Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Bad Weekend

Well...so much for feeling lucky...

What a total bummer of a weekend...I hit barrels both days on Moon and Spooks kept getting edged out of the money in his division.

First up...Spooks...

I was a little nervous about how Spooks was going to handle such a big venue. For the most part, Spooks is a laid-back, take-it-in-stride kinda horse. However...he is not a total dead-head. He CAN ramp up. Since I didn't think there was going to be any open riding time in the indoor arena, I decided to run Spooks in Friday night's race. I wasn't pre-entered for that, but there were no late entry fees for that race, so I figured what the heck...

Spooks went in and did what Spooks does. He handled the ground very well and was literally just a few hundredths out of the money that night in the 5D, which is his usual 2 seconds off the fast time (this race had 1/2 second splits all the way through the divisions). I was still happy with his run...figured the next day I could just ask him for a little more and he was a shoo-in for some 5D money and probably the average. He ran a 17.5 (something).

Saturday's run rolled around and Spooksy old boy was really nervous. I got off and just stood by him til it was time to run. When he started his run...I realized just how on the muscle he was. He was running really, REALLY hard to 1st barrel. I have never really had to rate Spooks at his barrels...he just doesn't need it since he can't run very fast...and I wasn't really prepared for him to run that hard to the first barrel. Now...Spooks running hard to first barrel is still nowhere f.a.s.t....but I knew it was more speed than he was used to handling in the turn. I thought the best thing to do was to let him start his turn, float a step or two out and then pick him up to finish the turn. It almost worked, but right when I went to pick Spooks up, the flash for the camera went off and poor Spooks lost it. He went flying sideways out of the turn.

I finally got him rolling in the right direction but he was lost...getting around 2nd was more than a bit rugged. Spooks finally found his stride going to 3rd and turned that like normal. He lost almost 2 full seconds. He ran a 19.0. Total bummer!

Sunday, I was prepared for him to try to run too hard to the 1st barrel, so I just kept telling him 'easy, easy' all the way to the barrel. He made his usual run and popped back up to a 5D time. He ran a 17.6 (something). Things were looking good for the 1st 300 horses...Spooks was sitting in the last hole of the 4D. I knew that chances were, someone would come in and run a 15.5 and that would pop Spooks into the top of the 5D. He was already sitting too far out of the average, so no prizes there. Unfortunately...someone came in and ran a 15.40 and just like that Spooks was out of the 5D money. :(

Next up...Moon...

I was soooo pumped to run Moon on Saturday morning. I just knew this was going to be a good run. Moon is feeling good in this cooler weather and I felt all knowed up from the Ed clinic.

Moon came in the gate pretty darned good, lined up and started his run. He was running free and smooth and I could feel he was listening to me. He sank into the 1st barrel and I remembered to m.o.v.e. my hand forward and go with him...just like Ed told me to do. I squeezed with my thighs to keep him moving through the turn. WoW!!...It felt great!!

Just as Moon started to come out of the first barrel...I see my rein gracefully glide over his head.

OH....

SHIT!!!!!!

Now this is what takes the cake...At the EW clinic, Ed told me to get rid of the snaps on the end of my reins because they can cause the rein to flip over a horse's head. Well....I have been running with these reins for 2-3 years now and NEVER had the reins flip over Moon's head. However....

That very morning I dreamed that the reins had flipped over Moon's head during our run and that Moon had taken off running around the arena. No body could get him stopped and I was just clinging to him.

Sooo...I took the damn snaps off...

And look what happens? Uggghhhhhh!!!!!

Well...There wasn't much I could do. I picked up on the rein (all of which was laying on Moon's right side) and sat up. Oh hell no, Moon was in run mode and he didn't even slow up. I thought...I better ride this ride just like normal...so I dropped my hand, that was holding the rein, down and just set up there and rode Moon to the 2nd barrel. I couldn't switch hands, so all I could do was set my inside (left) shoulder forward and let Moon make the turn...

Son-ava-.....

He turned the barrel almost perfectly!!!

On the way to 3rd, he started to drift out a bit, so I picked my outside hand, the one with the rein in it and tried to push him over a little like I was neck-reining...but the pressure on the rein pulled Moon out a bit more, so I dropped my hand again and just held on.

By god...He ALMOST made it all the way around that barrel too. If he had been in his pocket...he would have. He just ticked the barrel with his shoulder because he was out of his pocket. It wasn't Moon's fastest time in that arena, but it would have been a very respectable 16.4. LOL...How about that?

The funny thing is...almost no one realized I had flipped my reins over his head. Had some of the local girls ask me what happened at 3rd and they were shocked when I told them Moon was pretty much running on his own.

Sunday rolled around...I decided instead of bothering to put the snaps back on, I would just tape the ends of the reins and tie a little string to them so they couldn't flip again.

Moon was unusually docile during warm-up. Moon is not a 'hot' horse...Oh...he can get stupid...but it's never a good sign when he is overly docile during warm-up. I know he is reserving his energy for having a fit at the gate or running stupidly hard in his run. I can't ride Moon when he runs stupidly hard. He feels like a freight train and throws me around like a rag doll. :(  

He was 1st up after the rake and sure enough he was a bit difficult at the gate. I probably made it a bit worse because I did not let him blow out of the alley like he wanted too. I got a hold of him and made him start walking up the alley. He got mad and started spinning out and backing up, then he would attempt to charge up the alley again. I should have just let him go...dumb, dumb, dumb on my part. He ripped 3 of my fingernails off at the quick. But he finally settled down and pranced up to where he could see the gate and this time...there was no stopping him, he just ripped the reins out of my hands and took off flying. I couldn't do much except tell him 'easy, easy' and let him take the 1st barrel. As he was coming out of it...I decided I had had enough of his charging...I got a hold of him and tried to rate him. He fought me every step of the way...shaking his head and lunging. He was just being absolutely ridiculous. He wouldn't set, he wouldn't round and we hit 2nd barrel. As soon as that barrel tipped over, he just totally relaxed and we slow loped the rest of the pattern.

Now, every single thing I did went against every single thing EW would have told me to do...but I thought Moon was being absolutely over-the-top and was out of control...While I am never happy to tip a barrel...It meant more to me get control of Moon and get his brain back than letting him run like a wild-man.

So not a single check or average prize for me this weekend. Very disgusting!

On the way home though, I got to thinking about a few things...well, with a 2 1/2 hour drive...what else do you do?

Soooo...when the reins flipped over Moon's head and I had no control, he settled into a really cool run...if I had been able to pick his nose up going around 3rd, it would have been clean. When I tried to get control of Moon...he completely lost it...

I think I am going about this all wrong...

Instead of trying to get up over Moon and ride him like Ed teaches...I think I need to just sit back a little bit...throw my hand forward and let Moon do his job. The thing about Moon is...he is always going to T.R.Y.!!! He is a very free runner and very determined to do his job. Ed's very forward style of riding seems to create some anxiety for Moon and it makes him try even harder. Oh shit...the last thing I need is Moon trying harder. I need him to relax and just settle into his run. Apparently he can do that if I just sit down a little and just keep my hand forward...like I had to do when the rein flipped.

I dunno...It's worth a shot. I think maybe this is what EW was trying to get at when he told me I need to relax A LOT. It's not like I plan on sitting on my butt and doing nothing...but I sure need to be doing a whole lot less and letting Moon do a whole lot more.

10 comments:

kestrel said...

Awwwww, crap! But sounds like an epiphany. The horse knows his shit, so just sit deep and let him freakin' RUN! I am in awe, because I know what it's like to ride the dragon. Your cheeks flap against your eardrums loud enough to deafen you! A horse like that is an education, and when you and he get combobulated, look out world!

fernvalley01 said...

Well that sucks! But maybe it helped you .

spotz58 said...

I hate to say I told you so, but check my comment on your Salida post.

And yes, it is a hard thing to do.

Shirley said...

lol at Kestrel'd comment....
It's all a learning curve isn't it?

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Kestrel...Sometimes 'riding the dragon' is exactly what Moon feels like. :(

I seem unable to control my impulse to pick up or pull on him, which now I realize is what is making him run even harder...Moon has had it with 'dinking around'. LOL

Spotz-Since I cannot seem to control my impulses when he makes my stomach flip coming out of that 1st barrel...I am taking the bit away and am going to start running him in a little S hack. It's just a short shanked rope nosed hackamore that I ride a lot of my horses in around home. That way I will not be hitting his mouth when we come out of 1st barrel, which really seems to be the culprit of pissing Moon off.

Hopefully, somewhere along the lines, I will learn to have better control of my hands. It's a bitter pill to swallow...I have always prided myself on having good hands...but I sure can't seem to control them at high rates of speed.

Cut-N-Jump said...

This! This is what I meant a while back when I had commented and asked about you letting him do what he does.

Moons has come a long way and I think what Ed was trying to get across to you was to let the horse do the work. (I may be wrong...) It sounds like Ed also kept pulling you into the arena, into his 'golden circle' and pointing things out on the other riders because you have 'IT'.

You trained this horse to get him where he is. How many others can say that? Kick some ass girl. If you have to- maybe you should flip the reins more often.

spotz58 said...

I'm in the same boat - I've been complemented on my hands all my life, and I think that encourages me to overuse them.

My hubby tells me "You trained this horse to do the job, now let him show everyone he knows how to do it!"

Crystal said...

Oh Shoot!! But I guess at least you learned something. And only dream about good things from happening from now on!

C-ingspots said...

Well, despite all that crap, it sounds like you kept your cool on...that's something! Onward and upward, better rides are coming.

Breathe said...

At a Rashid clinic I went to, he said one of the main things he does for more experienced riders is get them out of the way of the horse. On rider was over cuing his young horse and the gelding was pitching a fit at the lope. When he quieted all his cues to almost nothing, the horse was perfect.

It was interesting because I didn't see the over cuing at all. But that horse sure did.