This may be the lamest update ever...
Spooks did his thing and drew a check in the 4D barrel race.
I couldn't decide what to do about running Moon twice...I waffled over asking him to make 2 hard runs or to let him take it easy at the 4D race and then run hard at the rodeo...
I KNOW better than to waffle on Moon. If I'm gonna run him...I need to r.u.n. him. We tagged the 2nd barrel in the run.
I was soooo pissed at myself. Not Moon's fault. He has gotten used to me pushing him through the turns and I basically just let him run over the 2nd barrel.
Well, because I was mad as hell at myself for doing that. I rode him like a demon at the rodeo. He ran a 16.63. It was a killer run and when I left that night, we were sitting in 3rd place. Money, money, money!!...but better than that...It was an absolutely smokin' run.
Sunday I headed to Westcliffe...have I ever mentioned how much I hate driving over these stupid Colorado mountains?...Ugghhh!...
One thing I did differently at the previous rodeo was to take Moon up to the gate while they were working the arena and prepping it for slack. He didn't want much to do with that, but I just kept working him until he relaxed and started focusing on what exactly was going on in the arena.
Since scoring Moon had worked so well in Montrose, I decided I was going to do it again in Westcliffe. Once again, at first, Moon did NOT want to be down at the arena hanging out with all of the ropers. But after awhile he settled down and actually started watching the rodeo. LOL
After he settled down and I thought we had sat there long enough, I took him back to the trailer, stripped his tack, groomed, watered and fed him. Then he took a little nap.
When it was time to get ready for the barrels, I retacked him, booted him up and started rewarming him. Once again, we went and sat at the arena. Moon took a good long look to see what event was going on...
No joke! He really does that.
When he realized it wasn't barrel racing...He dropped his head and cocked a hind leg.
When they started the truck to take the barrels in, he watched them set up the barrels and started coming alive. But he was still in a relaxed and soft frame of mind. I started moving him again and I was so pleased with how comfortable and focused he seemed to be.
I watched the girls before me run and although the ground looked dry (I had actually been praying that the rain that kept circling around during the whole rodeo would actually fall on the arena and get some moisture on that dry sand), it looked decent enough.
Moon started his run in perfect form, started around the 1st barrel and I felt his front feet slip. Guess the ground was more shifty than it looked. Now Moon has had his backend slip several times in his career and that has never bothered him...feeling his front feet slip freaked him out. He started scrambling.
Now....If I had done what *I* should have done, which was rate him down just a bit and let him know that I was there and helping him...I think everything would have been fine.
But No...I reverted back to feeling a bit panicked myself because I knew that when Moon starts to feel panicked...he doesn't slow up...he runs harder and when he is running hard and out of control...He likes to dive bomb 2nd barrel. I rode him wayyyy too hard. We made it around 2nd barrel but it was ugly, U.G.L.Y!!! 3rd barrel was not very pretty either, but I kept him off of that one as well.
Amazingly enough, his time was not that bad. Since I was in the final performance, I already knew the times I needed to beat to place. Moon placed 5th overall. Not good enough to be in the money.
I also found out that we had lost our 3rd place setting in the Montrose rodeo and we ended up 5th there and just out of the money.
I guess I should be disappointed...but I can't really complain. I don't feel like Moon got 'outrun'...we just got out-placed by some ties...
The fastest time in Montrose was a 17.39 (holy hell that was a smokin' run), 2nd was a 17.56, there was a tie for the 3rd fastest time of 17.61 and then Moon's 17.63.
The fastest time in Westcliffe was an 18.08...and there was also a tie on that time, 2nd fastest time was a 18.18, 3rd fastest time was an 18.27 and Moon's time was a 18.46.
The problem with ties is that they take that placing and the next placing, combine the money and split it 2 ways. That means, in Montrose, they took 3rd and 4th monies, combined them and paid the 2 girls who tied that money. That kicked me out of the money.
Same thing in Westcliffe. The tie combined 1st and 2nd's monies and paid those girls and I got kicked out of the money again.
It sucks being one hole out of the money...twice!...but you know what?
That means Moon is running right in there with the fastest horses...and that is NOT a bad place to be. If we can just keep doing what we are doing...the luck will come around and we will end up in the money. I am stoked for the next 2 rodeos!!
Now...for some exciting news...
I have long suspected that part of Moon's 2nd barrel (and sometimes 3rd barrel) problem has had to do with his neck. Every time I go to pick up on him, he just rolls right over the barrel. He absolutely cannot stand to flex to the left. I notice it in slow work as well, but obviously I have time to ask again...and again until he finally bends his neck properly. I massage and work on his neck flexibility ALL THE TIME...but I knew he was out in the neck. I even pinpointed the exact location...His 4th vertebrae.
Here lately, I have also noticed that he is getting a lot of knotty muscle along his right shoulder blade and his right foot is starting to grow funny again. Last year, I noticed the foot starting to get funky and mentioned it to my farrier...he told me it was because Moon was not walking straight.
Well, I could not get a chiro to get a good adjustment on Moon's neck, my farrier is not a big fan of chiro...he believes everything can be fixed with his P3 machine (which DOES help BTW...but what it does it relieve the inflammation in the muscles)...and the vet keeps telling me his whole problem is his hocks.
Glory Hallelujah!!! I ran into a barrel racing friend in town the other day and we were talking horses. She said she had a new guy come out and work on her horse and she said he was very good with neck adjustments.
I had this guy out this evening and lo and behold...He got a hellava adjustment on Moon's neck. After the initial shock, Moon visibly relaxed and we got him flexing waayyyyy more than I have ever been able to get out of him before. He can turn his head all the way back to his flank...while keeping his head perpendicular to the ground...on both sides now. Before, he could flex to the right, but flexing to the left he could only make it to his shoulder and then he would have to tip his head.
These next few days I will just have to ride and work Moon normally and see how much it has helped. I am already working on some stretching exercises, in-hand and under saddle to get his shoulders reaching out equally and to get that knotty muscle broke up along his right shoulder. That should fix the foot problem as well.
I have a feeling that the neck being out of alignment had everything to do with those two things going on. It may take a few adjustments to get it to stay in position, but thankfully I finally have someone who can do it. Whew! It may take a few runs for Moon to realize it isn't going to hurt to flex to the left when I lift up (or it may not...Moon is pretty darned smart) and rate him for the 2nd barrel, but I am hopeful that this may eliminate a lot of our problems there as well.