Monday, June 27, 2011

Finally Some Decent Barrel Racing Photos

I've been waiting for the photographer to show up at the barrel racings. Having some good still photos sure helps, almost more than videos.

Photos #22 and #23 on the following link (fifth line, purple tank-top)...


LOL-I think I am sticking my tongue out in the 1st photo.

What a difference from last year. The best picture taken last year, still had me bringing my hand across Moon's neck trying to keep him off the barrel.

Man, does he rate way into that turn (1st photo). It looks a little funky and I think we can smooth things up a little bit yet, but I'm not going to be messing with it too much. It works for Moon and that is all that matters.

I've always known that Moon is a 'front-endy' kind of horse, so at home we work on really making him work off of his hind-quarter. As long as I work at building up and keeping his stifles and hindquarter strong, that will help him stay balanced when he's running. You can't change how a horse runs, you can only try to balance them out by working them the opposite way through conditioning and training.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Getting Lazy

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 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 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.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trying Something New-Edited With Better Photos

So, in case you hadn't noticed...there's been lots going on around here. I'm in a full scale push to bring every horse up to par in the next couple of months. Moon and Spooks = check. Bugs and Jet = check (at least they with the trainer...), Beretta = check (She's just doing her thing and growing up.), Frosty...well, we're working on that, Turk...we are working on that too...

I took Turk to the farrier to today to have him reset. I told the farrier this might be the last shoeing job on the horse. If I cannot make any real progress with him in the next couple of months, I'll be hauling him back to SD. When we got to talking about things, I told him about Turk's breaking open above the well as told him that I think the horse is weak in the hocks. Turk has come along well enough that he can now hold his hind leads in a straight line as well as a circle. Provided I keep the circles nice and big. Well...big circles don't work for barrel racing. I have not been able to really get the horse to progress. The great thing about my farrier is that he is also a trainer. Reining horses specifically. Giving me advice from his trainer's standpoint...If a horse cannot hold a lead in the rear, it's because he is hurting in the front.

The vet/chiro I use was there today as well (just a bonus, I wasn't scheduled to see her) and between the two of them, they decided that proud flesh is not the problem with Turk's scar breaking's the continued movement in his heel bulb that is causing the problem. So the farrier came up with a bit of a different shoeing tactic...
(Sorry, these pics were taken on my cell phone, but if you click on them they will go to full screen and you can zoom in to see the shoe. I will get a better pic tomorrow and add it.) He opted to shoe Turk's injured foot with a 'G' bar shoe. Essentially, it's a normal shoe and the inside heel is bent over. Doing this leaves the injured heel completely open and is supposed to allow it to drop down, as well as protect it from any impact. It looks crazy as hell to me, but I understand the principle the farrier is applying. This may be the only way to get Turk's floating heel bulb to drop down and hopefully begin to solidify.

The 'G'-bar shoe...

The entire loose heel is left out there to hang...

I guess it's hard to tell, but the heel is not actually touching the ground...
There is only 2 nails holding the shoe on, on the inside and one was specifically placed right in the crack. I'm not sure why the farrier did that. Possibly to try to immobilize movement? Anyway, I have to have the nails reset every 2 weeks and every 4 weeks, the farrier will trim and reset the shoe. He does not want any extra growth to accumulate.

As you can see, the scar goes all the way through the hoof wall...
Since there is still movement in the heel and inside half of the coronet band, the hoof wall continues to split before it actually forms. I'm not even going to pretend I think this will work...but the farrier seems to think if we can just reduce the independent movement and continued fracturing of the hoofwall, there's a chance this whole mess could grow out. I'm not above seeing if he is right. We have nothing to lose and I would like to see if the horse could actually ever recover.

This pic is just for my (and your) amusement...
That would be the fresh trimming of a 4y/o reining horse on the left and Turk's trimming on the right. Mighty big difference between my size 2 shoe gelding and that fancy little show horse. LOL

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Frosty's New Job

Not only does Frosty have to work individually, I decided it was time for a little roll reversal. Usually Frosty is getting ponied while I ride Moon, but since Moon needs exercise daily, but not necessarily ridden...guess who is now responsible for helping me with that?... rod worked himself into a lather...(giggles evilly)...he didn't think he wanted any part of this scenario, but Moon is a good sport and trucked along beside while Frosty tried to figure out a way to avoid letting that happen.

Ya know...acting like a fool at a public event is a whole lot different than acting like a fool in the middle of a 20 acre, plowed field. Frosty finally figured that out and settled into his new role.

On a more serious note, I am ordering a stronger IR supplement for Frosty (Command IR Ultra) and have put him on the equine version of pepto-bismo that I have been feeding Moon (ProCMC). It really seems to have helped Moon. He's not nearly as crabby as he used to be and is a lot more relaxed.

I get mad as hell at Frosty for acting like a fool, and lord knows the horse needs some wet saddle blankets, but upon reflection...his behavior at public functions is not really 'normal'. He just seems to lose it and while Frosty has some quirks about him, going completely ballistic and getting more and more radical is not really his nature. While I hardly think it's possible for the horse to have full blown ulcers, it's possible that the nervousness he experiences when he is out of his normal element could be causing him some gastric distress. From what I have read, over-reacting and blowing up are pretty common symptoms.

Another thing I have noticed about the horse is that he smells bad. Particularly when he works up a good sweat. It's almost a rancid smell. So something is still not quite right with his system. There's more going on here than just a bad attitude and I am determined to get this horse fixed. He's too darn nice to let languish any longer. I really think he has the potential to run barrels on par, if not better than Moon. I'd say that I've only ever tapped into about his 3rd gear and that was plenty fast...and that hip...OMG...that HIP...this horse is built to just drive out of a barrel.

Yea well and vanity rears her head and says...How cool would it be to have both of my yellow boys running well?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our First Perf

I really debated whether to enter the weekly rodeo this time or not. I don't want to run the legs off of Moon, but it's hard to pass up running at an arena that is only a couple of miles down the road and that has good ground. Some of the girls would debate that, but I think the ground is fine. Sometimes they get it worked a little deep for the slack and the girls complain that their times don't hold up to the performance runs, when the ground is packed down a little more...but geez...that's how rodeos are. I've never seen a horse slip in the ground, no matter how packed it gets and that's what's really important to me.

Anyway, I decided to enter and drew up in the slack. When we got there and I went to pay my entry fee, they told me they had a couple of girls draw out of the performance and I had been moved up to run in the performance instead of the slack. That left me with a good long wait, as the barrel racing is first in the slack (at 4:30pm) and the barrel racing is the 2nd to last event in the rodeo (we end up running about 9pm). Oh well, Moon is going to have to get used to lots of standing around if he is going to be a rodeo horse.

He doesn't exactly suffer, he always has hay and water available and I usually spend a lot of time grooming, massaging and checking for sore or hot spots.

Usually I find nothing, but this time I did think he seemed a bit sensitive to pressure on his left hind fetlock and it felt a bit warmer on the inside than his other one felt. With no hydrant available to cold-hose, I took a bucket of water and soaked his fetlocks, then I rubbed them down, as well as his stifles, knees and hocks with Sore No More. That took the heat out. Right before my run, I brushed his legs with a wet brush really well and then applied plenty of a Sports Liniment that also has epsom salts in it. Moon's legs felt nice and cold to the touch by the time I put his boots on.

The really bad thing about this arena is that there is no place to warm up again before the barrel racing starts. There's mostly gravel and the few areas that aren't are covered in large rocks. Since Moon is makes it a little tough on us. All I can do is handwalk him and work on stretches before we run.

Since this is the arena that Moon got goofy with me for the first time ever, my game plan since has been to always have Spooks with. Megan jumps on Spooks (which is why you guys are not getting any videos of these runs) and we let the horses stand side by side. When it's my turn to enter, Megan and I just ride forward like we are both going into the arena. It works perfectly. Neither horse has any inclination to get silly or overly amped about entering the arena. Moon walks right in. I haven't had to use this tactic anywhere else, but this arena is difficult to enter. The gate is on the side and when you enter to run, you have to cross the entire width of the arena to get set up for your first barrel. I don't have any problems getting Moon to do that, but he sure didn't like entering this arena the first time. Now we don't take any chances and keep Spooks handy so there should never be another problem.

Well...that is if you don't have to run over idiots standing in the open gate when you are trying to enter. (Arrgghh) I literally had to run into one kid. What the heck do I care? If you are stupid enough to stand in the middle of an open gate during the barrel are probably going to get run over. LOL I was hollering for them to get out of the way, but they looked every direction except behind them. So I just plowed Moon right into them and on through the gate. Bet they don't make that mistake again (snicker).

I was a little worried about how Moon was going to react to running in a performance. He's only ever run in 2 of them before in his life and that was 2 years ago. One was the mud pit from hell and Moon decided he was NOT running in standing water. The second was shortly after the 1st, but after he had injured the bulb of his heel on that gate incident. Neither of those runs were stellar. However, one of Moon's best qualities is that when he locks onto the barrel...I don't think he sees anything else. Light, dark, banners, music, a grandstand full of people...those things don't really seem to affect him. But he's not been around a lot of it, so...Ya never know.

He was really good about traveling straight across the arena and let me get him way over in front of the roping chutes, so when I turned him around, he would be lined up for 1st barrel. He ran good to first barrel, but was a little 'erchy' when he started his turn, he kinda sucked in and almost shouldered the barrel. He just felt a little stiff, but he collected himself well and came right around the rest of the turn...that's when the crowd started cheering and I felt him stiffen and take off like a shot. We was a little wide going into 2nd, but he turned that well enough, but as he was leaving, the crowd started cheering again and he took off like a shot again and kind of bowed out in his run to 3rd. By the time he hit 3rd he was screaming, but that was his best turn. I didn't have to worry about him wanting to slow up before the eye this time. The cheering crowd kept him moving. I don't really think he liked it and I could tell by his breathing that he had run hard...not the smooth, effortless runs we've had the last few times.

That's one more thing I am learning about Moon, when he runs effortlessly and makes his better times, he isn't even breathing hard after a run. When he's breathing hard after a run, I know it was more of an effort for him and he doesn't clock as fast.

He did run a 17.8, good enough for 4th place overall again and this time a check.

The one thing I have realized at this arena is, you cannot count on the same times week after week. Each week they set the barrel pattern differently, so while last week, a 16.8 won it (and Moon ran a 17.2), this week a 17.3 won it, a 17.5 was 2nd, a 17.7 was 3rd and Moon was 4th with a 17.8. I will say, he is consistently running 3 tenths to just shy of a 1/2 second off of the top times. I think that is pretty amazing considering just a couple weeks ago, we were running an entire second to one and a half seconds slower than the top times. I'm not really pushing Moon either. The last thing I want to do is ask to hard for to much and start having problems again. We still have some finessing of the pattern to do and I know that I don't always let Moon run to 1st as hard as he can. I am really enjoying just being able to get these smoother runs and hey, if we are consistently in the top 5, for right now, that's enough.

Anyhow...I hope you guys don't get sick of the blow-by-blows...I DO hope you get sick to death of me saying, 'Moon won money'. LOL ;-) All in all, I was pretty happy with the run. I know the 'erch' going into 1st and the bow out of 2nd cost us time, but we still placed and it was valuable experience.

I don't know how many more of these weekly rodeos I will go to, but I figured it's close, the weather is still beautiful (come July and will be miserably hot) and Moon seems to do well there. If we can get to run in the perf, it's valuable rodeo experience for both of us.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Support Your Local Trainer

The big bay...

And the short, fat sorrel...

...Went to the trainer. It's a sad state of affairs when I have to send already started horses to the trainer to get rode. :(

However, it's 'camping' season on a particular buckskin...
I get to ride the ever-loving snot out of him for the next 30 days and then HE is going to the trainer.

Poor Levi...I warned him...but he said he would take him on. Frosty will be going specifically for 30 days of being roped on.

Let's see...

He has a fear of ropes being swung around him...

He has a fear of ropes being swung on him...


He is petrified of cattle... I said...I feel sorry for Levi already. I'll do my best to get some brains rode into the horse before then and now. But I don't think that is going to help Levi when he gets his hands on him.


I'm hoping the time off helped the bay horse and he adapts a little better to training. He seems much calmer this time around and I am sure having his little buddy there will help.

Bugs...he's gonna be a cream-puff.

I may have discounted both Bugs' and Jet's future potential as barrel horses a bit prematurely. I don't mind being wrong. I still see Bugs as more of a calf roping/heeling/breakaway kind of horse...and actually that may work out well. Our neighbor's son is finishing up his roping arena and we (Megan and I) have been invited to go rope with them. I am most anxious to work on my breakaway skills as they have ladies breakaway roping at the local rodeo and ummm...pretty much all ya gotta do is catch and you are going to win some money. I like those odds. ;-) But since Bugs is Moon's 1/2 brother (same sire), I kinda get the feeling that if I get him all fit and show him how to do it...He might just catch onto that barrel racing thing.

After seeing how big some of the horses are that the girls are running barrels on now...I decided that maybe Jet isn't too tall after all. He seems to be finding his feet and after watching him make some awesome moves while I was trying in vain to catch the fool out in the pasture...I thought, Hmmmm...That's about all a horse needs to turn a barrel...Could be he'll be able to turn a can after all.

It still makes me laugh that of all of the horses around me and how closely I watch them move to see if they have any natural ability to move or run like a barrel horse needs to, this is the least likely candidate...
Seriously! Of all of the horses I have here...and probably out of all the horses we have...Moon is the most atrocious mover of them all. He hates to lope, can't stop and there is nothing smooth or fluid about the way he moves.

So what the heck right?

Sometimes you just gotta go with what you've got and they will surprise the hell out of ya.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Biggest Jerk

OMG...I am mortified...

FROSTY was the biggest ass EVER at the barrel racing today.

I thought he was doing pretty good in the a.m.-I ponied him around while riding Spooks and Frosty was going good. That was until I changed directions and deliberately went against traffic. Frosty was pretty sure every horse that passed him was going to eat him. People kept apologizing and I kept telling them it wasn't their fault. My horse is an A.S.S. and asked them to please ignore him and keep doing what they needed to do. *I* made sure to stay out of their way, but tried to keep the pressure on Frosty. He pulled back pretty good a couple of times, but I just dallied off and Spooks yanked him back into submission.

What a nimrod!!!

**I don't recommend that everyone think that is a good idea and try it...But I have HAD IT!!!! with the stupid buckskin.

Just before the first barrel race was over, I saddled him up and lead him to the warm-up area. I just wanted to give him time to stand around with a little activity going on and check everything out. I stood there with him while visiting with a friend of mine. Frosty looked pretty bug-eyed at everything, but stood his ground. When the barrel race was over, I (still visiting with my friend), stepped to the stirrup and prepared to swing on...

Frosty blew sideways and backwards at warp speed. It surprised me and he yanked the roping rein out of my hand.

**I did not startle him...I know Frosty well enough to know not to make any sudden movements around him.

That dirty sucker, bogged his head and bucked through a line of girls sitting on their horses, bucked across the gravel and bucked smack dab into my friend's trailer...startling her horse and making him pull back.

Several people ran to help, but I asked them to please not try to catch him, he was walking toward my trailer and when he does stupid stuff like this, trying to catch him only causes him to run around like an idiot...and I did NOT need him causing any more wrecks.

We made sure everyone else was okay, my friend's horse was okay, as was her trailer. (Whew)

I went back, caught Frosty and led him straight back out. Of course, his eyes were bugging out of his head and he was acting like a total and complete bronc...blowing, snorting and bowed up.

This time I made sure to take him into the arena, stepped on and made it two whole steps before he blew up.




By this time, I was PISSED OFF!!!

I done something I have never done to the horse before...

I went to whacking him in the belly with my spurs.

I figured if he wanted to buck...I was gonna make him give me every bit he had...which of course means I usually end up on the ground...but it's amazing how tight you can stick when you know about 50 people are watching you AND I was p.i.s.s.e.d. His pig squeals went to full on bronc bellows.

Frosty decided that getting poked full force in the belly was not fun for him and he quit bucking. I won't say he rode out nicely after that...He was still being a complete Ass, but he did not try to buck again.

I didn't have a chance to really get his head 'right' before they started watering and dragging for the second race, but I had to call it good for the moment...I knew there was no way we were going to make it through that in one piece and I sure as heck did not want to get anyone else hurt in case he did get me bucked off and got away again.

So I dismounted, loosened his cinch and led him out of the arena. I figured we could just hang out there while the last few barrel racers ran and he could a.b.o.r.b. some of what is going on and hopefully figure out not everything was going to kill him.

I had several people come over to make sure I was okay...I guess Frosty bucked harder than I thought he did. I don't know...I was seeing red at that time and I don't really remember much when I get that pissed off. I apologized to everyone for his ridiculous behavior...because really...who wants to be the one who takes a total bronc someplace and cause problems?

Not two seconds later, Frosty blew backwards, but this time I had a good hold on the reins and when he couldn't get away, he started spinning in circles. I know for a fact that my feet came off the ground more than once. No way was I letting go of those reins. I just ran and let him spin me in circles like a propeller, til he finally stopped. He was practically sitting down and here I am flopping around like a fish on the end of the line trying to find my feet, which wasn't helping calm him down any...Aggghhh!!!

By this time I am absolutely mortified and decide to get him completely out of sight. I took him back to the trailer to wait until the 2nd barrel race was over. What I wanted to do was take him back to the trailer and apply a little 2x4 logic to him.

**I don't do that...but that doesn't mean it doesn't cross my mind.

Round THREE...

Second barrel race over and everyone clearing out...Back to the arena we go. This time there was no major blow-up...I AGAIN apologized to everyone for my horse's ridiculous behavior and told them that in the future I would make sure to keep him as far from everyone as possible, but the only way he was ever going to get over acting like this was if I keep hauling him and forcing him to learn how to deal with 'the public'. Everyone was really nice about it and told me I hadn't caused anyone any problems (except for the initial wreck). Frosty finally kind of mellowed out. I won't say we reached a 'good' place, but he was doing what I asked and did not blow up when I got after him.

There's only going to be two outcomes to Frosty's fits...either he is going to kill me or I am going to break him from blowing up every.single.time something frightens him. This is just above and beyond ridiculous. This is a 9 y/o horse that has been hauled thousands of miles. He may not have been around tons of activity, but he's not exactly 'new' to the concept. There is no reason for this horse to act like this, except he thinks he can get away with it. Ain't happening!!!!

On a much happier note...Moon ran beautifully again and placed 5th in the Money Added barrel race and 3rd in the CWBRA race. Yaayyyyy $$$!!! I carried my time over, so he only ran once. I don't think Moon is ready to run 2 runs in one day. I'd like to have him a little more solid before doing that and maybe in a little better shape. He's running right in there with the tuff's though. I wasn't quite sure how to approach this run...should I let him coast or push him? I think it is more terrifying getting ready to run after a few good runs than it was when we were messing up all the time. In the end, I just let Moon do his thing. I don't have to ask him to run, he just does. Now that I have that firmly engrained in my head...I can focus on doing what I need to do to help him. I still feel like we are running a little wild, but friends say our runs look good and smooth. The clock says the same thing, so I am not going to dwell on what I might have done different. I think Moon has more to give, it's just going to take time and I see no reason to push. He'll give it to me when he's ready. I will say this though...there was one gal there that is usually the one to beat. She ran a 17.97...Moon ran a 18.01. If he's hot on the tail of that gal and the seasoned horse she runs...I'm ecstatic.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Moving On...

With Moon and Spooks finally going decently, it's time to start working with a couple more. Up until I started competing, I had kept up with Frosty's riding...

And been riding Turk a couple, three times a week...

It's not that riding Moon and Spooks takes so long that I couldn't fit in a couple more horses a day...but those two have actually been quite mentally draining. And of course, there is all of the extra care that goes into it-grooming, cold-hosing, massage, hoof care, etc., etc. It's just time consuming, but so necessary when you start competing. So I made Moon and Spooks my priority and put the others on 'when I feel like it' status. Because, quite frankly...these two are mentally draining as well.

When the EHV-1 shut everything down for a couple of weeks, I thought that would be a good time to start putting a little more effort into Turk. It wasn't long before I ran into a bit of a problem. He started breaking open in the scar tissue above his hoof...
Initially, I thought he was hitting himself, so started riding him with bell boots, but he would still be bleeding after a couple of days. I tried Crest toothpaste, thinking to seal that up...but that didn't work either. I have now resorted to Bag Balm to see if softening it might do the trick. I don't know if it will or not, but at this point, I just have to keep going with him and see if he's going to hold up or fall apart. I'm giving him until the middle of August. I plan on going back to SD then. Either he will have amounted to something or he'll have to go back.

It was a beautifully cool day today, so Megan and I went for a ride in the desert on these two. The plan is really just to get them out and do a lot of walking on them. Across country and up and down hills is what both of them need a lot of.

Actually, we'll probably start ponying Moon and Spooks with us when we ride. Now that both of them are doing so well, they don't need training, per se, just exercise to keep them fit and some hill work would do the two of them some good.

OT-but a little horticulture help...This bush smells soooo wonderful...
That I would like to have a few more around. It was here when be bought the place, so I'm not sure what it is. My best guess is Honeysuckle. Last year it hardly bloomed, so I never got the full effect of how delicious it smelled.

The combination of yellow and white flowers is unusual...
I only remembered a few yellow flowers on it last year. Was kind of surprised by the combination of color this year. Any ideas of what it is?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Few Words On Wednesday

Moon and I finally got the smoken' run we have worked so hard for. We ran a 17.23 at the Rimrock rodeo last night. We had the fast time in the slack, but got moved by the performance runs. Placed 4th overall. They only paid 3 monies. :(

**For comparison...the last time Moon ran in this arena, he ran an 18.78. And placed 3rd in the 3-D.

Megan and Spooks ran and the black horse is doing great. They ran a 19.74. Only time will tell if the black horse has more to give, but for now we're happy. I still think he's going to make a better rope horse than barrel horse, but I think this is good for him. He's learning how to stretch out and run a little.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday Fun, Sunday Run

Okay, so the Saturday fun post can wait...

Sunday it was back to barrel racing. I was really looking forward to running in this covered arena...Moon usually does really well inside. We ended up making a respectable run...considering...

The ground was so slick that several barrel racers pulled out after seeing how bad it was, several horses left limping from severe slips and near falls and there was one hellava wreck...

I opted to safety up and not push Moon. No ONE barrel race is worth injuring a horse when you know the ground is not good. As seems to be the case, we were actually sitting pretty good with an 18.7, one of the few times below 19 seconds and ONE horse managed to smoke a 17.55 in that slippery ground and moved everyone drastically. (shrugs) One day, I hope to be the person who does that. ;-) I'm still happy with Moon's run, if not was at least smooth and he kept his footing pretty good...

Miss Megan has decided she missed going to the events, so I took pity on her and gave her Spooks to ride. I thought they did awesome together, especially considering it is only his 4th trip out and Megan's 1st time running him...

I landed in between the $$ slots...again, but Megan picked up a check for 2nd in the 4D in the Youth division. I told Moon, he either has to run a little faster or a little slower and we'll pick up some $$ too. LOL...Preferably f.a.s.t.e.r....

To make the day even more fun, Mandie and Eric of ACountryCowgirl came over to watch and visit. It's really a shame we don't get to see more of each other...we live so close to each other...and yet so far, as I seldom have barrel racings in her neck of the woods and she doesn't have much time to come over this way.

Well, we'll try 'er again on Tuesday, at an arena we know has good ground....

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Not A Myth...

...I really can get Moon to turn a smoken' good 2nd barrel!!

(Doing the happy dance...taking my 15 minutes of happiness and punching the sky in victory!)

Gotta say...sending a HUGE bear-hug to GoLightly...

Her question about sprinting Moon to get comfortable with his speed?

Yeaaa...Got me to thinking...

(A dangerous and not always productive passtime)

Anyway, I answered her, that Yes, I have sprinted Moon and am actually quite comfortable with how fast he can go...


I wondered about setting a random barrel out in the field and just practicing running to it and making that left hand if I was coming off of 1st, but not actually practicing the entire barrel pattern.

Well, I didn't get that barrel set out, but I did practice a few sprints this week and mentally envisioned getting ready to turn the 2nd barrel.

OMG...Just the thought made me tighten up and start riding funky. Talk about a mental freak-out. Over an imaginary barrel and turn?...I guess you could say I needed to get my head right.

So I just kept practicing...with no barrel. Just the mental picture in my mind. By Wednesday, I had my brain and body working together and I could sprint Moon off in a straight line and get him to turn the exact circle I wanted.

Now how the hell would I have ever figured that out without GL's innocent question?

Now we are just going to work on consistency. If *I* can get it right, Moon will obviously get it right. Right?

Now for the funny part...

Moon was getting a bit goofy on me about going in the gate the last 2 runs. Nothing serious, just a few half-hearted lunges sideways. At the last barrel race, after our run, I just kept him saddled and hung out at a comfortable distance from the gate. During rakes, I would tighten his cinch, get on and ride him into the arena. The first couple of times he was a bit silly. After the 4th time, he was my nice, calm Moon again.

So at tonight's run, I was the 6th runner and up immediately after the rake. While the arena was being raked, I rode into the arena and moved Moon around a little bit. When the rake was done, I just stayed in the arena. Moon was nice and quiet, so I thought that would be good for him.


The girl closed the gate and it flitted across my brain, that Moon might not realize it was time to run. I thought about asking her to open the gate, so I could ride in, but thought...Nawwww...That's being silly.

I started for 1st barrel and do not ask me what the heck I was doing, but rather than gather Moon up and send him to 1st barrel like I do every other time, I just kinda picked up with my right hand...I guess Moon thought we were going to do a circle, cause he just headed off to the right. If we hadn't already been past the timer, I might have just let him make that circle...but it was too late. I had to get my reins gathered up and straighten him out. About that time Moon realized we were running and gassed it....

We went flying by 1st barrel.

I'll give the horse credit, he whipped around and came out of 1st in perfect position to run to 2nd. I really was laughing out loud as we ran past that barrel. What else can you do? I made the error and Moon fixed it for me as best as he could.

Oh more lesson learned. Experience sure is expensive...LOL.

So anyway, even with that major bobble, we took over 3 tenths off of our last time at that arena. Moon ran a 19.13. Without a doubt, we would have finally broke back into the 18's less my brain-fart.

I don't care...Moon turned a smoken' good 2nd barrel and I wasn't freaked out. Thanks GL!!

(More happy dancing)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Equine Photo Shoot

Meg and I tried to do a photo shoot of Spooks this morning, unfortunately I turned off my alarm and we got a bit of a late start. The sun was getting to high and I didn't exactly give Megan the easiest colored horse to shoot to start her out on. Black/Dk Brown is notoriously hard to shoot and harsh light makes it almost impossible.
I do like this one, even if Spook's back feet are a bit wonky...
And I like this one...
This one might be salvageable if I remove the leadrope and brighten it a bit...
Megan did get some very pretty headshots of the horse though...

It's going to take a little practice for my budding photographer. Megan has an artistic eye with a camera and is good at taking interesting shots...just not quite what I'm looking for for conformation photos. I'm not any means...I really appreciate that she is willing to do this for me. I just need to get her to zoom out a bit and get the whole horse in the pic, with plenty of room on the edges for printing. This is a darned good start, but we'll try to get more either this evening or on another morning...e.a.r.l.y.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Finished The Landscaping...Forgot The Sunscreen

I finally got back to work on the rest of the landscaping I started. The unfinished section went from this...

To this...

One of my new daylilies bloomed...
One of the few buds that did not get beat to death in the 50+ mph winds we had over Memorial Day weekend. :-(

I also put together this end...
(That poor little charlie brown crab apple tree...You can see what the winds are like out here by the way it grew. I tied it off and am going to see if I cannot slowly work the growth back over the other direction. If not...I'm ripping that sucker out. It drives me NUTS.)
And forgot to put on any sunscreen....It was only 86F degrees. Ummm...Owwwwww!

All that's left is the grass in the middle...
I have yet to get that raked, sprayed for weeds and reseeded. I guess that's on the to-do list for the next time I feel ambitious.

Megan says, 'Mom...the dumpster hides everything when you pull in the yard.'...Well that my dear, can be moved.

The other thing was, GoLightly brought up a good point when she mentioned I had planted quite thickly. True...I did. But I really don't care for the 'waiting to fill in' look. I don't really think of these beds as 'permanent' anyway. Although everything I planted in them are perinnials...they are easy plants to dig up and break apart when necessary. I like self-replicating plants. LOL

Well, at least one spot around here is almost done. Next on the list is getting the house stuccoed (and maybe some windows replaced with better quality ones)...The contractor stopped today to pick up a check for supplies to fix my 2-stall barn...I cannot WAIT to have that fixed. While he was here, I told them I wanted a loafing shed added onto my 2 permanent corrals as well. When they come to start on the barn roof, we will finalize the plans for that and as soon as they finish the barn, they can build the loafing shed.

If the house is stuccoed by then...we can reshingle the house and get gutters up. It sure would be nice to get some of the big stuff out of the way around here. Then I can contemplate important an a.r.e.n.a. ??? LOL

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Second Set Of Eyes

Man, it's good to be back to running barrels with the crowd I have gotten to know. I didn't have a stellar run on Moon in Montrose tonight. First was great. He came out in perfect form and headed straight for his pocket at second. And has become all too familiar...things got wonky. We made it around 2nd, although I did have to yank Moon to almost a dead standstill to keep him from knocking the barrel over. Third was good.

What it feels like to me is that when I ask Moon to give me his nose and rate for the turn, he just thrusts his shoulder into the turn. I KNOW it's because of something I am either doing or not doing.

Thank goodness one of my friends met me at the gate and said, 'I know you didn't mean to do that, but it was almost an awesome run.' (I'm thinking...Of course I do not mean to do that...)

I told her, 'I just cannot seem to get his nose to come before his shoulder. I thought using the new bit I got would help, but I'm doing something to cause this and I am at a loss of what to do with my hands to help my horse.'

She said, 'Yea, it might help if you didn't start checking him at the halfway point.'

I'm like, 'What? Seriously, I started checking him way back there?'

She's like, 'Yea. You checked him 3 times before you even got to to the barrel and I could see him squatting for you every time, so by the time you get to the barrel, he has no momentum left and just dives into it.'

Well, good, freaking, night! No wonder the poor horse is doing what he is doing.

I had absolutely NO IDEA I was even checking him.

I'm guessing that is the reason I can make nice runs in smaller arenas but when we get into the big patterns, I start having problems. I'm not even going to lie...Moon's speed is a little intimidating when he gets room to unwind. I keep telling myself to ride him forward into his pockets and I can on 1st and 3rd. I guess we have just had so many problems with 2nd that I can't shake the 'oh crap' feeling I get when he is really rolling toward 2nd.

Oh well, it wasn't a disastrous run. We didn't knock a barrel and I got some good insight from a second pair of eyes from someone I trust knows what she is seeing. We placed 7th in the money, but there were 8 of us packed in the 3D with times ranging from 19.3 to 19.48. Our time was a 19.46. In spite of our problem at 2nd, Moon felt like he was running free and easy and at a comfortable speed for him. Not nearly as fast as he can run...which is fine with me. If I can't ride him when he is running a 3D time, I can't even imagine the mess it would be if I actually asked him to really run. He wasn't even blowing after his I know he wasn't even trying (He's not in that good of shape).

On a funnier note...I took Frosty with to keep getting him used to being ridden around activity. He had quite the hump in his back when I saddled him, so I left him tied to the trailer until the barrel race was over and then headed to the arena. Frosty was really looky-looing, but was moving out nicely. I bumped him into a long trot. The second time around the arena, he noticed the open gate and tried to head that way. I pulled him around and bumped him with my spur. He stuck his nose in the dirt and started making these ridiculous high-pitched little squeals. I pulled his head up and kicked him forward. This time, he really bogged his head, bucked in one spot and kept making those ridiculous high-pitched squeals. I was trying not to laugh, because seriously...if Frosty wants to buck me off...he CAN. I was really hoping he wasn't going to go there. I finally got his head pulled up, but he kept hogging around, not wanting to move in any direction but the open gate....and squealing. Talk about a temper tantrum! LMAO

I finally got him lined out and when I came around the end of the arena again, there was like 10 people standing there watching us. One guy says, 'You all right?' I just laughed and told him, 'Yea, I think he got over his pig imitation.' Thankfully, that was the end of Frosty's antics. I didn't get him rode down like I wanted because it got dark on us, but he did pretty good. I'm going to start hauling him with me everywhere and taking the time to ride him. As much as I like the black horse, I don't think he has the kind of speed I'm looking for. Frosty is really learning to stretch out and the power just oozes from him. Hopefully, I learn how to ride a fast barrel horse one of these days. ;-)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When You Just Can't Take The BS Anymore!

You know...I am pretty much a live and let live kind of person. I believe strongly in karma.

Well, Cathy Atkinson of FuglyHorse (aka-FuglyHorseOfTheDay) has finally stepped in it and hopefully enough people read this and spread the truth that even more people realize what a lying piece of crap this 'self-proclaimed expert' and 'faux rescuer' is and start to tune her out.

The fact of the matter is, Cathy Atkinson has dumped one of her PERSONAL horses off at Second Chance Ranch rescue and is having her good friend, Katie pawn the horse off as if it was a rescued horse.

The link to Second Chance Ranch's photo and comments...Second Chance Ranch

The horse in question is Frankie, a coming 4 y/o palomino gelding that Cathy refers to as her Big Gold Yearling. (Except SCR has him listed as a 3y/o)

Here's a link to the breeder's page, referencing that Cathy was taking the orphaned foal that the breeder had managed to save and raise...Yellow Horses Inc. According to the breeder, Cathy promised to pay for the foal and never did. What she did do was take the foal to another friend of her's property, who just happened to be an animal control officer and the foal was proclaimed a 'rescue'. That was 3 years ago.

Funny how none of that came out until fugs decided that after she had managed to injure this young horse TWICE and he is not particularly sound. So she gave him to Second Chance Ranch to put some training on and rehome?

'My Big Gold Yearling, now a 2 year old (I must stop with these age-related names), was almost sold and then tore up a muck bucket with his forelegs and re-injured his radial nerve. So he is going out to sit and eat for the winter and we’ll re-evaluate in the spring. He is over 16 hands already and looking to outgrow the VLC. Just hoping he comes sound so he can do something with his life!'-Published August 31, 2009

Wow...coming from a woman who has spent the last few years on the internet ripping people to shreds for doing the same kind of thing...Taking an orphaned foal that someone else raised to weaning age, not paying for it, repeatedly injuring it and then dumping the still-not-trained youngster off at your friend's rescue...


You go fugs...Your really showing the horse world how it's supposed to be done!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's All The Rage

It's kind of funny that Paint Girl's recent post was about her testing the waters with her 2 y/o, Chance....(as if any of you don't read her blog...LOL)

It really wasn't my intention today to copycat that. ;-) But the sorrel horse pulled back while I was trying to halter him and it really pissed me off. Every spring and summer, I end up dealing with this horse becoming a nightmare to halter. Dangerous even, as he is quite violent about slinging his head and yanking away. Why he primarily does it in the spring and summer, I do not know. I suspect a bit of it has to do with the fact that he has the papillomavirus in his ears. However, several of my brother's horses have that and nothing else becomes headshy unless the virus is active. Since I realized what was going on a couple of years ago and have doctored everyone's ears that have the virus, I have had no problems with active lesions. I guess I could understand if the sorrel horse was actually sensitive about his ears...but he is not. He's quite willing to let me rub his ears and smear Swat in and around them to keep the knats out. If it was something he did all of the time, I might suspect he needed his poll adjusted...but that is not the case either. So while it may have some physical roots, I am leaning toward...the damn horse has nothing better to do than overreact when it suits him. He may be fine 5 times in a row and freak the sixth time or he may freak out about it for days on end. I also know he gets over it reaaaallll quick when his BS is not tolerated. ;-)

After he freaked out on me and drug me half way around the round pen, I got out the flag and put his butt to work. When he finally grew his brain back and dropped his head into the halter properly...I figured I had taken all the wind out of his sails and it was as good a time as any to...

He's actually a pretty neat little horse. Whatever his 'boogery' issues are about when being handled on the ground, they don't translate to when he is being ridden. THANK GOD!

Remember what I said last post about, Monkey see, Monkey do?...
First Megan flopped all over B, then she scooched into a sitting position...
Sat up and rubbed B all over...
Scooched back, flopped all over her some more and slid off...
Beretta took a few steps of her own accord and then just stopped. Meg flexed her both directions while sitting on her and we called it good. Does that count as a first ride? ;-)

* Using a bucket with a handle on it is NOT recommended as a stepping stool. If a horse/colt knocks it over, they can get a leg through that and it's a hellava wreck. I told Meg that, but she was already on.