Headed to a couple barrel racings this weekend...with almost a full load.
Spooks, Frosty and Moon.
I left Turk at home because I figured I would have my hands full with what I had.
Meg hasn't been going to the barrel racings with me lately, but since she was still sitting 2nd in the Youth 3D, with only a one point difference...I asked her to go to the remaining 3 barrel races and see if she can't pick up enough points to win the saddle.
(A terminology post about the 'D's to follow this post to explain how they are determined)
We got to Montrose on Friday, got horses settled in and I checked Moon's back as has become an almost obsessive habit now...
After a week of absolutely NO reaction...
His loin muscle was reactive.
That is a post within itself and I think we finally have it figured out....but you'll have to wait to hear the whole story.
We did get Moon fixed up and I ran him...
I chose to run Spooks first, as it is easier to move from him to Moon than it is the other way around and had 25 barrel racers between the two runs...take into consideration there is a tractor rake of the pattern every 5 barrel racers....and that gives you a lot of time to warm-up.
Spooks had a nice run. OMG, that horse cracks me up. He came in, popped off in the wrong lead, so I broke him down, he picked up his correct lead just before the electric eye and shot off like a rocket. I guess Spooks is getting the idea he is a barrel horse. LOL. He was too close to the barrel to shoot off like that and ran right by the first barrel. L said she had to laugh, my head rotated all the way by the barrel. *I* was looking where I needed to go...Spooks...Not so much.
He recovered well though and the rest of the run was good. Spooks is struggling just a bit coming out of 2nd barrel yet and is losing time there, but his 3rd barrel was perfect and he really ran home.
I don't plan on doing anything different with Spooks than what we are doing yet. He is so green still, that it would be senseless to keep getting after him with the bat or do any kind of massive training overhaul. With just a dozen runs on him, I think he is doing pretty darned awesome to be as consistent as he has been. He placed 4th in the 4D, but didn't pick up a check this time. That little run by cost us a couple of 10ths, but we still picked up points.
I walked him out til the next rake and then went and got on Moon. The night air had cooled off, Moon had a good nap after his massage and he was full of himself.
I took him out on the racetrack and once he was loose and limber...We loped. I actually wanted him to come down a bit. I know Moon has been bored spitless this last couple of weeks and he was r.e.a.d.y. to be back to doing his job.
This was the first time since much earlier this year that I have felt him soooo amped up and we did have a problem getting in the gate. When Moon gets excited...he goes sideways. Some horses lunge forward, some horses have a hard time walking forward...Moon goes sideways. Luckily Megan was there on Frosty. Moon sucked up to Frosty...who is quite terrified of the dun horse, so he kept trying to leave. Moon kept trying to suck up to him. It was actually a bit humorous, since I know exactly what was going through each one of my horses' heads at the moment.
Moon is thinking..."I need a little security here."
Frosty is thinking, "OMG...That horse scares me, I gotta get out of here."
Frosty was trying to leave and Moon was stuck to his side like glue. I told Megan to just circle Frosty around again and when we came back by the gate, I just made Moon do a spin and he spun around through the gate. The gate man closed the gate and Moon stood there looking a bit confused. He was facing the wrong way though. I wasn't quite sure how to get him in position. I knew if I turned him to the right he was going to spin around and take off for the barrel, but I wasn't quite sure he had the barrel located. I didn't want him to run off wildly out of position. I finally backed him up and did a 45 degree pivot to the left and walked him a few steps down the fence. He turned his head and saw the barrels, so I rolled him back on the fence and made him travel back to the center of the gate. He was looking to the right, locating that barrel and when he got in position, I let him pivot and leave.
He was off with both rocket launchers firing. He was flying!!
He run up to the first barrel in perfect form, I sat down and gave him his 'hup, hup' and he set into that barrel and turned it without a single misstep. If felt freaking awesome! Moon popped me forward at the exact perfect time and I knew we had 2nd in the bag and was going to make an incredible run...
And then I tried to sit up...
But I couldn't!
Something jerked me back down over Moon's withers.
When Moon popped me forward, my belt went over the saddlehorn and I was hooked.
I wasn't quite half way across the arena yet, but Moon was rolling and I knew if I didn't get myself unhooked quick, Moon might make me a lawn dart when he turned the barrel. I leaned forward and yanked on the belt a couple of times, but it wan't coming off the horn.
All of the sudden 2nd barrel was right there, Moon was running straight for it, I'm laying over his neck, can't get my arm over enough to move him over, can't get unhooked, can't even get him pulled up.
I had to pull him around to my left leg. Thankfully, Moon had realized something was not right by then and had slowed down before I pulled him around, but I still almost took a header off the right side. I was practically hanging upside down in the saddle. My belt popped off the horn then. Imagine that! (she says with dry sarcasm)
Of course nobody realized what the problem was until I got Moon stopped and was sitting in the middle of him again. The girls in the crows nest called down to see if I was okay. By then I was laughing my butt off...I think mostly out of half-hysteria. I hollered up at them I had gotten stuck on the saddlehorn and gave them a thumbs up.
Moon didn't seem particularly upset, but I asked if I could trot him through the pattern so he didn't have that ducking off incident left in his mind. I long-trotted him back around 1st barrel and let him about 1/2 run to and around 2nd and 3rd. He handled that fine, so we dropped to a trot back to home.
Unfortunately, that little misshap cost more than a just a bit of embarrassment. This particular association runs an 'Award Series' throughout the season. To qualify, you have to run in 4 of 6 selected races. They average your 4 best times and give out some nice prizes. Moon and I were sitting right in there in the average. All we needed was for this run to be a good one.
I guess there is always next year. ;-)
To be continued...