Finally got that run on Moon I have been waiting for...
And he was firing on all 8 cylinders!!!
Whoot-Whoooo. Sure felt nice to have my hard-running horse back under me.
I actually think Moon has missed competing a little bit. He was wound for sound after I booted him up and tightened his cinch. I hand walked him until the set (5 racers) before our run. I was first up after the drag. Nice spot to draw. Moon immediately got a little silly, but I was ready for him this time. I had my bat handy and when he wanted to start his spinning thing, I got the opportunity to line him out. I understand getting amped up...but we were no where near the gate, so he was just being overly silly. A couple of pops to the shoulder and he gathered his brain and was fine.
One of the things I have been mentally working on was figuring out a better way to have Moon prepared to start his run. He has a tendency to want to get stiff in the neck right before he launches and that has caused problems with him picking up the wrong lead. So what I think I need to be doing is getting him gathered up, rounded and soft before ever starting the approach to the gate. That is what I did this time and holy hell....
I was soooo not prepared for him to take off like he did.
He was kind of wanting to do his spin to the right thing, but it did not feel like resistance. He was just amped and it's kind of hard for Moon to gather up when he is that froggy. I had him pretty well rounded and gathered up though and was able to keep him moving forward. When he finally relaxed into the bridle and straightened his hips....he left like his tail was on fire.
I am so used to fiddle farting around with him at the gate that I was still looking down at his shoulder when he got to the first barrel. LOL...We went flying by it...but once I asked for the turn, Moon never even slowed down, he just made a big loop and kept hauling ass. Total and complete pilot error.
His second and third barrels were absolutely perfect. His 3rd barrel was about as good as I have ever felt. He didn't drift out or lean or attempt to roll back. He just rounded it the same way he does his 2nd barrel.
Missing that first barrel cost us dearly. Moon made a smokin' run of 17.46 and if we had made that first turn, I have no doubt he would have been under 17. I am going to have to wake up and get my spot picked a whole lot quicker if he is going to continue to run like that. Sheez Louise!
I was and will continue to be cautious with his stifle. I hand-walked him out and kept a careful eye on his left leg to make sure he was striding properly. His condition and wind are good, he was barely blowing after his run. Once he relaxed, I took him back, unwrapped his legs, unsaddled and took him to the washrack to hose his legs and stifles. He seems good.
One thing I used to always do after Moon made a run was to turn him out for the night so he did not stiffen. Because of his stifle, it's better to leave him up instead and make him to rest it for at least 12 hours. He does not particularly care for the change in his routine and when I unloaded him he kept trying to root his way toward the pasture gate. Instead, he got 30 minutes of hand-grazing in the yard and a thorough body massage with the rubber mitt. That seemed to appease him. Damn that horse is high-maintenance. But if he keeps running like this and we can get our spot at first barrel...it is all sooooo worth it.