So as you guys know, every since Moon jammed his back in July, he's kind of been doing this 'thing'. He doesn't do it so much at home, but then we mostly ride out in the open. I have gotten increasingly careful about the amount of tight work we do. To be honest, I completely laid off the horse for 2 weeks and since then riding has been hit or miss. i knew Moon was slowly losing his peak condition, but since we haven't been running much, knew that he was still in good enough shape to make a run here and there.
Moon isn't a stationary horse. He moves a lot all on his own, so I don't ever worry too much about his muscles getting tight like say, Frosty and Spooks do if they aren't ridden regularly. He isn't prone to getting fat and even though he has a chronic cough, which is only slightly mitigated by supplements that are supposed to help, he maintains good wind.
When we get to barrel racings is when I really notice Moon starting to do his 'thing'. Which is stopping and acting like he needs to pee. Although he never stretches out. When he does have to pee, he does stretch out and has no problems taking a healthy pee. He is also carrying his tail higher than normal. Moon does have a high tailset, so even when his is fine, his tail does not lay down between his buttocks. When he starts to get uncomfortable acting, he really raises it up and has actually started wringing it on occasion.
Every since I found those beans, I have been cleaning him every month and specifically checking for beans. I've gotten a bit of soft stuff out, but nothing hard again. Moon always has been rather nasty in his sheath. I actually clean that every few days cause he gets those chunks of goop and grunge. I'm really lucky because Moon likes to be cleaned. He's very accommodating.
When we got to the clinic, I figured Moon would do his thing right off the bat because of the length of the haul, but he didn't show any discomfort until Sunday afternoon.
I have eliminated every possible physical thing I could think of-chiro, flex tests, electro/myopulse treatments and finally a blood workup and urinalysis. Nothing is showing up of a physical nature and I was starting to think that this was possibly a mental thing. I've talked with several of my friends about this and had them watch Moon, but I think they think I am over-reacting. Moon certainly does not look like a nervous horse.
When Moon started doing his thing at the clinic, I pointed it out to Ed and told him the history of what I have done to 'fix' Moon. He watched for a minute and told me exactly what I was starting to conclude myself...Moon is exceptionally nervous. Ed could see no physical reason for Moon's discomfort, except that he internalizes his nerves and that is causing his loin to tighten up. That's when the physical discomfort comes in. It's like when a person gets so stressed that their stomach knots up and pretty soon their lower back starts hurting.
I have always said that Moon is a difficult horse to read (for most people...apparently not for Ed). He acts so calm and laid back. Few people ever believe, until they see him run, that he is capable of the explosive speeds and turns he has. From what I have read, this is characteristic of the Lady Bugs Moon horses. As race horses they were very quiet and almost dead-head acting until that gate popped and they blew everyone away.
This explains so much about Moon's behavior and the last couple of runs we have had, where he was difficult at the gate. The poor horse is just a bundle of nerves and so uncertain about how things are going to go.
I wasn't completely oblivious to the problem. I've never made a gate-sour horse in my life. So I know if one of my horses starts having gate problems, there is a reason. Now, I know I've had this conversation before...But there is a HUGE difference between a horse that is gate-sour and one that is just amped to the gills and has difficulty getting moving in the right direction. The differences are sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious.
For me with Moon, it's obvious. When Moon is amped and ready to go, he may get to going sideways or even kind of suck back a little bit, but I can feel the energy in him. The last time I ran him, he sucked and ducked every direction but toward the gate and I felt resistance, not energy. He was definitely saying...Uuhhh-UH! I am not going in there!
That is when I decided I would drive to hell and back if I had to to get to an Ed Wright clinic this year. This roller-coaster ride of up and down for Moon and I HAS to come to an end or I need to just stop trying to run him. I am not about to ruin a good horse because I cannot seem to figure out what I need to do next. Moon has made it very clear, he is done with the BS too. For his sake, it's time to get it right and keep it going in the right direction.