Friday, August 31, 2012

One Stride


So I made a run on Moon the other day, with the hackamore instead of his bit...

It was so-so...

There was no miraculous change for the better.

Fortunately for me though, the mom of another barrel racer has been taking pictures and unlike a lot of photographers who set up to just get that 'one shot' at 2nd barrel...she is up in the stands taking pics at every turn. It's the first time I have really got to see what is going on at 1st barrel and I found a huge, glaring, technical mistake that Moon and I are making that is without a doubt the root of all the funky stuff that is going on.

We are missing our Action Point...

Look at where this horse's inside hind leg is in comparison with Moon's...

There is about a full stride difference between them and that is H.U.G.E!!

If you think of this single photo with the context of impulsion and speed behind it...It's not hard to see why Moon is having a bowing out problem coming off of the first barrel...

Moon is already striding out of the 1st barrel at a run...however because he hasn't completed the turn...I am pulling on his head and ta-da...it creates a bow in his body.

The red dun horse took another stride and all his rider has to do is bring her hand over and he rolls right into line with the 2nd barrel.

The bowing problem is really why we are having such a hard time getting to the 2nd barrel in good form, which doesn't leave me (or Moon) much time to get prepared for that turn. But for the life of me, I did not realize it was because Moon was missing his Action Point at 1st barrel. I have been so frustrated because I have worked and worked on my hands, thinking that is the problem and struggled to remember to use my outside leg...But when a horse leaves a barrel in this awkward of a position...it's really difficult to get yourself in the right position. No wonder I kept feeling so left behind...LOL..Here I was resorting to pulling because in my head I knew Moon wasn't finishing the turn...but I couldn't figure out why. Duhhhh!!!

At the clinic, EW kept telling me to ride Moon through the turn and more than once he asked me if I knew where the Action Point was on 1st barrel...Which I do...And I thought I 'got' what he was trying to tell me...I just didn't realize we were missing it by this far.

Well...another problem that can be resolved. I have spent the last couple of days working on correcting Moon's strides around the 1st barrel and it's pretty obvious, he thought he was doing it right all along. Getting him to take that extra stride before leaving has been a bit challenging.

EW doesn't employ 'drills'...but I have pulled a few out of my notebook and the one that seems to work the best is one that uses a counter-arc at the rate spot, a counter-arc at the top of the barrel and a stop and 360* turn-around at the Action Point. Once Moon started to hold his body position correctly and started honoring his position through the turn, I dropped the counter-arcs, then I dropped the full spin and just went to a  stop and 90* turn at the Action Point.

The goal is to re-establish 3 strides around the barrel. Horses cannot count of course, but they rely on muscle memory to perform, just as much as the rider does. Moon is pretty fanatic about hitting his Action Spots at the 2nd and 3rd barrels...regardless of how wonky things can get going into those turns...He almost never misses getting his inside hind foot(feet) placed, so he can leave properly...

2nd barrel... See how Moon is pulling his inside hind leg up to get to his Action point?...

Even though he did not have good body position coming into this barrel, once he starts his turn, he scrambles to get his feet into the right position.

Nailed it...

Coming around 3rd...See Moon's inside hind foot coming up? When that foot plants...he rolls over it and leaves the 3rd barrel...

I know people think I am too technical and that I should just learn to 'feel' the run...But that is simply not how I function. I have spent the majority of my life teaching young and green horses how to move technically correct...Instilling in them exactly how to place their feet and exactly how to move each body part. When they are correct...It 'feels' good and is so much easier to ride. Some people have the ability to 'feel' a horse into technical correctness. I can do that on colts and greenies...I haven't learned how to do it at competition speeds yet. So until I do...I am going to have to focus on getting the technical end of it right first. Moon is no dummy either. Once he figures out that taking that one extra stride makes his job easier...He will hunt it, just like he does on the 2nd and 3rd barrels.

8 comments:

spotz58 said...

I appreciate your comments on this. I'm a footfall rider myself! Great that you were able to get these pics.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I think you nailed it right here-

>>Some people have the ability to 'feel' a horse into technical correctness. I can do that on colts and greenies...I haven't learned how to do it at competition speeds yet.<<

You have been doing it all along in 'getting the horse there'. You need to find it now that the horse IS there. Easier said than done sometimes. I know this because I am working on finding it now too with Kat.

It is good having the pics to see what, how, when. Sometimes they make it all so clear, when we get it all messed up in our heads.

Crystal said...

Wow that seems so obvious now that you can see it. Will be interesting to see how that carries over to the next run.

Laura said...

interesting stuff! I think at a certain point in riding you have to get a bit technical, especially if you are competitive... Those pictures are neat - nice that you have 3 shots from all the barrels to see what is happening.

fernvalley01 said...

its all coming together, yay for the extra photographer

Paint Girl said...

What a big plus having someone there taking pictures of every barrel! Huge training tool for you!! Gotta love that!! Which reminds me, I need my OH to video me riding my filly!

Shirley said...

Don't you love it when the light bulb goes off? The difference between Moon and the red dun horse is obvious in the photos, but at full tilt boogie, a little tougher! Glad you got to see this, because your next run should be smokin'!

smazourek said...

And this is why a picture is worth a 1000 words. I see what you're saying, how can he dig in and keep his speed up if his hind end is so sprawled out behind him around that first barrel?

That dun horse has his shoulders in a better position to get his hind legs under him. Sounds like Moon is on his way to getting that too.