrel pattern up and worked him on it. It's not very often I get a chance to work the pattern on quality ground and I wanted to go through some exercises with Moon. It was NOT punishment for having such a crazy run. It was nice quiet loping circles, working on softness and reminding Moon to respect his pockets. I really just wanted to give Moon a chance to relax and get his thinking cap back on. I did not want that run we just had stuck in his brain. It took quite a bit of work and Moon was soaked before he finally mellowed out and just relaxed into loping circles around the barrels, could lope up to one nice and soft and was stopping on his hindquarter again. That horse of mine...he's an over-achiever for sure, but suppleness and fluidity do not come easy to him. And every time he opens up another notch, I find myself wondering if he can run faster than I am capable of riding?
He's not an easy ride that's for sure. He takes a LOT of practice patterning time...working on absolute correctness. The speed is there. It's just not as easy for Moon as it is for other horses. Like Frosty for example....I've been patterning Frosty all along, but have almost zero time on him loping the pattern or even loping around a barrel. After I was done riding Moon, I tied him in the arena to soak for a bit and started on Frosty. It wasn't long and I had him loping around the barrels and boy does he feel different than Moon. Frosty drives from the hip and just keeps pushing himself forward. He's just feels so soft and balanced. He can't run yet...heck, he can barely lope a straight line (LOL)....but if I keep hauling him and working with him, he is going to be quite nice.
And I apologize...I really did want videos this weekend. Saturday...we drove off without a camera...Sunday...Megan spaced out and forgot to put the camera to record.