Yea...It's pretty important!
I made damn sure Moon got it at the last CPRA rodeo of the year and guess what?
He outran the pack by a full 3 tenths of a second.
I had one thing on my mind the entire time I waited to make my run...
FINISH OUR FIRST TURN!!
The barrel racing got off to a rocky start...The same darned clown that was at Durango was at this rodeo...with his same darned explosion right before the barrel racing started. (shakes head in disgust)...
This time I knew what he was up to screwing around in the arena, doing his little act and I rode away from the arena. LOL
Then the first 3 girls ran and right as the 4th girl was going in to make her run, one of the Queen's horses blew up, bucked her off and it was a full on 911. I am not entirely sure what happened to cause it or what was hurt on the girl, but it took about 30 minutes for the ambulance to get her loaded and gone.
Finally got the barrel racing underway again. The 4th girl went in to make her run. I was number 6. Moon was pretty much asleep...And I left him that way. I have come to realize that there is absolutely no need to 'wake' Moon up. ;-)
He went in the gate pretty darn nice. It was a side gate, but on the right side of the arena, which is advantageous to a right-barrel first horse. I watched all of the girls before me go all the way to the center of the arena to start their run and I knew I would not be doing that. My only goal was to get Moon in the gate and just a few steps over so he would not be running straight at the 1st barrel.
Everything aligned perfectly, Moon danced into the arena, I let him strut for a couple of steps, rolled him to the right and let him go. He picked up his right lead and the whole way to 1st, I just kept telling myself to rate, shape and then push him all.the.way.through the turn. Don't pull back, don't look up...Just ride the entire turn.
As an added security...I kept my bat in my left hand and told myself that if I felt him stall out in the turn, all I had to do was tap him on the shoulder to keep his front feet speeded up.
Everything went according to plan. Moon was a little wide on the backside of the barrel, but I was plumb okay with that...Moon is stiffer turning to the right than he is to the left...so until I can get him more supple...it's best if I just give him the room to keep that long body of his moving through the turn.
He came out perfectly straight and in line for the 2nd barrel. As soon as I felt him hit the correct Action Point (with his hind leg and not his shoulder), I looked up and picked up my spot at 2nd.
Another thing I told myself before my run was, as soon as I cleared the 1st barrel...instead of trying to switch my bat from one hand to another, I was simply going to open my hand and let my bat drop.
Again...the plan worked...When Moon left for the 2nd barrel, I lifted my hand off of the horn, opened my hand, let the bat drop and automatically moved my hand up to the rein. Everything was working perfectly. At the 2nd barrel, I almost let my eyes land ON the barrel, but when I felt Moon start to rate, I slid my eyes to the spot he needed to go. He went.
I almost had a moment of panic, when Moon was coming out of the 2nd turn...just as he was finishing his turn, I watched in horror as my rein slid over his right ear. Oh crap...NOT AGAIN! went through my mind, but just as quickly, I laughed it off...We've already run without a rein and even if it did slide over his head...at least this time it was on the side it needed to be. No Problem right?
Moon ran all the way to 3rd with the rein hanging on his face. I just kept pushing him. I felt him want to get ratey on me, so I gave him a 'Yah, yah, yah' and pushed him through the turn. For once, I felt my hand pop UP instead of float backward like you usually see it in pictures. The rein fell back over Moon's ear and he snapped around that turn and was gone.
He ran a 17.80. The next fastest time was ran by a good friend of mine, who has a mare that is so fast, I have questioned if Moon could ever outrun her...She ran well and ran an 18.11. The 3rd fastest time was an 18.18 and was run by one of the top CPRA girls going.
Soooo....there is another performance tomorrow...with only 7 girls...However, there are some very tough runners in that perf. From what I was told, a 17.80 is super fast for this big arena and will be tough to beat. That doesn't mean it can't be beat of course...but it's always easier to set the pace than try to catch up. I am hoping for a check though. That awesome of a run kinda deserves a check. ;-)
However....FINALLY!! we got our mojo back. Holy crap...it was getting kind of depressing, all of the faux pas' and almost there's. All for the lack of one, single stride. EW would be proud! LOL