Thursday, October 20, 2011

We Are A Sorry Lot

I have known for a long time that Ed Wright has a reputation for being a tough SOB to ride under. Knowing that he is a horseman's horseman...I understand why. People like him have a love and appreciation for the horse that is far beyond most people's comprehension. They understand horses on a level that the vast majority of us can only hope to touch on. They have a highly developed sense of timing and a feel for every movement the horse is making and how what they are doing in one stride is going to translate into what they will do the next stride.

I'm not going to even try to say that his clinic was easy for me.

It was quite possibly one of the hardest, most frustrating experiences I have ever had.

Ed was hard on me. With good reason mind you.

He may not have thought much of Moon when he first saw him, but once he saw him on the barrel pattern, he made sure to tell me 'That horse has moves!'.

(grins)...Moon makes people say that a lot. LOL

That was pretty much the only compliment I got from Ed that weekend. After that, he started chewing my butt.

Ed didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, I have just become unsure of how to proceed. Advice from friends is invaluable. I have a couple of local friends, who's advice and opinions I respect, but things have not been working lately and I don't think continuing on the path I was, is going to get any better. I needed the assistance of someone like Ed, who sees everything and knows exactly how to break it down, correct it and build from there. I know that my biggest problem with Moon is that I do one of two things with him...

I either get to the barrel and completely quit riding him. Leaving poor Moon to fend for himself in the turns...

OR...

I get much too heavy and over-ride the hell out of the poor horse.

I think what made Ed so mad at me is the fact that I do not ride Frosty that way. He asked me why I ride the buckskin horse so light and quiet then switch to Moon and become this Dragon Queen?

Honestly, I KNOW I have a problem when it comes to Moon. I didn't really realize I was getting so harsh with him though.

It seemed to me that every time I opened my mouth to explain to Ed the problems I have been having...I said something that made him look at me like I was the stupidest person on the planet. It's really tough to have someone you respect so much look at you that way.

Now I know in this 'pat everyone on the back and tell them they are great' society that we have become...most people do not appreciate someone giving them the harsh reality...

But I did not drive 500+ miles to have someone pat me on the head and tell me I'm wonderful. I specifically wanted to be told what I am doing wrong and what I can do to make myself better so that Moon finally gets the opportunity to just go do his job.

I guess no matter how prepared you are for a tough critic...it's still a bitter pill to swallow. By the end of the first day, I was so frustrated with MYSELF that I went into my trailer, sat down and cried. Ed's clinics are not only physically difficult, they can be mentally difficult as well.

Ed's no dummy. He knew. The next morning he told me I needed to quit being so hard on myself. Rather than becoming frustrated because I did not improve 120% in one day, I needed to recognize that I had improved 50% in one day. And then he told me something that made me laugh...because it is so true...

We barrel racers are a sorry lot. We are the only speed competitors out there who think we can get a horse to go fast by sitting on our butts, kicking and pulling at the same time.

He showed us two pictures to show us how he expects a barrel racer to ride...
The WH cover pic above is one of the pics that Ed showed us. The picture below is one I pulled off the internet because here is a guy riding in a curb and using a romel rein. He is still up and over his horse's first 2 ribs and both hands are up, in the correct position and he is riding his horse f.o.r.e.w.a.r.d...


Ed's philosophy about turning a barrel is unique. Where most of us think of running to the barrel, slowing down and getting a horse to turn, Ed thinks of turning a barrel as...Run to it, gather up, shorten stride and run around it.

Just like a GOOD working cowhorse rider does when they are circling a cow at the end of their run.

Pretty interesting huh?

I didn't really get what he was trying to explain to us until I have had time to think about it and really absorb what he was trying to get me to do at the clinic. Change is difficult if you really don't have a clear picture of what you want to change to. Now that I have this mental picture in my mind and a more coherent mindset of what I need to be achieving in the turn, it's just going to take work to bring it all together.

Ed crammed a lot of information into a very short time, so there is more to come...

11 comments:

Shirley said...

Now that makes sense! I've always thought the "stop running and turn" approach took away a horse's momentum, so it's nice to see a different way of thinking about the turn.
I'd probably have been in tears too.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Something to consider with regards to riding Moons like a 'Dragon Queen'. We can often be tougher on those we love. Not because we mean to, we just do it.

You know your horse, know what he CAN do and expect it All from him. When you lighten up and give him a fair chance, he might just raise to the occasion and give you more than you expected...

Um, yeah. I speak from experience. It's a good thing horses can be so tolerant and more so- forgiving.

C-ingspots said...

Sounds like a very, very educational clinic to me...you'll probably realize with time that you got more out of it than you even realize right now. You have my sympathies though, I know exactly how you feel. I was fortunate to have ridden in 3 Ray Hunt clinics and boy oh boy!! Ray was not there to make friends! I was physically exhausted and emotionally drained after 3 full days and was very accustomed to hearing my name "barked" over the loudspeaker. However, at the time I never took it other than the critique it was intended to be. Because usually, in my mind, I was thinking along the same lines as Ray; I was just a little slow in my actions. So I realized my thoughts were right on track. By the end of day 3 though, with heat stroke and exhaustion, when I dismountned my legs wouldn't even hold me up and all I could do was sit in the dirt and sob. Funny thing was, I had the time of my life even though, at the time, I thought it pert-near killed me off!! Hang in there girl and remember...what doesn't kill ya, makes ya stronger!! :)

Cut-N-Jump said...

I just had a sort of twisted thought. I am attending a clinic on the 5th with a guy who was at the Darby.

Gary had a lot of good things to say about my pony then and basically the only things he really had corrective advice for was directed at me. I'm also not a fan of a pat on the head and hearing everything is great when it's not.

Now I'm wondering how this clinic is going to go for me??? Thanks BEC's, Thanks a lot!

ROFL!

Crystal said...

Sounds like a hard clinic. But if you really want to learn, he sounds like someone you want to go to.

Interesting concept about barrel turns, might make a difference.

fernvalley01 said...

You can get a pat on the head anywhere, that kind of valuable trianing and education is far more rare! sounds exhausting , and wonderful! I woulda cried like a baby too

in2paints said...

The clinic sounds rough... but productive. Like you said, what good does it do you to be coddled throughout the clinic? I love when I attend something like you did and come away with a clear picture of how to improve. I can't wait to read more about it and see it all put into practice!

Breathe said...

What a killer insight! Now to break all the bad habits and build new, good ones. I know it's taken me getting Smokey's bit out of his mouth to stop riding with the brake on.

Its always a long road, but such a relief to get on the road instead of going in circles.

We're rooting for ya!

Btw, does anyone ride barrels like that? I always see lots of yanking.

kestrel said...

Well, you also have to realize that as an instructor (not at that level, but still an instructor!) I sometimes don't even bother to correct people that I know will never have the brains or skill to put it into action. It's not worth my time and breath. Mean, I know, but that's the way it is sometimes.

The fact that you're getting the full force of it means that Ed knows that you have some serious potential!

cdncowgirl said...

Reading your posts is like being with Ed all over again. And you're posts are better than anything I'd have been able to string together from my own clinic experiences :)

I agree that Ed can be tough, I think he's tougher on those that he expects a lot out of. So take it as a compliment if he rode your butt a bit ;)

I love his thought process on running barrels, its something I'd wondered many a time myself too. Running around the barrel just makes so much more sense!

BTW he told us that he welcomes questions, even if it means calling him a month or two later. So you could always call and ask about that muscle/ligament thing.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I'll bet you thought about the clinic all the way home. It sounds like you're getting things sorted out in your mind now too. That's good.