This weekend's NBHA State runs ended up being kind of bittersweet.
Spooks did his thing. On the first day, a bobble leaving 1st, caused by the photographer's camera flash cost my boy his State title. He just got a little lost after the flash went off and wobbled like a drunken sailor toward the 2nd barrel. It cost us a couple of 10ths on that run. It was a 17.4 second run.
I carried over his run time to a bonus jackpot race that followed and he did pick up a check in that race. Won the 4D.
On the bright side, he came back strong on Sunday, ran his normal pattern and picked up a check, with a 17.1 second run. He ended up 3rd in the Average in the 4D. Not the 4D State Champion title I was so hoping for.
While I am disappointed....I have to remind myself...there were 100 barrel racers there from all over the state of Colorado. I am darned proud of the big black horse for placing in the top 5 in his division.
I took Moon as well. I didn't have any big plans for Moon, just wanted to see if we could put together a smooth run at an indoor arena. On the first run, I remembered to make him finish the 1st turn, but forgot to snap my head up and find the 2nd barrel. Moon bowed coming off the 1st barrel and I had to do some hard riding and swat him in the shoulder with the bat a couple of times to get him back over and around his 2nd barrel.
Goofy horse still ended up with a 15.3 second run. He placed 5th in the 1D and picked up a check. The only horses that beat him was 2 pro-level girls with their PRCA horses and 'back-up' horses. I was so stinking proud of Moon. There were 104 barrel racers the first day and he had the 5th fastest time. Pretty darned cool.
I also had Moon entered in the jackpot that followed, with a carry-over time and he placed 2nd in the 1D in that. So 3 checks in one day...I was repaid for my entry fees.
Sunday rolled around and really my only goal for Moon was to keep the run clean so we had a shot at the 1D average. Moon is always hotter the 2nd day of running and I was ready for him to fire hard from the gate and he did. He exploded for the first barrel and about all I could do was tell him 'easy, easy'. First barrel was clean and we snapped right out of it in a straight line to 2nd and Moon was running free, but boy oh boy...right at that 2nd barrel, Moon started rating hard, so once again, I had to go to the bat to get him around the 2nd barrel. It was a super tight turn and I am not sure how we made it. I swatted him a couple of times right as he was going into 3rd as well, cause I could feel him shutting down on me again. I sure as hell thought we made the turn, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw the barrel wobble and sure as heck...as we ran for home, it slowly fell over. I'm pretty sure that Moon just ticked it with his hip. Boy was I mad!!! His time was another 15.3 and without that tipped barrel, we were guaranteed to have been in the Top 5 Average for the 1D. He just gets too wound up and tries too hard. That makes me have to get pretty drastic with my hands because I don't think he feels a single cue when he is that 'zoned in'. It's too much of a good thing, ya know?
Now, I almost never buy back into a jackpot for a tipped barrel, but this time I decided I had had enough of Moon's crap. I GET that it's tough to go from big outdoor patterns to little indoor ones...but this sucking up on the barrels has GOT to stop. Moon really only does it when he is over-excited. I decided that this time, I was going to buy back in and make Moon run the pattern again. He has to learn that he needs to do the same job every . single . time and he might want to conserve some of that energy because he may have to run more than once a day. :-/ That happens at rodeos too...Sometimes you do have to run and then come right back for the short go...So at some point, he is going to have to learn how to deal with it.
Of course it worked...Moon was a lot calmer for his 2nd run and it was pretty darned smooth. He went back in and ran a 15.4 and I wasn't pushing him at all. He was one hole out of the 1D money in the jackpot...but he did win me a neat jacket for the best average for THAT jackpot. Cool, but not as prestigious as winning the NBHA Open Average.
Sooo...Yea...Pretty happy...Still kinda disappointed. There's always next year for Moon and I, but this is my last year on Spooks. I was really hoping he would have a perfect weekend and come home with that Championship buckle. What he did win was a trophy case FOR buckles...LOL...How ironic is that?
Well, we still have District NBHA finals and Spooks is leading that. Just 3 more runs for me and the black horse and then he will be moving on to a new adventure in life...
More on that later. ;-)