Sunday, July 31, 2011

On The Bubble

I guess that's where you could say Moon and I are.

We are capable of making awesome runs...

If we can just keep it together.

So this last week, I spent riding and practicing with a friend. It was enlightening. She's an awesome barrel racer, a good horsewoman...and a real joy to spend time with.

One of the (many) things I have not been able to figure out lately is why Moon is running past 1st barrel. He's always had a really good 1st barrel...

That is until he started running to it a little faster. Sometimes we would get it...most of the time lately...not so much.

He still sets into it really well...he just overstrides on the back and then has to sort of rotate around to come out in the correct position.

If nothing else this has been drilled into my head that if Moon makes mistakes...I'm usually the cause.

Rider error is about 99% of mistakes that happen during a barrel run. Rider error causes about 90% of habitual 'problems' horses start having during a run. The other 10% is due to some sort of pain issue with the horse that causes them to have to start compensating during their runs.

So when my friend (L)) asked me if I wanted to come over and ride with her, I jumped at the chance. Her opinion I trust and having a knowledgeable second set of eyes is like money in the bank. Literally!!

Now, when I say 'practice' I should make it clear...I do not do full practice runs on Moon. He doesn't need that anymore. What Moon needs is specific work, at specific spots in his run. Not that making full practice runs is depends on what works for the horse and where they are at. Moon acts like he is an easy going, dead-head...but he is far from being one. He can go from zero to stupid in nothing flat. So I keep practice work very quiet and very specific.

Since we were over-running 1st, I wanted to practice loping him up to first, bring his rate spot back a little farther and make him stop properly-hind end up under him, with a nice, straight body. Moon likes to lean into his right hand run to 1st a bit...okay...It used to be A LOT. Now it is just a little bit. Now when I feel him start to lean, I stop him, counter arc and lope off again in the correct lead. Upright body, hips underneath him.

The first thing L noticed was that I ride very forward (like you all have seen that in my videos-LOL). The second thing she noticed was that I was not sitting down in the saddle until I got right up to the rate spot. Then I would sit and ask for my 'pseudo' reining horse stop. Mostly I was feeling for the correct time in the stride to ask for the stop so that my horses would be properly gathered and stop on their hindquarters.

It's not just Moon I ride like's all of my horses.

L told me to start sitting at least 2 strides earlier and to perhaps use a verbal cue (nod to kestrel because she mentioned this as well) to help my horses realize they needed to gather for the rate. So I tried it and of course my horses came to an errchy stop way too far back from their rate spot.

So L explained to me that needed to sit, give the verbal cue to rate and sort of push my horses forward at the same time, so that they just kind of glided into that rate spot.

Well, what do you know?

Once I got it figured out and the horses figured it out...Moon, Frosty and Turk were just crawling into their rate spots. Moon immediately picked up his strides around the turn, Turk tried like hell...That poor horse starts his turns so well, but is not yet capable of holding a frame all the way through the turn. Frosty is the one who impressed the heck out of me. Holy crap...Is he going to be a nice barrel horse. I have started putting some serious work into him and all I need him to do is figure out he needs to change his lead between 1st and 2nd barrel and he'll be ready to start running.

The only other thing Moon needs to have reinforced regularly is traveling and rating straight into his 2nd barrel. He still wants to shoulder that barrel somewhat, but with regular reinforcement (at slow speeds), counter arcing every time we stop at the rate spot and making him honor his pocket...he is not determined to smash into it anymore...mostly I have to concentrate really hard during a run that when we leave 1st barrel NOT to look AT the 2nd barrel, but to look at my pocket.

That specific, correct, precise practice and the hint about sitting earlier paid off on Friday night.

Moon ran the 2nd fastest time in the slack (I got stuck there because I entered the rodeo late due to not knowing how much time Moon would need off after his back spasm). It was a 17.63. The fast time was a 17.49. He was smoken'. We ended up 3rd after the performance runs. One gal snuck in there with a 17.58. So yea...we did not get outrun. That was still a nice check.

I wasn't very impressed with the ground at this rodeo. I watched the first 10 barrel racers and most of them were having problems with 1st. It just didn't look like their horses were setting into the ground. It was kind of shallow and somewhat cloddy so they were kind of skittering across the top. It didn't help a lot of them that 1st barrel was set very close to the bucking chute either. So my game plan was mostly to let Moon coast and really work on sitting earlier to see if we could improve our turns. It didn't feel like Moon was running at all. We just glided to 1st barrel, I sat a couple of strides earlier and gave him a 'hup, hup' and he whipped around that barrel in perfect form. Second and 3rd were exactly the same. When they announced our time...I was really surprised...cause like I didn't feel like Moon was running. He was just effortless and didn't waste any time.

I'm hear to tell ya...the hardest thing in the world to follow is 'a good run'. I've had so many 'what the hell was that all about' runs, followed by some 'those were pretty decent but room to improve', followed by 'what the hell was that runs'. I was a nervous wreck on Saturday. For the life of me, I KNOW what I did on the first run...I just wasn't sure if I could do it again.

Moon was hotter than a firecracker on Saturday as well. I spent most of the waiting time, hand-walking him around and around the arena. He was walking all over the top of me, spooking at everything and just generally being a pain in the butt. When I got on, I stood him as far away as I dared and didn't take him into the entry area until the girl before me was running. I stood him at the back of the entry area next to the fence. Moon likes to have something...anything next to him when he is nervous...and boy was he nervous.

Yep, I know nerves from the rider pass to the horse. I am always very aware of that and don't pick up on the reins, make sure to keep my legs loose and don't squeeze my butt muscles. Sometimes it doesn't matter. I think more than anything Moon could sense that I wasn't mentally ready for this run and it was freaking him out.

When they opened the gate, Moon headed in, but kept ducking left, then right. He always kept moving it wasn't resistance to entering...he was just amped to the gourd. When we entered the arena, he would not turn his head to look at the 1st barrel. He just stuck his nose straight in the air. (I took his tie-down off after Montrose because he just wasn't clocking with it on...I could control him...but what difference does that make if he won't run?)

When he pivoted, he took a couple of trotting steps...saw first barrel and just shot off like a rocket. He was on that 1st barrel before I ever had a chance to sit down...and of course...blew it out. I knew at that point he was going to shoulder 2nd and I really started to get ahold of him. I shut him down a bunch, but kept him off that barrel. The rest of the run was fine.

I was trying really hard not to think about the average, but you know what...after Moon blew out 1st barrel...I knew we just needed to keep all of those barrels up and we would most likely pick up an average check. I safety'ed up. The thing is, it felt like Moon was running way harder this run than he did the other run...he never clocks when he feels like he is running hard. He looses that effortless stride that covers so much ground and makes good time.

He only ran an 18.01. There had already been a 17.10 and a 17.20. We were sitting 3rd after the slack, with 10 runners in the perf to go. I knew that 18.01 most likely wasn't going to hold up. That is just too big of a gap in times not to have some of those other girls slip in there. I was actually quite surprised that only 3 did. There was a 17.3, a 17.4 and a 17.63 in the perf and that was it. So we ended up with the 6th fastest time out of 45 barrel racers...which considering I thought our run was horrible...wasn't so bad after all.

I picked up a check for being 2nd in the 2D and ended up 2nd in the Average.

So ya know...I'm not really complaining. It was a lucrative weekend...finally.

I will say this...I think Moon and I have reached a break-over's time to back off and make each run count. Moon is in there. He can finally run with the big kids...but he's not solid enough mentally to handle a bunch of back to back runs yet. Nor am I apparently.

I think the best course of action for awhile is go to my weekly local rodeo (there's not many left) on Tuesday and pick one run for the weekend. That gives us a chance to run...take a deep breath, relax a little and reinforce correctness before we run again.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Legitimate Question

I got this comment on my last post and happen to think it is a very legitimate question...

"Anonymous said...
*elephant in the corner*

If your horse is so sore you have to ice his back, and you're giving him bute ...

Isn't it time to take more than a week off?

Is bute legal in your local region? In many equestrian events, it's highly illegal to compete a horse on bute ..."

Believe me, when I saw Moon was lame...the very first thing that crossed my mind was if I was going to need to 'vet out' from the two rodeos I was entered in last weekend.

However, I was lucky this time as I noticed the lameness on Wednesday evening and wasn't up to run again until Friday night. Time was on my side to kind of figure things out.

Secondly, I am very fortunate that I have a host of professionals, who I trust, who are just a phone call away and I am very willing to haul my horse to them for examination. They know me well enough that they feel free to be brutally honest. I am not even going to lie...I have carefully networked and developed friendships in the local horse world. I am of the belief that if you want to be the best, you have to know the best. If even one of the three professionals that I had examine Moon before leaving for the rodeos had said, 'It's best if you don't run him.' I would have scratched my runs and paid my fines.

I have no doubt that as we keep going, there is going to come a time when that will be required...this just wasn't one of those times. Moon had a muscle spasm in his back and THIS time, bute was used in an appropriate manner.

I haven't given a horse bute in over a decade, until this incident and Moon only got 2 doses. I am not a believer in dosing my horses with bute every time they get a little sore or get a little boo-boo. Pain/soreness is an indicator to both me and the horse. I think one of the worst things you can do to a horse that is injured is kill the pain. Then they don't know they are hurt and will often do more damage to themselves rather than use some caution. There is a ton of items on the market that have anti-inflammatory properties or promote healing without actually numbing the horse's pain.

Soreness is another need to find the root. I already knew the likely cause of what caused Moon's muscle spasm...which is a post in itself. That was hopefully fixed by the farrier.

As for time off...Well...I never had any intention of 'not riding' Moon when I said we needed a week off. I meant I was going to skip the local rodeo on Tuesday and not enter the weekend rodeo. With the heat and so much traveling...both Moon and I were feeling a little limp. Riding, however is my best indicator of how Moon feels and since he no longer had any back pain by Saturday morning, the soreness issue was pretty much mute.

I gave Moon Sunday off and let him loaf in the pasture. Monday, I rode and he felt fine. Tuesday...

He was back on fire and rearing to go. I was actually quite disappointed I had not entered the Tuesday rodeo. Oh well, we spent the week riding with a friend, working on patterning, my timing in the runs and riding in the desert. It was a great week. Moon felt awesome and I got a lot of good insight.

Now mind you, the horse was given 2 doses of bute. One dose on the Friday before at 5 pm and one dose on Saturday morning at 5 am. There was no way there was anything left in his system by Tuesday morning that would have numbed any pain he was in. He was just back to himself and moreso than ever. Hey...with a horse that is rearing to don't waste a weekend sitting at home...I ended the weekend rodeo late and we will be running.

As for the 'is bute legal' question...

Rodeo does not test. EVER...for any any region...or any association. Nor does the NBHA (to my knowledge).

You'll most likely never get any either. Unlike horse shows/associations, rodeo is based on the winnings of the person, not the horse they ride. Now that being said, 'Rodeo' is far more interested in promoting the humane treatment of the animals people use to compete than most horse shows I've been to. If I was to yank and jerk on a horse at a rodeo, like what is common to see in a horse show warm-up pen, I would most likely be fined and if it became a pattern...kicked out of the association. Physical abuse is not tolerated at rodeos, in the arena or back at the trailer. What you do to keep your horse performing your business. If you are stupid enough to want to ruin your horse for that 'one run' then they aren't going to say anything.

Now I am sure that people will disagree with what constitutes 'physical abuse'. Just because someone is rougher than their horse than you would be with yours does not mean the horse is abused. Just because someone uses a stronger bit than what you use, does not mean the horse is abused. But...if you see someone at a rodeo recklessly/repeatedly yanking, spurring or whipping a horse, all you have to do is get someone else to witness the actions with you and turn them in at the office. It's as easy as that. Put up your complaint or shut up about it.

Considering the number of 'legal' drugs that a person can use on a horse in the show world to keep a horse going...I do find it ironic that bute is considered 'bad'. I mean, I know the reason behind it...You can make a 3-legged lame horse appear to be sound with the use of bute...but in the grand scheme of's far less disturbing than the lengths I KNOW the show world goes to to keep a horse going.

There is also a large number of products on the market that have the same properties as bute and the ads specifically say...'Will Not Test' just because someone is not using one product...does not mean they are not using another.

I guess the base line is-this time I had the luxury of a couple of days before hand to figure out what was going on with my horse. I consulted 3 professionals (talked to a couple others), my horse was sound before I left and completely fine by the next morning...he wasn't sore after the bute wore off and is back to his normal self (and then some).

I'm okay with the decision I made. Particularly since I think the bute and ice is what got the spasm out of Moon's back without any residual soreness. Hopefully that answers your questions Anon and I sure didn't mind that you asked them.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Moon and I are tired. This has been a long season already, lots of runs, lots of changes and I think both of us need a break.

In spite of the drama before we left for the rodeos, Moon performed. Not up to his usual standards. At Montrose he did not fire and even though he had a nice, solid run, we were no where near being in the top.

The vet told me to give him 2 grams of Bute before we left for Montrose and when I got there to put a bag of ice on his back and leave it there until it melted or I had to saddle up....
This is funny....I no sooner got Moon's ice pack situated and strapped down and this lady come running up out of nowhere and asked me, 'What's wrong with your horse?'

I was kind of startled. I have no idea where she came from. I was parked way in the back along the horse track and had Moon on the off side of the trailer. I wasn't hiding him or anything...there were horses tied to another trailer beside me and this way he was out of the way.

I told her his back was sore and I needed to ice it. She stood there watching me for the longest time. It was a little un-nerving, but kind of funny. She never said anything else to me, so I just kept going about my business and the next time I looked over, she was gone. I have no idea what that was about. I'm not really an anti-social person. I'll talk to anyone who wants to talk to me...unless I determine they are a dumb-ass and then I'm done...but I find a lot of people exceptionally strange these days.

My Honey and I spent the night in Montrose and left for Norwood bright and early the next morning. I was up in the slack at 9 a.m. and was the 'gunner' (first runner).

I gave Moon 2 more grams of bute, even though he showed absolutely no soreness. I wasn't sure if the up and down, twisty mountain roads would cause him to sore up again or not, so better to be safe than sorry at that point.

Moon was definitely awake at Norwood. But I was disappointed in the ground. They didn't water the ground until after 8 a.m. and they got a little carried away. Even after the ground was worked, I knew it was going to be slow. It just looked and felt sticky. It sure was, Moon got hung on both his 1st and 2nd barrels...

The big blow-out at 3rd barrel was totally my fault. I carried my bat with me to encourage Moon to run a little harder to 1st and for some ungodly reason, did not switch it from my left to my right hand. I'm just not used to carrying a bat anymore I guess. When Moon went to set into the 3rd barrel, I tipped my hand, Moon saw the bat right there by his eye and just blew away from it. I was like, 'What the hell?', realized he was spooking from the bat, dropped my hand and he took off running again.

One thing I really noticed in this video and sort of felt the last few runs, was the fact that Moon's strides are off in his turns. He's kind of scrambling and getting a lot of hang time. Surprisingly, considering the big blow out at 3rd, we ended up having one of the top times in slack, but the performance runs the night before had been quite a bit faster, so we we still nowhere near the top.

It's just time to skip a week of running and go back to the practice pen. Moon needs to find his strides in the turn again and we both need a chance to get our fire back.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

That Cussing You Hear...

...Is me having one of the worst weeks e.v.e.rrrrrrrr!

First my phone disappears...

(So if I used to have your number, I no longer do...Yes...I am one of those techno idiots who didn't back up my numbers. So if you want me to have your number again...please email it to me.)

Then Bob dies...

I go pick up the sorrel horse from the trainer...
He looks good huh? Even with all of his 'war paint' on...I know he's been ridden, but he never did get ridden outside. The WHOLE freaking reason I sent him to the trainer. Trainer's reason for NOT riding him out in the desert?

He's barefoot!

(I'm not even go there. I was afraid if I opened my mouth...It would be ugly from the first word. I just loaded my horse and left.)

Massive family drama...that went on for dayyyyyyssssssss!

(I seriously thought about driving off and disappearing. I daydream like that sometimes. I do NOT do drama.)

I ran at Rimrock on Tuesday. Moon didn't feel right during warm-up. He was not lame and I could not find any indicators of what was wrong. He just did not feel like...'Moon'. But he ran well. Pilot error caused a blow-by on 1st barrel. We placed 4th...They only paid 3 places.

I decided it was time to go ahead with the shoes...I'll explain that more in detail later...

However...I always turn Moon out to pasture after a run. I think it alleviates a lot of muscle stiffening/soreness if a horse gets a chance to keep moving. Because I knew I was getting shoes on Moon the next morning, I decided to just let him have a day off and let him loaf in the pasture with the rest of the herd. That evening when I went to get him up for grain, he was lame.

Left hip.

Since it was too late to do anything about it that night and I knew my farrier would be able to help me pinpoint what was going on...I just left him out for the night.

He was much better this morning, but still 'off'. The farrier determined he was out in his mid-back and sore all the way over his left hip to his hock. Had the farrier go a head and shoe him.

(Oh great...I'm entered in two rodeos this weekend and I immediately start wondering if I need to 'vet out'.)

Went with event shoes on the front...

And plains on the back...

I called a friend, got her equine chiro's number and scheduled an appointment for Moon. Figuring worst case scenario, I can have him worked on, see what he is like in the morning and then decide if I need to have my vet give me a vet release so I can vet out of the rodeos.

Chiro agrees to see Moon, but it won't be til late in the evening. I bring Moon home. Gather the rest of the herd from the pasture and find that the scrape Turk picked up last weekend has causes his whole lower leg to swell...
Seriously, it was not that big of a scrape and I swabbed it with Swat to keep the flies out before turning him out.

So that needed cold-hosed and doctored.

Before doing that, I go catch Beretta so she can go out to pasture and graze for a few hours and find this...
Really? It hardly seem possible that I did not notice THAT this morning. I did notice she had a scrape on her chest this it went from that to THIS in a matter of a few hours?

I have no idea...My only guess is that she ran into the pipe fence?

At what...Mach 10?


I said to hell with it and turned her out on pasture for a few hours. Movement usually helps these things go down. When I got her in this evening I cold-hosed it and rubbed it down with External Rub. I guess I will have to see what it looks like tomorrow and may have to get the vet out for two horses.

Loaded Moon up...again...took him to the equine chiro and had him worked over. If you could call it that. I didn't even to think to ask my friend if the chiro manually manipulated or used mallets. I don't think the mallet crap works worth a shit and of course that is what this guy uses. Hell...I could go buy myself a couple of rubber mallets and tap on my own horses muscles for all that effort seemed worth...and it cost me $60. I was nice though. My bad for not asking and he was kind enough to get me in on an emergency.

On the way home I called my farrier. We are going to see what Moon feels like in the morning and if he is still sore, the farrier swears he can use his electromagnetic machine and fix him up. I should have just had him do that this morning.

So I get home and get to cold hose my 3rd horse of the day. I figured the best thing to do at this point was cold hose him...
And DMSO his back, hips and hocks.

I don't know what Moon did to his back. I'm guessing he was just getting sore already (which I attributed to his feet) and running on Tuesday was the one run too much.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

R.I.P. Bob

Baby Bob did not make it.

Darn it!

I thought he looked a little to docile last night and his poop didn't look the same.

He lasted days longer than I ever thought he would and seemed to be thriving up until last night.

Poor little guy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This Aughta Get Good Now... bear with me...

I didn't win a dime this weekend. Had 2 nice enough runs, almost identical times, both of which fell in the crack of 'win nothing'.

Here's the links to the videos if you want to watch them...



If you happen to watch the videos...At Hotchkiss I opted to carry a bat. Normally I don't...Moon hasn't really needed any encouragement to run, but I wanted to see if I couldn't get him to power out of first a little bit. He really doesn't stretch out and start running until a couple of strides out of 1st, which kind of makes that straightaway a bit difficult to ride. I figured if I could get him to power up a little sooner, he would be lined out and taking 2nd would be easier. He really does turn better when he is running harder vs. when he is just coasting along. My bat has a big popper on it. It makes a lot of noise, but that's about it.

BTW...The tie-down is working very well for us. I have the adjustment just right now. Moon is using it to balance on and really starting to drive into his barrels better. I think the polo wraps are helping to. He just seems so much more comfortable driving into his pockets and is staying a lot more gathered up.

Anyway...I was quite disappointed that our time was not faster at Hotchkiss. It felt like a really nice, smooth run. I knew that Moon got a little hung at 3rd, but a lot of horses did. The ground was a bit sticky for everyone.

I did something I usually don't do...won't do it again...but it was worth it. I think!

At NBHA runs...some days they have Double Headers. Two runs on the same day. When you enter, you have the option of entering one or both barrel races. If you enter both barrel races, you have the option of carrying your time from the first run over to the second barrel race. You still pay 2 entry fees, but only have to put one run on your horse. If you have a great's to your benefit. If you knock a barrel, you are out in both of the runs. So that is No Bueno!

Normally I carry over, because I am not fond of running my horses back to back, unless they are very green and basically long loping the pattern....or very solid and can make the same run time after time without it messing with their head. Moon is neither. He's still figuring a lot of this running business out...Me too.

I mentally debated the pros and cons of running two times in one day, but I ignored my trepidation of running twice in one day...I wanted to know if Moon would run faster on a 2nd run than he has been on his first. Sometimes it does work to bring the 'fire' level up and helps them to figure out they need to run a bit harder.

My friends have been telling me that I am NOT running to 1st very fast. To me, it feels like Moon is really starting to stretch out and run a little harder than before. So really the goal was to just ride through the gate and let him go.

And GO he did. When we went through that gate and I gave Moon his head, it felt like someone punched the rocket launcher button.


What I thought was 'running' before...

Not even close!

I wished I could say the run was a stunning success and we took major time off...


Not this time. As is always, when Moon turns it up a notch...or five in this case...I always seem to get left behind.

Moon ran into 1st so hard and whipped around that barrel so damn fast...

I literally was hanging onto the horn with both hands and clutching with all my might. I blew both stirrups too. I mean, he whipped me like I was a rag doll. NOW I am going to need rubber bands!

I HAD NO IDEA that was coming.

It was sooooo stinking close to being the start of a fabulous run, but I had no stirrups, was trying to get my reins gathered up again and damned if Moon didn't almost make it around 2nd all on his own. I think if I could have just got my balance and gone with him, he would have finished that run all by himself, without tipping a barrel. It was just me flopping around that messed him up.

I didn't even care...

Cause....Holy Moly...I'll be ready for him next time and if he runs like that...

We ARE going to be in the money.

BTW-The baby bird is still hanging in there. Tough little sucker. We named him Bob.

Because he has such a bobble head. LOL

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Feel Like Mike

Mikey that is...LOL

It's been hectic. I'm just not as good as she is about bringing it to life.

Dead lawn mowers.

Horses in the garden.

Irrigation woes.

Nursing baby birds. We lost one unfortunately, but the other seems to be holding his own so far.

Put off picking up my sorrel horse til Monday.

Need hay.

Been to the farrier.

The summer heat is back.

And now we are off to a couple of barrel racings.

( bird too.)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More Rescues...Baby Birds

We had a particularly violent thunderstorm roll over us this afternoon and when I went out later in the evening to do chores and pick up all of the downed tree branches, I found the remnants of a nest....and then I found the babies scattered about. I thought they were all dead, which always makes me sad to see. Poor little featherless things. I started picking up the little bodies to dispose of, thinking they were all dead...and one moved.


One was dead for sure, another I wasn't so sure about and two more had the faintest of movements. They were all ice cold.

Poor little things.

So I grabbed the 3, ran into the house, bundled them in a hand-towel, warmed another one in the microwave and bundled the warm towel around them.

I have this 'thing' I guess, I hate to see anything die cold and miserable. I doubted any of them would survive, but at least they would be warm when they died.


Is it weird to think that way?

Well, the one did not warm up. He was dead.

But, at this moment, I have two little cheepers, bundled in their towel, quietly cheeping in their sleep.

Now what the heck do I do with them?...

Ya know...this is how we got stuck with a crazy-ass squirrel as a 'pet'. Now I have to figure out how/what to feed two tiny little birds?

Any one know?

The freaking veterinarian is going to think I am crazy as hell when I go in and ask him what to feed helpless baby birds.

Crap! Double Crap!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back To That 3/10ths

Edited to add: We ended up 1/2 a second off, but won the 2D. I'll take that. Money is money. LOL

I ran at Rimrock this afternoon to see how Moon would handle running with the adjustments I talked about in the previous post. While it wasn't the smoothest run, we are back to being 3/10ths off the top times.

This time around...I'm not going to whine about it.

Moon definitely struggled a bit since he couldn't get his nose stuck out there, but I felt more in control again. I also did not get sucked down over his front-end. Once he figures out how to rebalance himself, he should go back to making smooth runs or if he softens back up, I may be able to take the tie-down off again. He's still leaning a lot going into his barrels, so it will probably be a few runs before he figures out he needs to get stood back up and run up to the barrel and turn it vs. careening toward it with his shoulder down and wanting to dive around it.

Man...I know better than to try to push my hat back down too...I've told Meg several times...let the darned thing go if it starts to come off. But it's just kind of instinct when you feel it coming loose. That's why we blew out 3rd barrel. I reached up and shoved my hat back down. I had my hatpins in my hand at the gate and darned if I didn't set them on the ground to adjust Moon's bell boot. Got back on and when they called my name, I realized I hadn't pinned my hat down. Too late by then, so I just went with it. I really need to get in the habit of wearing my hat every run, so I don't forget things like that.

One of my friends ran smack dab into 2nd barrel and laid her knee wide open. I am so fortunate that for all of the messed up turns Moon and I have made, that neither of us have ever hurt ourselves whacking a barrel.

A Few Things I Learned

I would have posted the videos Megan took of my runs this weekend, but they are blurry due to the indoor arena. The only way I saw anything in them was going frame by frame.

I did figure out why Moon is getting wonky on 2nd barrel again...

He is horribly strung out coming out of 1st barrel. His nose is going up and out, his back is hollowing and his hindquarters are being left out in the south 40. My sit and wait for him to push me up isn't working because by the time he re-gathers and pushes, he is already out of the barrel. It's putting me out of time with him and throwing both of us off getting lined up for 2nd barrel.'s time to put his tie-down back on.

CdnCowgirl mentioned a while back that Moon looked like he is a horse that uses his head and neck a lot and that is true. However, Moon is also a horse that has a tendency to lead with his nose. I think we were doing pretty good without the tie-down because I wasn't really running Moon all that hard to his 1st barrel. He was able to stay gathered up in his turn. Once we started running harder, he started dropping in his front-end and started leading with his nose. Once that nose gets beyond a certain point, a horse cannot help but drop all of their weight onto their front-end. The next thing that happens is they start disengaging their hindquarters and flipping around the barrel.

A tie-down is not a miracle cure...obviously, as I ran Moon with one last year and still had problems, but I had it adjusted pretty loose. I have tightened Moon's tie-down one notch and we will see how that works for him. Hopefully it will provide that little bit of something for him to balance on...that is not my hand, holding the rein, that is attached to the bit in his mouth. I haven't liked the fact that it has felt like Moon is balancing on my hand around the turns. It is so difficult to maintain even pressure all the way around the turns. I hate pulling on a horse and often what happens is the horse gets heavier and heavier and a person often resorts to using stronger and stronger bits.

Obviously, you work on such things during training, but that only goes so far in competition. If a horse needs something to balance on when they are turning hard...they are either going to use your hand or you can give them a tie-down.

One issue often leads to another. I am getting leaned too far forward on the backside of the turns. I noticed that I felt really tipped forward in the turns at Meeker, but made it work. It's not working now. I don't know if it is because I am rushing my turns or if it is because Moon is pulling me forward because he is getting tipped onto his front-end. Hopefully, I can fix this by concentrating on sitting up more and continuing to drive Moon through his turns. That should help make him keep his hindquarter more engaged as well.

I also learned how to wrap legs with polo-wraps. After someone commented on them here, I noticed how many girls were now using polo-wraps on their horse's legs, particularly the hinds. I mean I had noticed it before, but most of the wrap jobs I see look more like they are for decoration, not so much for support. So I started to actually pay attention to who had the better wrap jobs. Luckily, one of my friends does a superior job of wrapping and it looked like her horse had a lot of support in the fetlock area, which is where Moon seems to be getting a little sore (on his hinds). She let me borrow a set of her polo wraps and showed me how to wrap Moon's hind legs. I think he liked the way that felt as he stayed more engaged in his hind-end on Sunday and we had a much better run.

As for my runs...well, I hit 2nd barrel on both days. On Saturday, I ran straight into the darned thing. LOL! I was so out of time with Moon when he left 1st barrel that I ended up just staring straight at the damn barrel thinking, "OMG, here comes a big, white barrel at me." was previous runs all over again. I sure don't know why my mind locks up that sometimes, but it sucks.

On Sunday, our run was much better. I really made myself ride. First barrel was good, but Moon was really only loping into it and then lunged out of it. It was a struggle to get Moon to come across and get ready for his 2nd turn, but I got him there. He didn't want to bend to the left at all. I wasn't really sure what happened when we hit the 2nd barrel coming out of it. I thought we had it. After watching the video, I could see how twisted up my body was while I was struggling to get Moon to come over and when he set into the turn, I dropped my hand as my body straightened up and Moon just thought the turn was finished. He straightened out and left for 3rd. So it really wasn't his fault.

However, I can always tell how a run affects Moon by the way he is breathing afterwards. After Saturday's run, he was huffing and puffing and he only ran an 18.4 (very slow for this indoor). So I knew he wasn't comfortable in the run either. I did enter the jackpot run afterwards and made him re-run the pattern. It was slow (another 18.3), but I two-handed him the whole way and made him stay off of the barrels. He seemed a little better after that run.

On Sunday, he wasn't breathing hard at all after his run, so I think he is back in a better frame of mind and he was a second and a half faster (16.7).

You know, we were doing so well and then things fell apart again. That is to be expected, I guess. Moon is not an easy horse to run barrels on. I's pretty easy when things are going right, but when they are not, he's very difficult to ride. He's NOT a very bendy, flexible horse and when he gets tight or's about like trying to force a 2x4 to flex. Not to mention that when he gets strung out feels like he doesn't have any power. Then he regathers and just throws me all over the place. Not all barrel horses are this difficult and to be honest... I really hope I never have one like him again. I have other horses that I think will be much less difficult and I am really focusing on Frosty as my next barrel horse.

Don't get me wrong. I love Moon. The darned horse has so much heart. I cannot blame him personally for our struggles. He does the best he can, e.v.e.r.y. single time for me. It's just not easy or natural for him to gather and push around a barrel. He's very long strided and a bit weak behind. If things are not just right, he reverts to doing what is natural to him and that is letting his hind-end get strung out and pulling with his front-end. He will obviously get more solid as I keep running him, but I think it is always going to be a bit of a roller coaster ride and that does things to a person's level of confidence. When he is running good, I can really focus on my riding skills and we do pretty good. I just never really know what I'm going to get when we enter the arena though and that makes me a little shaky.

We are going to keep after it though. I don't have anything else to run yet and I figure if I can learn to ride Moon consistently then anything that comes up and is easier will be like a walk in the park.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

And The Winner Is...


She and Spooks won the Youth 3D on both Saturday and Sunday!

Oh yea, guess I forgot to post that we were going to a 2-day run this weekend. Oops...Sorry!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat

I'm over my irritation about the bay horse. It is what it is and at least I know that he's not ruined. I most definitely give Levi credit for that. A lot of trainers would have just kept pushing until they created a real problem or somebody got really hurt and then shrugged their shoulders and sent the horse home...or called to say he was permanently injured or dead.

So while it's easy to get pissed off because I think I know what the problem was...Levi did the right thing by the horse and by me. Afterall...this kid makes his living riding horses. If he gets seriously injured, he's screwed. Laid up means no income and you can bet he doesn't have any kind of insurance. I was where he is at in life at one time too and when you have to ride 6-8 head of horses a day to make a don't have the time it takes to camp on something that doesn't fit into the XYZ mold.

This my friends is why I and so many other people moved to and had success with picking up these kinds of horses as project horses and turning them into useful and problem free mounts. It's not about being a better trainer than someone else, it's about having the time to invest into figuring out each particular horse's mindset and working with that.

Now that I'm not mad, I realize what I saw in Levi's demeanor yesterday as well. The kid is tired, he's still hurting and this has not been a good year for him...he's discouraged. Training horses for the public is really a thankless job. You are either a hero or a zero in the customer's eye. I sure don't think Levi is a zero or I wouldn't have left the sorrel horse with him. The kid will get it. Eventually. And at least he isn't forcing things and ruining horses along the way.

So anyway...Where to go with the big bay from here?

It's time for me to do my thing and that is nothing in particularly special or talented...

I'm just going to start treating him like I did Frosty and the sorrel horse, saddling him, ponying him, bathes, grooming, stretches, massages, working with his feet and hauling him with me everywhere I go. He's essentially going to get treated as if he was a broke horse, without the riding for a while. It's not like he didn't have some riding on him before he blew up. Before I brought him home the first time, Levi had been riding the horse. I thought he was going pretty decently and just needed to get out and cover some country.

One thing I have always noticed about Jet is that he is 'overly' light about pressure on his head. It's more of an avoidance of pressure vs. giving to pressure. He's always been this way, even as a youngster, so it's nothing that Levi did. That particular trait is often harder to work with than a horse that lays on pressure. These are the kinds of horses that are prone to blowing up radically when they run into pressure that they cannot get away from. Which is why I think Levi has problems with trying to drive the horse and had to give up on that and move on and would explain why the horse went to rearing and striking when Levi would get his head pulled up when he went into his bucking fit. I think it would be better to work on teaching the horse to drive into pressure by bitting him up and starting by loosely tying his head while working him in the round pen.

A combination of learning to move out and learning to gather up has always worked well for me.

I've been needing to get some good dirt hauled in for my round pen anyway. Because Moon could stand to be worked on some bitting up and reinforcing his rear end drive. A lot of times the same technique can be used on horses with the opposite problem to achieve the same result. A horse that avoids pressure needs to learn to drive into it. A horse that lays on pressure needs to learn to get off of it. It's all about forward motion and encouraging them to find the correct balance and center of gravity. Bitting them up and working them for short intervals gives them a chance to figure that out on their own. Over time they strengthen the appropriate muscles and maintaining balance becomes easier.

Bitting up a horse can be over-done just like all the bending and flexing though. The point of the exercise is never to punish the horse for not giving (or not driving up into the bit). The problem is with the crappy 'show horse' training techniques that have taken over the real horse training world. Nobody seems to know when to quit with screwing with the head these days.

Once I get forward motion and some level of confidence about pressure instilled in the horse, I don't think he is going to be a problem. If there is one thing I am good at...It's mauling a horse into a willing state of mind. It's a fatal flaw mind you. I wasn't even interested in this bay horse. He's totally not my kind of horse. But now that he is a challenge...

Well, it's kinda like a moth being drawn to a flame.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Because I'm In A Bad Mood...

I'm going to vent a little....

I went and picked the big bay up from the trainer's today. He wasn't making any progress.

As a matter of fact, he blew up with Levi last week and hurt the poor kid. Big bay went to bucking, took Levi off guard, but he stuck with him. He said he didn't just buck around the round pen either. He would buck straight into the fence. When he'd get to the fence, Levi could manage to get his head pulled up, but rather than come out of the bucking fit, the bay horse would spin around, rear straight into the air, striking and lunging. Of course, then Levi would have to give him his head back so he didn't fall over on him and the bay would bog his head and buck straight over to the other side of the round pen. Levi said this happened over and over...for about 30 minutes. He said after a certain point, he knew the horse was so mad that he was actually scared to get bucked off because he thought the horse might actually attack him. By the time the bay finally wore himself out...Levi had pulled a groin muscle as well as several back muscles and a buttock muscle. be does not surprise me that the horse finally blew up. That's why I sent him to a trainer. I also knew that deep down that horse had a temper and a bit of a tough streak.

Soooo....I want it to be clearly understood that I'm not BLAMING Levi...I'm just not very happy cause I think I know what happened and it's a damn common fault.

The last time I was over there and watched Levi ride the horse, we had a pretty long talk about all the bending and flexing and asking the horse to come back through himself. I could see the horse was getting a little frustrated with all of that and I told Levi I really just wanted the horse moving out. Give him the basics of softness and moving off of leg and rein and all that....but PLEASE just get the horse moving out. Jet's a big, forward moving horse. Not just conformationally...but genetically.

I also told him that I thought it might behoove the horse to start ponying the big arena and moving to ponying him out in the desert. Build his confidence. Get him used to different things. When that went well, if he needed me to, I would be more than happy to bring a broke horse over and pony him while he rode the horse. Whatever it took to get the horse covering some country.

But nope...he stuck to his 'standard' training practice of overdoing the bending, flexing and roundpen work and the horse finally blew a gasket.

I thought the bay horse was overly nervous when I brought him home the last time. He was in a pen where he could see the other horses, but he paced and paced. So I turned him out. By himself of course, because I wanted to keep him out of physical contact with my other horses for 10 days. I wasn't worried about the EHV-1 outbreak, but I really can't risk Moon catching even a common cold and we haul all of the other horses with him, so...

Anyway, the bay paced and paced the fenceline in the pasture as well. He lost a bunch of weight and his backbone was sticking up after just a few days....That GL is why you did not get any of the profile pictures you requested.

I started the horse on a calming supplement as well as the gastric distress supplement. He calmed down, but by that time he had been home long enough and I started turning Turk and Bugs out with him. So I don't know if it was the supplements or having other horses with him that calmed him down. He gained most of his weight back just about the time I took him back to Levi.

So anyway...While I was picking the horse up, I asked Levi how the sorrel horse was doing. I know the sorrel horse is not a problem. Last fall, Levi had him riding in the big arena after just a few days. I specifically took the sorrel horse to Levi because I wanted him rode regularly and I wanted him rode OUTSIDE!!!!

Levi said Bugs was doing good and was just about ready to take to the arena.


I would have thought Levi would have had the horse outside by now. But then I remembered that Levi was laid up for a week thanks to the big bay. I'll forgive that.

But when Levi continued on and told me he was having problems getting the sorrel horse to soften up and get flexible, I got pissed all over again and kind of tied into the poor kid.

#1-I understand the need to have a horse that gives his nose, understands whoa and knows how to move his feet before you just head out across country....But you just ran into a problem with one horse because you didn't ease up on the bending and flexing crap...

#2-The sorrel horse is 14.2HH, weighs about 1300lbs and is built like a bulldog...He's no freaking ballerina. Enough with the bending, flexing, softening crap. It will take MONTHS!!!!! of riding, conditioning and working with the horse to get him truly soft.

#3-I specifically told Levi, I didn't want all of the 'training' crap either of these horses. I wanted horses that I could saddle and ride out. Obviously, they would need the basics for him to accomplish that...but NOT to try to put any finesse on them whatsoever. *I* do that and I do not appreciate how so many trainers try to accomplish all of this 'softening' crap without any forward movement.

This rant is not over...But I will try to continue it in a more positive manner in the next post.

The one bright spot in my day...The fuglyblog is going buhhhh-bye!

Good-bye and Good Riddance!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Taking Time To Relax

After a hard couple of days for the ponies, it was time to relax. The evening tootle in from the pasture...
(OMG-I'm pointing my toes. The equitation police are sure to arrive.)

Oh, those wild and crazy barrel horses....
Stereo-types exist for a reason ya know...LOL.

Today it was cloudy and cool, so Meg's and I headed to the desert to ride. We actually ended up UP on the bluffs... (I know, I know...again with the crappy cell phone pictures. I swear I need to staple that camera to my hip or something.)

Meg and Turk are doing amazingly well together...
Meg rode the hair off the poor horse over the weekend and he was not one bit sore or lame. The new shoe is working. I still don't know if he will hold up for competition or not, but I at least see him having a future. He's turned into a really pleasant horse to ride out in the open. All of his staring off and random spooks have disappeared.

The only thing he did spook at was this 'rock'...
See the little brown spot in the middle of the picture?

Kinda? Sorta?

It's actually a bird. A nesting bird...
Megan and Spooks were walking along and it scared the be-gezus out of both of them by hissing at them. I guess it wanted to make sure they didn't step on it. LOL.

We had really only intended to go for about an hour's worth of hill work, but ended up riding over 3 hours and the ponies got some massive hill climbs in. Up and down. It was kind of rocky out there to be riding Moon with no shoes, but as long as he paid attention to where he put his feet, he could avoid them. There was only a couple spots we got off to hand-walk them over.

I dang sure don't want to stone-bruise Moon or anything (and Turk only has shoes on the fronts), but I still think it's good that they occasionally have to pay attention to where they are going and where they place their feet.

I'm still on the fence about putting shoes on Moon. I have to take Turk back to the farrier this week and may just haul Moon along and see what the farrier thinks.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


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 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.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Up

I have taken the plunge and entered some rodeos this coming weekend. I thought about just entering as a non-member...but I got to thinking...

What if we actually win some money?...

I mean, that's the goal, but if Moon does well enough at the rodeos, we could qualify for the Colorado Pro Rodeo Finals. I don't really take entering rodeos lightly. Paying entry fees can be 'enlightening'. A couple of years ago, when I started to rodeo on Moon, the entry fee for the barrel racing was $50. Then you had to pay the gate charge = $5. Then there was an 'eye' charge (for the electric eye) = $5. There was also some sort of additional association fee of $7. And finally you had to pay into the 'day' money pot = $5.50. Of course if you had the fastest time of that go-round, you win the day pot money. The entry fees to the CPRA rodeos are $71...and lord knows what little add-ons will show up at the time of entry. Probably about the same as back home. The CPRA membership alone is $150. (gulp)...Rodeoing is a spendy little venture. But I'll never know what Moon can do unless we go.

My goal has always been to make Moon a rodeo horse. It has taken us longer to get to that point than I anticipated (by a couple of years-LOL), but I wasn't really expecting things to come together like they have this year. I figured it would take us most of the summer to ease into smoother runs and then faster runs and we'd be ready to rodeo next summer.

I underestimated Moon...for him...Smooth is Fast.

Going ahead and entering does make sense, in this case. Even though we have not actually won a barrel racing...Moon has consistently placed in the top 5 with the smooth runs he has made...whether I have asked him for speed or not. That doesn't always win money at the association runs, but it would have drawn a decent check every time if they had been rodeos.

(The weekly rodeo we ran at is a 3D, so it pays out like all of the other associations.)

When you call in and enter rodeos, you have to give a 1st and a 2nd preference of when you would like to run. Myself...I opted to run in slack as a 1st preference at both rodeos and got what I wanted.

Slack vs. 'Perf' = The Perf (slang for Performance) is the actual Rodeo people pay to go watch. Due to time constraints, only so many timed event people are allowed to compete, per event during a perf. Seldom is there an over-abundance of rough stock riders these days, but even if there is, no one tires of watching that so they almost never have to do slack. But there is a lot of timed event ropers, mixed team roping, calf ropers, breakaway, ribbon roping, steer wrestling and barrel racers, so all of the 'extra' entries are given a different time to perform. Rodeos generally want a lot of people to enter. The more entries the bigger the payouts...the bigger the payouts...the more people will enter.

One of the things some of the girls will try to tell you is that running in slack means you aren't going to get to run on as good of ground as you would get in a performance run. When it comes to do hope that the rodeo committee is going to put some effort into working the ground and doing their best to give ALL of the competitors as equal a chance as possible, because after all, there is only a few that get to run during the perf. All of the rest of the entries have to run in the slack and if you don't give them a very good chance...they aren't going to come back. I did hear that there was one rodeo last year that did not do that for the girls who ran in slack. They basically had to run on hardpan. That my why there ARE rodeo committees. Hopefully the girls that ran there filed complaints and the rodeo committee handles that for this year. That is an unforgivable sin to a barrel racer and you simply don't waste your efforts entering their rodeo the next time around. But again, that's the great thing about rodeo committees...before I decide to enter that rodeo or not, I can always call the office and find out if that was dealt with from last year.

On the up-side of entering's a much more relaxed atmosphere for a relatively green rodeo horse like Moon, especially over the 4th of July weekend. As well as the fact that slack is in the mornings. This time of year, when the heat sets in...that can give you a little edge. Horses are fresher first thing in the morning and late in the evening. Yes, some slack is ran AFTER the rodeo performances and can go well into the night. Barrels are usually run first thing in the slack as well, whereas at rodeos, it's almost the last event. There's a whole lot less waiting around.

The one thing that is uncontrollable at outside rodeos is the weather. I've seen it happen more times than I can count...The slack may run in the morning and have great ground, a rainstorm blows through and the ground is soaked for the perf or one day will be great weather and the next terrible-hot, windy, stormy, you name it...That is just the luck of the draw and if you are going to rodeo...You cannot bitch about every single bad thing that happens. Either you enter the next one and hope it's more in your favor or you stop going and stick with the 'perfect' ground association runs.

I haven't ran at either of these arenas before...sooo...coming up at the bottom of the draw is probably a good thing for Moon and I. I will get the chance to watch a few runs before ours and see how the horses handle the ground. Collbran, I've gotten good reports on, but have no idea what Meeker will be like. We are just going to go and give it our best shot. Moon feels good and after a week off...I'm ready to run too.

Hopefully everyone has a wonderful, long weekend...Happy 4th of July if you are stateside and Happy Canada Day if you're up north!