I waited patiently all week so Moon and I could redeem ourselves...
Both my boys had exceptionally pretty runs today.
Spooks was the gunner (the first horse to run in the race)...Dang the luck. LOL...
Personally, *I* like being the gunner. I don't know what it is, but I've always had pretty good luck when I am the first to run. It's a strategic position that is entirely wasted on Spooks. Spooks runs the way Spooks runs regardless of where he is in the pack.
The big guy did a great job. Smooth run. Excellent turns. He ran his always consistent 20.1 second pattern. I thought the ground was a little heavy, but not terribly so...and it's a bit hard to tell with Spooks. He just churns through, regardless.
It wasn't until I was warming Moon up, that I started listening to the times that were being posted and realized that Spooks hadn't run his 'typical' 20.1 second pattern. He was actually sitting well up in the 3D. The more horses that ran, the more it became apparent how deep and sticky the ground was.
Our NBHA association runs a 4D format. The splits are 1/2, 1/2, 1 second splits. So that means that normally Spooks runs just a little over 2 seconds slower than the fastest horse. In this case, he was only 1 second off the fastest time so far.
Normally, I would be ecstatic to have a horse jump up a division, but Spooks has accumulated quite a few points in the 4D and is sitting very near the top. I really would like him to stay running exactly were he was to keep accumulating those points in the hopes he would be the year-end, high-point, 4D horse...which would mean a saddle certificate for ME this time. ;-)
At the end of the race, I was teasing the gal that usually wins these races (she's a triple threat, cause she has 3 horses that can win :-/ ) and told her that I needed her to run a low 18.1 to put Spooks back down into the 4D. She almost made it happen too. She ran an 18.166 and Spooks ran a 20.137. Three hundreds of a second and Spooksy old boy would have been back where he needed to be.
Sounds rather messed up doesn't it? Three hundreds of a second meant no $$ and no points. :(
Oh well...I have to say, Spooks sure made a pretty run...and that always makes me happy.
Typically, 17.4-17.5 second runs are what wins at this arena, so the fact that a mere 18.166 was the winning time, you can probably guess that meant the ground was actually very deep and really sticky.
Moon was up not too many horses after Spooks, so I didn't have a lot of re-warm-up time. He was kind of charging around like an idiot at first and I thought...'Oh hell, I am never going to get his mind right before his run.' Luckily he started coming back to me during the drag before the set I was in. I let him come down to a walk, so he could air up and worked on bending him around my leg.
I made a couple of changes this run...I decided that I wasn't going to let go of my bat at the gate...I've gotten better at handling it properly during a run because I carry it when I run Spooks. So I figured I would just hold onto it and if I felt Moon start to set up at 2nd, I was going to reach back and give him a little pat on the butt to keep him moving.
The other change was switching from his normal bit to the new bit that I bought for Frosty, that works so well for Spooks and now seems to be working quite well for Moon. Earlier in the week, L and I had gone to a nearby arena for a little practice time and I rode Moon in the gag bit. He seemed to work in it really well, so I figured I would just run him in it and see if it helped get and keep him a bit rounder in his turns.
When it was Moon's turn to run, he gave me a little duck and dive, but I think he just does that to 'check' and see if I have the bat with me. If I wave it around a little bit, he lines right out for the gate. I have never said Moon was anything but Too Damn Smart for his own good. He tried to get a little sideways on me and pick up the wrong lead...but that is what these association runs are good for...
Whereas you CANNOT circle at a rodeo or even really stop your forward motion once you get rolling...at the association races, you are allowed to check your horse, stop your horse and/or make a circle before you cross the timer line. When Moon flipped his hip out, I checked him, moved his hip over and re-started. He flipped his hip out again...so I checked him again, moved his hip over, made him round up into the bridle and circled him until he gathered properly and straightened out underneath me.
There are very specific reasons I have gotten so adamant with Moon about knocking off his spinning crap and am using every opportunity to correct him...#1 is getting the correct start to your run is paramount and very often sets up how the entire run will go. #2 is you can be DQed at ProRodeos if your horse refuses to enter in a timely fashion or makes any sort of a loop once they have entered the arena. It's better to just get that non-sense out of him ASAP. He's getting much, much better. He's no longer the docile, walk-flat-footed to the gate horse he used to be...but in a way, I think it is easier on both of us when he gets fired up before the gate. By the time he gets there, we are both prepared for the run and we can just let if fly. So yea...He's turning into a bit of one of those...'Get the hell out of my way' barrel horses. I get it now!
The second Moon rounded and softened, I moved him into position and let him go. He inhaled 1st, came out good, bowed out a bit after we had left the turn, but once I switched hands, he came right back over and was set perfectly for 2nd. Two strides before, I gave him a little mooching and right when I felt him start to rate (too soon again, mind you), I reached back with my right hand and gave him a little pat on the butt with the bat. He leapt forward that one more stride we needed and inhaled the 2nd barrel. He started to move out a bit too much right before 3rd, but I just lifted the rein and gave him a little 'Yah, Yah, Yah' and he inhaled that one too.
I honestly cannot say that I ever remember ever having such a smooth and easy to ride run on the horse. He worked like a dream. Didn't miss a stride and we only had that tiny bit of bowing between 1st and 2nd...hardly worth mentioning even.
I was flabbergasted to hear our time had only been an 18.70.
Moon has had crappy runs in that arena and still been 18.2-18.3.
When I came out of the arena, there were 3-4 girls sitting there and they couldn't believe it either.
It was just sickening!
Moon was actually breathing a little hard after that run...and I know the ground was deep, Deep, DEEP out there...but as I was walking him out, I got to thinking...
When I had been warming Moon up, his cough had sounded a little dry and tight...and there was no depth to it.
Now Moon's cough, is what it is. I have tried multiple products to try to get rid of it and it isn't ever going to go away. But, when I talked to the herbalist, back when Moon was having respiratory distress over the alfalfa...he told me that the best thing was for Moon to have deep, wet coughs. That meant he was using his full lung capacity and the mucous was loosened up. I suspect with all of the smoke and dust we have in the air around here, his lungs have tightened up again and he just isn't getting enough air to really make time.
Soooo...He'll go back on the Immune Booster and the Mo-Lung bronchial dilator supplements again so he can breath properly.
Now not to sound like a total whiny barrel racer...Moon did end up winning the 2D and a good check. I can't complain about that. AND he had an absolutely AWESOME run. Probably his prettiest and smoothest run to date. So I guess I can't complain about that either. It's sure a lot more fun to have those kinds of runs than it is the wrecks and the oops kind. I'll take it and be darned happy!! :-)