Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

I waited patiently all week so Moon and I could redeem ourselves...

Both my boys had exceptionally pretty runs today.

Spooks was the gunner (the first horse to run in the race)...Dang the luck. LOL...

Personally, *I* like being the gunner. I don't know what it is, but I've always had pretty good luck when I am the first to run. It's a strategic position that is entirely wasted on Spooks. Spooks runs the way Spooks runs regardless of where he is in the pack.

The big guy did a great job. Smooth run. Excellent turns. He ran his always consistent 20.1 second pattern. I thought the ground was a little heavy, but not terribly so...and it's a bit hard to tell with Spooks. He just churns through, regardless.

It wasn't until I was warming Moon up, that I started listening to the times that were being posted and realized that Spooks hadn't run his 'typical' 20.1 second pattern. He was actually sitting well up in the 3D. The more horses that ran, the more it became apparent how deep and sticky the ground was.

Our NBHA association runs a 4D format. The splits are 1/2, 1/2, 1 second splits. So that means that normally Spooks runs just a little over 2 seconds slower than the fastest horse. In this case, he was only 1 second off the fastest time so far.

Normally, I would be ecstatic to have a horse jump up a division, but Spooks has accumulated quite a few points in the 4D and is sitting very near the top. I really would like him to stay running exactly were he was to keep accumulating those points in the hopes he would be the year-end, high-point, 4D horse...which would mean a saddle certificate for ME this time. ;-)

At the end of the race, I was teasing the gal that usually wins these races (she's a triple threat, cause she has 3 horses that can win :-/ ) and told her that I needed her to run a low 18.1 to put Spooks back down into the 4D. She almost made it happen too. She ran an 18.166 and Spooks ran a 20.137. Three hundreds of a second and Spooksy old boy would have been back where he needed to be.

Sounds rather messed up doesn't it? Three hundreds of a second meant no $$ and no points. :(

Oh well...I have to say, Spooks sure made a pretty run...and that always makes me happy.

Typically, 17.4-17.5 second runs are what wins at this arena, so the fact that a mere 18.166 was the winning time, you can probably guess that meant the ground was actually very deep and really sticky.

Moon was up not too many horses after Spooks, so I didn't have a lot of re-warm-up time. He was kind of charging around like an idiot at first and I thought...'Oh hell, I am never going to get his mind right before his run.' Luckily he started coming back to me during the drag before the set I was in. I let him come down to a walk, so he could air up and worked on bending him around my leg.

I made a couple of changes this run...I decided that I wasn't going to let go of my bat at the gate...I've gotten better at handling it properly during a run because I carry it when I run Spooks. So I figured I would just hold onto it and if I felt Moon start to set up at 2nd, I was going to reach back and give him a little pat on the butt to keep him moving.

The other change was switching from his normal bit to the new bit that I bought for Frosty, that works so well for Spooks and now seems to be working quite well for Moon. Earlier in the week, L and I had gone to a nearby arena for a little practice time and I rode Moon in the gag bit. He seemed to work in it really well, so I figured I would just run him in it and see if it helped get and keep him a bit rounder in his turns.

When it was Moon's turn to run, he gave me a little duck and dive, but I think he just does that to 'check' and see if I have the bat with me. If I wave it around a little bit, he lines right out for the gate. I have never said Moon was anything but Too Damn Smart for his own good. He tried to get a little sideways on me and pick up the wrong lead...but that is what these association runs are good for...

Whereas you CANNOT circle at a rodeo or even really stop your forward motion once you get rolling...at the association races, you are allowed to check your horse, stop your horse and/or make a circle before you cross the timer line. When Moon flipped his hip out, I checked him, moved his hip over and re-started. He flipped his hip out again...so I checked him again, moved his hip over, made him round up into the bridle and circled him until he gathered properly and straightened out underneath me.

There are very specific reasons I have gotten so adamant with Moon about knocking off his spinning crap and am using every opportunity to correct him...#1 is getting the correct start to your run is paramount and very often sets up how the entire run will go. #2 is you can be DQed at ProRodeos if your horse refuses to enter in a timely fashion or makes any sort of a loop once they have entered the arena. It's better to just get that non-sense out of him ASAP. He's getting much, much better. He's no longer the docile, walk-flat-footed to the gate horse he used to be...but in a way, I think it is easier on both of us when he gets fired up before the gate. By the time he gets there, we are both prepared for the run and we can just let if fly. So yea...He's turning into a bit of one of those...'Get the hell out of my way' barrel horses. I get it now!

The second Moon rounded and softened, I moved him into position and let him go. He inhaled 1st, came out good, bowed out a bit after we had left the turn, but once I switched hands, he came right back over and was set perfectly for 2nd. Two strides before, I gave him a little mooching and right when I felt him start to rate (too soon again, mind you), I reached back with my right hand and gave him a little pat on the butt with the bat. He leapt forward that one more stride we needed and inhaled the 2nd barrel. He started to move out a bit too much right before 3rd, but I just lifted the rein and gave him a little 'Yah, Yah, Yah' and he inhaled that one too.

I honestly cannot say that I ever remember ever having such a smooth and easy to ride run on the horse. He worked like a dream. Didn't miss a stride and we only had that tiny bit of bowing between 1st and 2nd...hardly worth mentioning even.

I was flabbergasted to hear our time had only been an 18.70.

W.
T.
F?????

Moon has had crappy runs in that arena and still been 18.2-18.3.

When I came out of the arena, there were 3-4 girls sitting there and they couldn't believe it either.

It was just sickening!

Moon was actually breathing a little hard after that run...and I know the ground was deep, Deep, DEEP out there...but as I was walking him out, I got to thinking...

When I had been warming Moon up, his cough had sounded a little dry and tight...and there was no depth to it.

Now Moon's cough, is what it is. I have tried multiple products to try to get rid of it and it isn't ever going to go away. But, when I talked to the herbalist, back when Moon was having respiratory distress over the alfalfa...he told me that the best thing was for Moon to have deep, wet coughs. That meant he was using his full lung capacity and the mucous was loosened up. I suspect with all of the smoke and dust we have in the air around here, his lungs have tightened up again and he just isn't getting enough air to really make time.

Soooo...He'll go back on the Immune Booster and the Mo-Lung bronchial dilator supplements again so he can breath properly.

Now not to sound like a total whiny barrel racer...Moon did end up winning the 2D and a good check. I can't complain about that. AND he had an absolutely AWESOME run. Probably his prettiest and smoothest run to date. So I guess I can't complain about that either. It's sure a lot more fun to have those kinds of runs than it is the wrecks and the oops kind. I'll take it and be darned happy!! :-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It Was Bound To Happen

As you probably all suspected from the lack of a Whoo-Hoo post, we didn't do any good at the Walden rodeo. We hit 2nd barrel. :(

I don't really know what happened. Moon just set up on me and ran right into it. I kinda figured this was going to happen again at some point...but as good at this run started and as free as Moon felt as he was running across from 1st to 2nd...I was really not prepared for him to set up at all.

I don't really think Moon meant to set up that hard (he came to an almost complete standstill after whacking the barrel with his shoulder) either. I swear he looked embarrassed afterward. Bu the fact of the matter is...I have been barely eeking by that barrel and have had to ride as hard as absolutely possible to make that happen.

Of course, one of my first worries was that his stifle was bothering him again and that is why he set up so hard, but I did a 20 minute trot test on him the very next day and he didn't seem to be having any trouble maintaining his trot for that long...

I alternate trot days with hill work days and that seems to be doing the trick to keeping his stifle strong...

Or as strong as it's ever going to be. I don't bother riding him when we go to the desert...I ride Frosty and pony Moon. There is one hill in particular that is a.w.e.s.o.m.e!! for just the kind of work Moon needs. It's a long, slow incline almost a mile long. I paid particular attention to his stride as we were climbing the hill today and although I can occasionally see a mis-stride (which very well could be from the terrain), he looks pretty solid.

I talked to the vet and told him I thought a month was too long between Adequan shots and he told me that if necessary, I could up his shot to every 2 weeks. We'll see how that works...but I am thinking that this fall I may look into having Moon's stifle examined further to see if it is a stretched tendon or an actual problem with the joint. The tendon would be a fairly simple fix...from the sounds of it...but I will have to do a little research and reading.

In the meantime, Moon is going to have to learn to float by that 2nd barrel a little bit better. He wants to work it too hard and it would be a lot easier on both of us if he would just relax a little. I opted out of running him at the Tuesday rodeo and plan on just working on his conditioning and letting him rest up for the upcoming weekend run. I have every intention of entering another CPRA rodeo that is close-by over the 4th...And I missed the entry. (Dumb-ass me!!)...I got busy with rounding up some hay, so I spent the afternoon running back and forth getting loads of that and it wasn't until late in the evening that I remembered entries had been that afternoon. (Ugghhh!!!) I am waiting to hear back if they will allow a late entry to run in slack or not.

I guess, if I missed out...I missed out. At least I have another 3 months worth of hay stocked up. And the way this year is going...that's a big deal. I probably don't need to explain what a dry, miserable year it's been here in Colorado so far. All of the fires are on the other side of the state, but we are suffering the same kind of dry, hot, windy weather as they are and it's just not good. A little rain sure would go a long way at this point in time. :(

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I Forgot How Much Fun They Are

This morning Meg and I went to a local playday/gymkhana. I forgot how much fun those things are. Normally we hit several of them in the spring, as a low-key prep to the barrel racing season. Because Meg had quit riding, I guess I just got focused on the barrel races and didn't bother to go to any.

Well, Frosty hasn't exactly cracked out at the barrel racings like I thought (hoped) he would...so I decided what he needs is some playdays. They are a whole lot cheaper than entering a barrel race and I like the fact that so many of the events are things that we have never practiced. I use all of those fun games/patterns to teach a horse how to follow my hands and stay between my legs...with some speed added.

Normally I start all of my barrel horses out at playdays. It's just something that has worked for me over the years. That step got skipped with Frosty because he was so spastic about everything at busy events that I was worried about taking him to such things. There are a lot of kids at these events...and people who don't really know etiquette...and I didn't want to end up in a wreck with him, nor get someone's kid hurt if he spazzed out. But the big, buckskin dummy has come a long way in that regard and I decided it was time to see how he would handle it. He was wayyyyy better than I expected and we only had one big shy. A girl came loping up on his butt and even though I was trying to stay as close to the fence as possible to prevent people from trying to pass on that side, she tried to squeeze through. Frosty lost it a bit and blew sideways into L's horse (which didn't make L very happy, but oh well, I HAD warned her!!). The girl didn't even apologize. So the next time she came loping around, I just sidepassed Frosty over to the fence so she had to slam on the brakes and I told her to keep to the inside. She gave me a snarly face...but didn't try to run up Frosty's butt again. ;-)

One thing I thought was going to set Frosty over the edge was the presence of a roan mule. I kept waiting for him to see it and was prepared for him to want to vacate the premise immediately. When he did finally see the mule, he surprised me to no end. He didn't want to run a.w.a.y. from it...he wanted to CHASE it. OMG...Megan and I laughed and laughed. Frosty had his head up and was locked onto that mule and he was trying to charge through the bit and go after it.

Unfortunately, barrels is almost always the first event at playdays...and Frosty was certainly not focused yet. I don't think he even saw a barrel. He just kind of went out there and ran every which way. LOL And this is what makes these kinds of things awesome...there were 4 more events that I was riding him in, so he got a lot of opportunity to have to ride right back in that arena and do yet another event. By the 3rd event, he was getting tired and was a whole lot more focused on just staying between my legs and following my hands. He didn't win or even place in any of the events, but he was much, much better at the primary objective...listening to me and focusing on what I was asking him to do...for events 3, 4 and 5...and he started figuring out the 'run home' thing.

I'm going to try to hit as many of these playdays as I can the rest of the summer. I will also continue to exhibition Frosty at the association barrel races and will probably haul him with me to the rodeos. He can keep Moon company and I can continue to get him used to lots of activity going on around him.

Megan has been riding again and I figured she had just better go ahead and get a run on her blue roan horse to see where he was at. Meg has a lot of work a head of her to get him lined back out...he has a terrible habit of running to the barrel and then acting like it's a cow he needs to work. LOL!! She lost a lot of valuable time by quitting riding this spring, but she'll get it worked out. She says she wants to go to some NBHA runs with me and I think her and the blue horse can still place in the youth division. This would be her last year to run in that division, so she had better take advantage of it.

Tonight Moon gets a P3 treatment and tomorrow we are off to a CPRA rodeo. It's a 4 1/2 hour drive and I might not have bothered to enter one that far away, but I heard this was a big, sandy pen. That's the kind of pen Moon usually runs well in, so hopefully the drive will be worth it. ;-)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New To Me

I love garage sale-ing! Some days you don't find a thing...

Some days you find some really good stuff. Like the day L and I headed to a specific sale because the ad said 'Like new Ammerman barrel saddle and other tack'...

We weren't going to miss that one. The Ammerman saddle was gorgeous and was brand new. I measured the gullet and it was 8". Just what I need for Moon. But the seat looked a bit big. I measured it...14 1/2". Sometimes I can ride a 14 1/2", but this was unfortunately a very big 14 1/2" and I slopped around in it. So disappointing!!!

But I did find this awesome bit...

I was looking for a different bit for Frosty and this fit the bill. I immediately wanted to get home and try him with it. He's working in it pretty well. Still have a lot of softening of his shoulders to achieve, but at least now we have the right tool to help him.

Out of curiosity, I tried it on Spooks and he responded very well to it. So well, that I ran him in it at the last NBHA barrel race and boy, did he ever snap around his turns.

Pretty good $25 investment.

I also got this mid-weight blanket for Moon...

It is brand new and only another $25. The chairs in this picture was from another garage sale from the same day. $3 each. I just need to find some cushions for them.

L was cleaning out her tack room and came across a bag of horse stuff she had been given, but she has much smaller horses than I do (doesn't everybody? LOL), so she gave the bag to me. Two used fly sheets. One of them is exactly what I have been wanting for Spooks...

He sun fades so badly, but this should help. It's a bit big...LOL...Had to have been for a draft or a big warmblood to be big on this guy, but good enough for when he's in the corral during the afternoon heat.

The other one is a nice Wrangler flysheet...

A little big for Bugs...but it fits Frosty, Spooks and Rip. Bugs about had a heart attack when I slid it on him and turns out it wasn't a saddle pad.  Little, fat man can spin like a top when he wants to. LOL...So I made him wear it for a few hours in the corral. Obviously he got over it fairly quickly. He actually adores getting attention and being fussed over. He has always wanted to be a pocket pony. Now he doesn't have a choice (smirk).

And brand spanking new...These showed up in the mail...

Hand crafted flys masks from Cut-N-Jump. Now, THAT suits the Fast Draw theme around here! ;-)

I have to try them on some of my smaller horses, like Moon and Shooter because I forgot to mention to CnJ that most of my boys are a tad on the big side. Which reminds me, I really need to measure across Spooks and Frosty's foreheads anyway. I bought fancy new headstalls at the NFR, last winter, for each of them and wouldn't you know...the browbands are too tight. I found a leatherworker who is going to extend them for me, so they fit.

But I know I have a few horses the the flymasks will fit (They are very well made!!!). I just have the three that are very broad through the forehead-Spooks, Frosty and Bugs. Everybody else is pretty 'normal'. LOL

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

He's On A Roll

I don't think I will ever get tired of saying...

Moon placed and won money.

Actually twice since the last time I posted. :-) (grinning from ear to ear)

Last Saturday, I ran him at an NBHA race...mostly to see if I could break through the mental block I have when it comes to running him at the 'D' races. That very well may have been the hardest race ever for me...mentally. Coming off a win, I sure didn't want to have a wreck of a run. And I seem to have a hard time getting the same kind of runs at these divisional races as I do at rodeos. I decided the best thing to do was just let myself be nervous. Apparently, I need that sick-in-the-gut feeling to have enough of an adrenaline pump to ride fast enough to keep up with Moon. ;-)

The run was a little rough. I watched several horses slip coming out of the first barrel, so I knew that I needed to make sure to keep Moon picked up as he was finishing his turn. I don't know if I was late picking him up, picked up too much or just a bit of an old habit showed up...but he blew wide coming out of 1st. Moon has had a problem with blowing off the first turn a little wide in the past, but hasn't done it in a while. Anyway...one of my big goals this year is not to 'fight' with Moon in his runs. It's taken me a long time to really understand and accept that he may not ever be a horse that makes really pretty runs...but he is so stinking fast, that if I can just sort of get him around the pattern and let him r.u.n., he can still makes awesome times. So as he was canting across the arena after blowing a little wide off of 1st, I didn't fight to get him over. I just kept my eye on the spot I wanted him to be and kept my hands pointed that direction. About 2 strides before the 2nd barrel, he was still not over to where he needed to be and I did something I never do...I gave him a little 'Yah, Yah, Yahhhh'. LOL...I'm not a yeller...at least not when I'm making runs. (smirk) But I knew I needed to do something to get him thinking about coming over. In one smooth motion, Moon moved over and made that turn. I really do not know how he does some of the things he does. He can be in the most god-awful positions and if *I* just keep riding him...he makes it work. It's taken a hella long time to not only understand that Moon can make maneuvers like that, but to trust that he will.

Because he came into the turn so awkwardly, he dropped on his front-end and had to regather, but he did not blow out of 2nd by very much...not nearly as much as he did the night he won. I felt him wanting to set up on 3rd a little bit and gave him a little more, 'Yah, Yah, Yah!' He eeked around that barrel and I have to say...I remembered to keep my hand up!!

He ran a 17.504. A half a second better than his fastest time at this arena. He placed 3rd that day.

Not to be outdone...Good, old Spooksy boy went out and ran a very clean and pretty pattern and won the 4D. Spooks is racking up the $$ and points again this year in that division. My hope that he keeps doing exactly what he is doing.

That was a very good day for my boys!!

Since Moon is doing well and seems to be more confident than ever...on Monday, I decided to re-up my Colorado Pro Rodeo card and enter an upcoming rodeo. I have never been to this arena, but I heard it was a big, sandy pen...the kind of arena that Moon excels in.

*I* was the one who really needed to get just one more run on him. I guess I am having a hard time believe that it's finally coming together. So I entered him in the local Tuesday rodeo again. I was really hoping to draw up in the performance, just to give Moon a chance to feel the rodeo vibe...in case we ended up in the performance at the other rodeo...but I was not lucky enough to get a performance draw (at the local rodeo). We ran in the slack. You know...I don't think it really matters to Moon. Once he locks onto the barrels, I don't think he sees or hears anything else anyway.

Oh and he was firing too. His first barrel was picture perfect. I felt him hang just a bit coming out of the turn...but he didn't blow off, so I was stoked. He ran into his 2nd barrel pocket in absolutely perfect form and boy did he snap back around that turn...and all of the sudden...he was just gone. His whole front-end just dropped out from under me. All of the sudden I was standing straight up in the stirrups and when I looked down, all I saw was really wet ground and I knew he had stumbled in that damn hole that can show up on the 2nd barrel at this arena. I dropped my hand and gave Moon his head. He re-gathered and took off running again. He wasn't even a bit wide running to 3rd. He took that turn in awesome form and then kind of blew out a little bit. He was far enough out of the turn that I let him take that one step over and then he blasted for home.

He ran a 17.55. I knew there was another 17.5? that had just been run a few horses before me, so wasn't sure it he was leading it or sitting 2nd. I thought it was still pretty good considering I knew he had bobbled hard at 2nd. L come running over and was very worried. She asked if I was okay. I was like ?? huh??. Yea, I was fine. I know I got stood up when he bobbled, but L said Moon went almost to his knees and it looked like I had gotten jerked into the swells. Weird! It didn't feel that bad...but I guess it looked a lot worse than it felt. Then I told her I wasn't sure what had happened as he finished 3rd...he was turning perfectly and then kind of took that step off to the side and L was like...'He was really scrambling to get a hold of the ground.' Oohhh...Well, good thing I didn't try to pull on him. He was just trying to keep his balance.

As it turned out...we were actually sitting 3rd after the slack. There had been a 17.48 that I didn't see and the other run that I knew was close was a 17.53....I was still pretty thrilled. All that and Moon was not outrun. After waiting for the last 10 racers to go in the performance, we ended up 4th. And it was still a paying slot. Whoo-hooo!

Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked for the rodeo this coming weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Not Sure Where To Start

This was quite possibly the BEST Vegas trip MH and I have ever had. It wasn't because he won a butt-load of money either...I think he actually broke about even in the end. I came home with a little bit of cash. Mostly left-overs from what hubby handed me to keep me occupied while he did his thing at the roulette table. ;-)

My little fishy game was not kind to me AT ALL this trip...


I couldn't get it to do anything at the MGM Grand, but on the last night there, MH and I decided to take a stroll down the strip and I finally got a few hits...


Oh how I wished that was dollars. (sigh)...it's just pennies.

So if your not into long posts, just know that we ate some great food, watched a historic boxing match and had a great time.

If you are interested in the details...grab a cup of coffee and settle in...

Our usual Vegas haunt is the Monte Carlo, but this time a rather persistent MGM Grand host persuaded MH to give the MGM Grand a whirl. We were invited out for the Pacquaio vs. Bradley boxing match, with the usual amenities included. Now, neither of us are boxing fans...but the hubby had heard what an awesome boxer Paquiao was, so we decided 'What the heck!'


The vay-cay got off to a very rocky start when we arrived at the MGM Grand and found out that their computer systems were completely crashed and NO ONE could check in. The entire casino was filled with people wandering around with their luggage...most looking a little lost and confused...some looking more than a bit put-out. We heard that some people had been there for 6-8 hours already...waiting to get checked in. MH said, 'Awww, hell no.' and got on the bat phone with our usual Monte Carlo host to see if they could get us a room. Over 60% of the strip was affected by the computer crashes (ALL properties owned by the MGM Grand Corp, including the MC.), but she said, 'Sure, come on over if you need too. We'll work it out.'

Our MGM Grand host was so mortified by the situation that he comped the entire weekend...anything and everything we wanted. FREE! Obviously, we were not the only ones who got that privilege...so I can't even imagine how many millions it cost the casino over the weekend. :-O

Well, I'm not one to let a good thing slip away...I told MH we were going to give it a bit and sure enough we got the VIP treatment and within a couple of hours we were settled in our suite. I wasted no time booking into the Spa for some luxurious treatments and spent the next few days dragging MH to some of the finest restaurants in the casino. Usually we are pretty low-key VIP guests, but this time I took full advantage of what was offered.

One night we ate at Michael Mina's SeaBlue...


I cannot even begin to explain how utterly divine that meal was. The waiter was so helpful at guiding us into a 3-course meal that melded and melted seamlessly together, bite after bite. I didn't even think to take pictures of the food that night, but my entree was a sea bass paired with smoked asparagus and MH had Ahi Tuna paired with warm, marinated button mushrooms. Three days later, MH said he was still in awe of how amazing his Ahi Tuna was and his mouth watered just thinking about it.

The next night we ate at Tom Colicchio's CraftSteak. Just to try something a little different than the regular, supremely aged and perfectly cooked Black Angus steak...we decided to try the Domestic Wagyu...


Wagyu is the breed of Japanese cattle that produces Kobe beef. Domestic Wagyu is a Black Angus/Wagyu cross. One our neighbor's back in South Dakota has gotten into raising these cross-breeds because there is such a premium paid for them. After cutting into my filet mignon, I can see why. I have never seen such amazing marbling on a hunk of beef in my life. As you can see, we paired our beef with more mushrooms and the waitress suggested the corn. Fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob, flash saute'd with butter and brown sugar and then tossed with cilantro...Oohhhh.....I am so going to have to try to perfect that recipe at home. It was fantastic!!!

Our next fine dining experience was at Shibuya. We requested a seat at the bar so we could watch the masters build these beautiful dishes...



Now, you are either a sushi fan or you are not. I came into a taste for sushi late in life...like only the last couple of years. And it was only in this last year that I graduated to actual raw fish. I think it was once I started paying attention to the 'art' of it vs thinking about 'eewww...raw fish'. At one sushi place MH and have eaten at, we learned the sushi master spent 11 years in Japan learning the art of sushi. He spent 3 years of that learning how to wash rice. That story has always kind of resonated with MH and I...whenever something isn't going well...we often look at each other and comment, 'Well, it's not like we spent 3 years learning how to wash rice.' and somehow that always puts things into perspective.

I so wanted to dine a Joel Robuchan's...but just didn't get to it. Total bummer! I mean...he is the chef of the century and the thought of spending a couple hours eating my way through one of his 5-course meals was soooo tempting.

Soooo...the main reason for being in LV on this particular occasion was to attend this boxing match thing...

I wasn't particularly interested in it, outside of the fact it was a chance to get dolled up to the max, but a few days before leaving, I was talking with one of my neighbors and when I mentioned that we were going to watch that fight, she squealed with envy and started filling me in on what an amazing boxer this Manny Pacquaio was. Not just an amazing boxer, but quite a humanitarian in his own country (the Philippines) and a Congressman in his country as well. So, yea...I got a whole lot more interested. Someone having amazing talent is like, whatever...but someone who has amazing talent, is also intelligent and choses to improve the world around him? THAT is interesting. Soooo unlike the majority of the over-paid, self-indulgent pro athletes.

The trip was a bit extra special for MH...he just recently got in contact with a friend whom he had not seen in many years, who happens to live in Canada...around Calgary I think...and he asked him if he wanted to come down to watch the fight. So he did. Listening to those two reminisce was very entertaining, to say the least. Most of the stories can never be repeated because I'm not sure if the statute of limitations has run out on some of the stunts those two pulled. No wonder Canada won't let my hubby back in. LMAO!!!

Hubby and I got dressed up...


And we hit the event arena. We had been seeing 'famous' people all weekend, and my neighbor had told me that a lot of Hollywood stars and famous people followed boxing...but they were everywhere. There were movie stars, rap stars, musicians and athletes all over the place...half of whom I did not even recognize 'in person'. Luckily, there were these amazing ladies....


...that kept pointing out the 'famous' people to us. LOL...Shout out to the best aisle attendants EVER!!! You ladies made our night! I did recognize a few people..Evander Holyfield was there, Mike Tyson...

And Gordon Ramsey (the chef) sat right behind us. I so wanted to turn around and ask for a picture, but when I saw Mike Tyson retreat in disgust after trying to talk to someone and people kept running up and asking to have their picture taken with him...I decided I didn't want to be one of those people.

We watched a couple of matches before the big fight and then it was time!!!

Now...Like I said...I am not exactly a follower or a fan of boxing...but my step-dad was a HUGE fan, so as a kid, I did spend a fair amount of time watching it...you know...back in the day when everyone only had ONE t.v. and mom/dad got to watch what they wanted before you had a hope in hell of getting any t.v. time? LOL...But anyway...I do remember a lot of the things my step-dad talked about...what was good and not so good. So I did have an inkling of what I was watching. Somehow...I think after watching Manny Pacquaio in the first round...I would have figured out on my own...the man is absolutely AMAZING!!! to watch. It was like watching a mongoose play with a cobra. There is no doubt that Bradley is a good fighter. He was (and still is) undefeated. But compared to the light-footed and rattlesnake quick Pacquaio...he just looked cumbersome and slow.

The darned thing of it was...I kind of had to cheer for Bradley because MH had placed a hefty bet on him (Pac Man was the favorite, so if Bradley won...he was the better payout)...AND...I had dreamed that Bradley won. Watching the fight...I was certain Bradley was going to have to knock Pacquaio out if that was going to happen. Pacquaio out-fought Bradley in 11 out of 12 rounds. When the fight was over and Bradley had not knocked Pacquaio out...I thought my dream had failed me. A very, VERY rare occurrence. I thought Bradley winning the fight by split decision was as big a bunch of BS as everyone else there...but my dream did not lie, fair or foul. :-/

Things got ugly REALLY fast when that decision was announced and we got the heck out of dodge. No way were we going to end up in the middle of a riot and that is kind of what it felt like was going to happen. Of course, the entire rest of the night was nothing but talk about what a wretched and obviously WRONG decision the judges made. The general consensus was that the whole thing was rigged and giving Bradley the split decision was nothing more than a marketing ploy for a re-match.

I saw Pacquaio in the elevators later and I felt so sorry for him. His expression and demeanor said he was just devastated. You could tell when the last bell rang, he was completely confident he had dominated that fight and he was unable to hide the shock when the decision went to Bradley. It was also apparent that Bradley knew he had lost and even when he was hoisted up after his victory was announced...it looked like he was asking people, 'I won?'.

Well....It may be the only boxing match I ever go to...but I can say that I got to see one of the most historic BAD decisions ever made. I can't say it was a bad fight. It was actually a really good fight. Just a really lousy ending.

Yes, MH won a lot of money on his bet. He promptly gambled it all away. I don't think it made him feel very good to have won it that way.

That's about it...Only other odd twist to the weekend was the fact that I did NOT buy a single pair of shoes!

I know...What's up with that?? Vegas is my shoe-shopping heaven. Oh well...there's always next time. ;-) I seemed to have spent my extra time either at the Spa or hanging out at the pools...


There was several to chose from and it felt good to just bake in the sun and inhale some strawberry daiquiri's.  Now it's back to reality...but with a refreshed attitude and game plan.





Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Not A Tweener Any More

Well...F.i.n.a.l.l.y!!!....

Moon won a barrel race! At a rodeo even! :-O

I think we were all wondering if this was ever going to happen...

It's a little weird...not having to think about the should, woulda, coulda's after a run. What the heck??

A person spends all this time, working at, thinking about and stressing over every little thing to get to this one point...

And when it happens...it's like..Huh, Now what?

Well...Lots more of the same that finally got us to this point, I guess. Ed Wright said the easiest thing to do is get to the top...the hardest thing is to stay there. Well...It's been hard as hell to get to the top...now I just have to make sure I don't stop doing anything and everything that finally culminated in a win.

Have I ever mentioned that a lot of times I get physically sick to my stomach before running Moon? The horse makes me absolutely nauseous. Like OMG...I could just throw up now. Not a single one of my other horses makes me even a little bit nervous. All this time, I have been working to get rid of that feeling when I run Moon...come to find out...it's when we make our best runs. If I am relaxed and not feeling sick to my stomach, I never seem to ride him well enough to make a good run. Interesting tidbit to figure out huh? Before this run, I literally had to ride away from the arena cause I thought I was going to throw up.

I had forgotten my bat at the trailer...Moon was so good at the last barrel race that I didn't even think about grabbing it, but he got to swirling around on me at the gate. Thankfully someone handed me a bat and just a pop on the shoulder and he stopped. I could literally feel him vibrating under me. He didn't want to walk straight forward into the gate (this arena has that funky side gate), so I let him slide up next to the fence and creep around the corner into the arena. The second he stepped into that arena, he was in full race horse mode. He danced his way to the opposite side of the arena so we could get lined up with the 1st barrel. What Moon likes to do is stick his chin out and get rigid in the jaw and neck. Because that lets him get flippy in the hindquarters and gives him the opportunity to pick up the wrong lead...I am absolutely adamant that he break over in the poll and relax that jaw into my hand. I just kept working one side and the other of the rein until he broke over and rounded up. I don't think Moon likes that I make him do this...but I do think it makes him feel more confident and in control when he takes off because it has completely changed his run to 1st barrel.

Moon's first barrel is getting wickedly good. He is firing to and around it faster than he ever has. My competition buddy, L finally beat it into my head that continuing to ease Moon up to and around the 1st barrel was killing our times. Not to mention that I wasn't really gathering him up and making him start from a collected state. The first time I let him run hard to first, we went flying by it. Neither of us was prepared to take the turn at that speed. But L was right...Moon has been running long enough that it was time to just let go and figure it out. And figure it out...he has.

Second barrel was a little iffy. Moon is wanting to lead with his shoulder and lean into that barrel again and the only reason we made it by it was because I picked up a look spot that was beyond the barrel, lifted my hand like crazy and just drove him on like I wanted to run past the barrel. That eeked his shoulder by the barrel, but Moon wasn't about to overrun that turn. He whipped around so hard, he set me completely up out of the saddle and my hand on his neck was about all that saved me from tea-kettling over his shoulder. Dropping down on his front so hard to make the turn caused him to take an extra jump to get out of the turn and get going again, so we were wide coming off of 2nd and wide heading to 3rd.

It's pretty much the same exact run he had going at Montrose on Saturday, where I made the mistake of not keeping my hand up. And that was flashing through my head. I knew if we were going to keep that 3rd barrel up, I was going to have to lift like crazy on the inside rein all the way around. Moon felt me getting my hand ready and eased himself back into a better position, which helped. When he started to dive into the turn, I just lifted my hand and held him up. I felt my leg brush the barrel and thought, 'Oh, no you don't, you SOB. You are not tipping.' And lifted harder. I don't know how Moon's hip cleared that barrel cause I never even looked (which is a bad thing to do anyway) and he hauled ass for home.

I thought, 'Well...we made a clean run. It felt pretty awkward but by god, I R.O.D.E. him every inch of the way and we kept it clean.' There was kind of a pause before they announced my time...and that is never a good feeling. The wind was blowing so hard that they had already missed the time on a run ahead of me. There is supposed to be a hand-timer as a back-up to the electric eye, but somehow that got missed as well. So I was a little nervous. I knew I wouldn't be re-running Moon if they had missed my time. Come to find out...they were just a bit startled by his time...

He ran a 17.61 and to that point, the fast time was a 17.9?. I was a little startled to hear the time myself. I know Moon can make time as long as he keeps forward momentum, but it sure felt like we had lost a lot of time coming out of that 2nd barrel, so I figured at best we would be a 17.9 or 18.0. The only other barrel racer I was worried about beating my time in the slack was L. She ran right after me and her little mare is THE horse to beat. L had a little gate trouble, which was exacerbated by the anxious ropers waiting at the gate (don't even want to go into my rant on that B.S.) and had to get off to lead her mare in. Unfortunately, she did not get a chance to put her rubber bands back on and blew a stirrup at first and blew her 2nd stirrup at 2nd. Her mare made a very uncharacteristic loop on her 3rd turn, but I still thought she had a much smoother run that I had. She was a 17.74.

Since we ran in slack...we had to wait until after the 10 barrel racers went in the performance to see the final results. I checked the names and didn't see anyone that was worrisome...but you never know. The ground always gets faster for the performance runs and sometimes the unknowns can eek out a really good run. Last time I was winning the slack, I went back to watch the performance runs and the first 3-4 barrel racers out kicked my butt, so this time I decided not to agonize over it and told L to pick up my $$ if I placed. She called me to let me know that there had been some really nice runs...but nothing as fast as ours. Whew! Finally...Not just a placing...But a WIN!!!

Now Moon gets a little time off. He was a bit reactive in his loin after that run...but but he will have plenty of time for the soreness to work itself out. The hubby and I are going to Vegas this weekend and when I get back, Moon will start getting a lot of desert riding. We need to have a practice session before I run him again to clean up his approach to 2nd barrel and then we should be good to go.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting There

The new patio is starting to look like I envisioned... Got a few hanging baskets to get hung...and some outdoor shades that need to go up...and a few other details that will have to wait until after the house gets stuccoed. There's always more to do right?

 This area is my next couple of projects... I am building a flower bed along the lattice and will plant a couple of trumpet vines there, along with a couple of rose bushes. I need to build a half wall where the grill is sitting, so the grill stops trying to blow into the hot tub or smashing into the house. We knew the wind was going to be a problem when we put the patio on the west side of the house. But I have some ideas that will help. Once the house is stuccoed, I am going to plant a couple of big Arborvite Evergreens on the south side and I am thinking about put lattice the full length on the west side. It will work itself out as I go along. ;-)

Went to a barrel race this weekend and had a full load. Bugs made his public debute...

 
Okay...so all he did was get saddled and ponied around a bit...but he was a very good boy! Not a single spazz-out. This picture made me laugh. Moon is standing on the other side of Bugs and they were in the exact same position. They may not look like brothers...but they sure have some similar characteristics. LOL

Spooks did his thing and placed 2nd in the 4D. He ran a nice pattern, but he was scotchy as hell. Almost completely stopped one stride before the timer. (shakes head) God bless that horse...but I don't forsee him ever deciding to just run for the love of running. We'll finish out this season and the big guy can retire from barrel racing. ;-)

Moon ran very well. Entered the arena properly, had a great first barrel, got a little leany on me on the 2nd barrel and *I* dropped my hand one stride too soon on the 3rd barrel. It must not have been set very tight because I sure didn't think it should have gone down...he barely bumped it...but that is the way the cookie crumbles. :-/

Best news of all...neither horse got sore! Yaayyyyyy!!!

The Rimrock Rodeos start this week and I sure want to run Moon there...but I didn't get my hopes up too much. I just had to wait to see if Moon was going to get sore or not. Since he didn't...Guess I'll be entering. He usually does very well at this arena and he sure has been running like his tail is on fire...so maybe it will all come together. Fingers crossed!!