Monday, July 30, 2012

Three Days On The Road-Run #2

The next day, I made it up to Norwood early in the afternoon. Just in time to get parked before it started pouring rain...again.

I had heard that it had rained hard at this rodeo the night before and the girls had to run in deep mud. I guess I was kinda hoping that it wouldn't rain again and the ground would have dried up a little.

Oh least this time...everyone would be running in mud, so that at least levels the playing field.

This was Norwood's arena...AFTER they had bladed it and made some attempt to try to get it to dry...

They did the best they could...but it was fetlock deep, sucking mud. I took Moon out there for a couple of quick sprints in it to get him a bit more used to slop hitting him in the belly and splashing his legs. Just walking him through it was work though. Each step was accompanied by a big sucking noise.

At least there wasn't standing water. ;-) ...And it was not slick!

Again...not much you can do about it...either you make your run or you don't. There for awhile, I was actually contemplating running Spooks instead of Moon. As deep and sucking as that mud was, I was a little worried that big, old-long-strided Moon could/would pull something. I decided to wait until the very last minute to make the decision.

I was very happy that my hubby was home from working out of state and he jumped on his bike and rode up to spend the night with me. How he managed that ride without getting rained on was beyond me...I seemed to have had the misfortune to have driven through every single rainstorm for the past couple of days.

We watched the beginning of the rodeo and I just kept judging the ground condition as each event went on. By the time the mixed team roping started...I had to make the call and I decided to run Moon. The ground was getting less deep and less sticky.

I warmed Moon up in the sliding gag bit and was planning on running him in it, but he got to flipping the shanks around and it was irritating me, so I put his regular competition bit back on. This fairgrounds has a nice race track around it and I breezed Moon out pretty good once he got stretched out. He was acting pretty hot, but a nice breeze got his mind off of acting silly and he settled right down.

With plenty of time to spare, this time I got off and hand-walked him for awhile. This was a pretty slow moving rodeo...but I actually felt sorry for the people who had to work on foot in that mud. They were literally having to dig the little mutton busters out of the mud. The few that tried to walk back on their own ended up losing boots in the mud. LOL

With one more set of ropers to go, I eased Moon up and let him set amongst the ropers. I could feel his heart pounding and he was shaking...but he stood. As he watched the ropers go, he settled in, stopped shaking and his heartbeat became regular again. This scoring thing seems to be something that Moon really needs before a run...Well that and a little help from the OxyBoost. The scoring barrel horses during the team roping is something my mom learned from June Holeman.

When it was time, Moon was ready for his run. He did one spin out and then lined up for the gate. I started talking to him and telling him what a good boy he was and all kinds of other non-sense. He eased through the gate, found that first barrel and away we went... (Please forgive my husband's foul language at the end...He was a little excited ;-) PS. You will probably have to make it full screen to see it better...

Now...It's always best to run your own race...but in adverse never hurts to listen when a friend advises you of the ground conditions. Another friend from my area ran right before me and as she was coming out and I was going in, she told me the ground was sticky, 'don't sit too soon'...since I watched her whack 3rd barrel because her horse rated too hard, I went with that thought when I started my run.

Ahahahaha...I waited until Moon's shoulder was AT first barrel and then sat...he was turning...but he went flying out the backside of the barrel....Oops...Guess it wasn't as sticky for Moon. :-/. He kept running though. You can see pretty clearly that little early rate thing he gives me at 2nd, that very often results in us hitting a barrel, but I am getting better at riding him through it and around the barrel. He faded off a little going to 3rd, but I wasn't going to fight with him in the mud. I just put all my weight in the outside stirrup and lifted as hard as I could to keep him from whacking the 3rd barrel...It worked.

The funny thing was...It was an incredibly slow time, under normal 18.73. But considering the mud...We were sitting 2nd. Up to that point the fastest time was an 18.70 from the night before. I don't think I have ever been so nervous as I was after that run. There were only 6 girls to go and was sure hoping we could hold onto a money spot.

The very next lady to run went in there and made this big, loopy run on a long-legged palomino horse. It sure didn't look like he was getting much done but he never really got bogged down in the mud either...He ran an 18.2. I was thinking, oh crap...our time really wasn't that good and we are going to get knocked out of the placing. I started walking Moon out, but stayed close so I could hear the times.

Another runner went and she had an 18.6...that meant I was in the last hole for money...Noooo...wait...They added 5 for a tipped barrel. Back to 3rd place. Next couple of girls ran in the nineteens. Two girls to go and I am just praying I can hang onto at least a 4th place check.

Next girl had a nineteen second run and then the last girl went in...that meant that even if she beat me, I was still in the money. Whooo-hoooo!! But she didn't beat was another nineteen second run.

Whooo-hooooo....Moon got 3rd place overall and a CHECK!!!

A nice, big, FAT check!!!

Come on...everybody do a happy dance with me...'We're in the mo-ney, we're in the mo-ney...'

Ohhhh....Myyyy...Gosshhhhh....I was sure ready for that. If we hadn't place in these last two rodeos I was going to just go back to working on the association runs and see if we couldn't improve a little more. It's darned expensive to go to these pro rodeos...and I can't justify just going and going if I am not in the money at all (More on that in another post ;-).

The hubby and I had been planning on going to the local honky-tonk after the rodeo, but by the time I got horses taken care of...I was pooped. This time, I did have to get up early the next morning to get to the next run...

To Be Continued...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Three Days On The Road-Run #1

There is an old rodeo saying;

Sometimes you win,

Sometimes you lose,

Sometimes you get rained out...

And that my friends... Was my weekend in a nutshell!

This was the Durango arena prior to the start of the rodeo...
What I didn't get a shot of was the other side of the arena...

It was a L.A.K.E....

And 2nd barrel was sitting right in the middle of it.

Well, what are ya gonna do?

Pretty much just had to laugh it off. I figured it nothing else...It was a good training/experience opportunity for Moon. I mean, it is very, VERY seldom that you can put together a winning run in this kind of soup (unless everyone is running in the same conditions and this was a 3 day rodeo). There are exceptions of course...sometimes a deep sticky ground will slow you down more than soup. What is most important is whether its slick or not.

I had absolutely no jitters by the time the barrel racing was coming up. I had watched quite a few of the ropers and had a pretty good feeling that the ground was not slick. I was also really fortunate that one of the ladies that I run with at the local associations was the gunner. I couldn't see her run because Moon was being a spinning, freaking out fool in the warm-up pen. (Ugghhh...He was as bad as he has ever been...but I'll explain that later) When she came out and passed me, she told me the ground was not slick so to just make as good a run as I could. Knowing that the soup still had some grip was a huge relief. I decided I was going to run Moon as hard as I could get him to run.... Which by the way... I didn't think would be very hard at all. LOL...Moon's sole experience in running in soupy mud was 3 years ago and that time he was so startled that he went all tinkerbell on me and was trying to walk on water to avoid being splashed.

I had already changed out my usual competition bit for the sliding gag that I usually use on Spooks. With the sliding gag, I can keep Moon stood up in his turns better. And whether I thought the ground was slick or not, I did think it was more prudent to try to keep him more upright.

It was hell getting Moon in the gate. Every time I got him lined out, a darned rodeo queen would walk in front of me and he would start spinning away again. A nice girl told me she was going to walk toward the gate and Moon fell in line with her and in he went... I could feel him high striding through the slop, but he was stretching out and then he got to the first barrel. Eeerrrccchhhhh...

He wanted to turn the barrel, but he was pretty sure he didn't want to get into that standing water. He got all sorts of bound up going around the first barrel. I started driving him toward the 2nd barrel as hard as I could because I knew if that was his reaction on first...he wasn't going to like 2nd none-to-much. We were still a couple of strides out when his ears came up and I knew he wasn't looking at the barrel any more...he was looking at that h.u.g.e. puddle of water. LMAO...I was actually giggling in my head. Moon ran into the water...I was kind of surprised he went straight in...but he did...and then he bound up trying to get around the barrel. He just really didn't know where to place his feet.

After that...3rd was a breeze (cause it was just mud, no standing water) and he really stretched out and run on the way home. It was a smoken' 19.9 second run (Yep...little sarcasm there ;-) But ya know...I thought he did a great job and hey...he still ran the 2nd fastest time of the performance. Only horse to beat him was the lady I know, who runs a 19y/o been-there-done-that and ran in every kind of condition you can imagine horse and even her horse ran in the nineteens.

Now...about Moon spazzing out at the gate...part of it was because as they were setting up the barrels, the clown act let off monstrous boom and a large fireworks display. Holy hell...There were barrel horses scattering like paper in a tornado in the warm-up pen. There were some not-to-happy barrel racers over that deal. That set Moon on edge more than normal and he did not think going toward the direction of that massive boom was anything he wanted to do. The other part of the problem was that I forgot to give him his OxyBoost when we got there.

Moon is currently on a vet prescribed feed through Omeprazole for gastric ulcers, so I no longer have to treat him with the tube Ulcergard before traveling. Along the way I also bought a tube of OxyBoost (by OxyGen) to help boost his breathing before his runs and it also seems to have the added benefit of helping to calm him and increase his focus. I didn't realize how much until I forgot to give it to him. Sheez! Won't be forgetting that again anytime soon. :-/

All in all, it ended up being a fun night...I ran into a lady I met when I went to New Mexico for that Ed Wright clinic. LOL...Our horses were stalled right next to each after the rodeo, we went downtown for some supper and had a great visit. I didn't figure I needed to hit the bed too early, I had all day to travel a mere 150 miles the next day and was hopeful we had a better chance at some money there...

To Be Continued...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Photos From Westcliffe Rodeo

Awww...A photographer that was at the Westcliffe rodeo was kind enough to contact me and send me pictures he took. His name is Verl Luppes.

 A little off kilter after slipping on the first barrel...

Photo looks a whole lot better than what it felt like..

I don't consider myself to be terribly photogenic, but I do like this one...

Will be loading the boys up tomorrow morning and heading Durango for a Friday night run, Saturday it's back up to Norwood to run there. I will be working my way home on Sunday. There is an NBHA double header in Delta. Looks like Spooks will be Moon's traveling buddy for the weekend.

Have a great weekend everyone. :-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

No Money For Me

This may be the lamest update ever...

Spooks did his thing and drew a check in the 4D barrel race.

I couldn't decide what to do about running Moon twice...I waffled over asking him to make 2 hard runs or to let him take it easy at the 4D race and then run hard at the rodeo...

I KNOW better than to waffle on Moon. If I'm gonna run him...I need to r.u.n. him. We tagged the 2nd barrel in the run.

I was soooo pissed at myself. Not Moon's fault. He has gotten used to me pushing him through the turns and I basically just let him run over the 2nd barrel.

Well, because I was mad as hell at myself for doing that. I rode him like a demon at the rodeo. He ran a 16.63. It was a killer run and when I left that night, we were sitting in 3rd place. Money, money, money!!...but better than that...It was an absolutely smokin' run.

Sunday I headed to Westcliffe...have I ever mentioned how much I hate driving over these stupid Colorado mountains?...Ugghhh!...

One thing I did differently at the previous rodeo was to take Moon up to the gate while they were working the arena and prepping it for slack. He didn't want much to do with that, but I just kept working him until he relaxed and started focusing on what exactly was going on in the arena.

Since scoring Moon had worked so well in Montrose, I decided I was going to do it again in Westcliffe. Once again, at first, Moon did NOT want to be down at the arena hanging out with all of the ropers. But after awhile he settled down and actually started watching the rodeo. LOL

After he settled down and I thought we had sat there long enough, I took him back to the trailer, stripped his tack, groomed, watered and fed him. Then he took a little nap.


When it was time to get ready for the barrels, I retacked him, booted him up and started rewarming him. Once again, we went and sat at the arena. Moon took a good long look to see what event was going on...

No joke! He really does that.

When he realized it wasn't barrel racing...He dropped his head and cocked a hind leg.

Good Boy!!!

When they started the truck to take the barrels in, he watched them set up the barrels and started coming alive. But he was still in a relaxed and soft frame of mind. I started moving him again and I was so pleased with how comfortable and focused he seemed to be.

I watched the girls before me run and although the ground looked dry (I had actually been praying that the rain that kept circling around during the whole rodeo would actually fall on the arena and get some moisture on that dry sand), it looked decent enough.

Moon started his run in perfect form, started around the 1st barrel and I felt his front feet slip. Guess the ground was more shifty than it looked. Now Moon has had his backend slip several times in his career and that has never bothered him...feeling his front feet slip freaked him out. He started scrambling.

Now....If I had done what *I* should have done, which was rate him down just a bit and let him know that I was there and helping him...I think everything would have been fine.

But No...I reverted back to feeling a bit panicked myself because I knew that when Moon starts to feel panicked...he doesn't slow up...he runs harder and when he is running hard and out of control...He likes to dive bomb 2nd barrel. I rode him wayyyy too hard. We made it around 2nd barrel but it was ugly, U.G.L.Y!!! 3rd barrel was not very pretty either, but I kept him off of that one as well.

Amazingly enough, his time was not that bad. Since I was in the final performance, I already knew the times I needed to beat to place. Moon placed 5th overall. Not good enough to be in the money.

I also found out that we had lost our 3rd place setting in the Montrose rodeo and we ended up 5th there and just out of the money.

I guess I should be disappointed...but I can't really complain. I don't feel like Moon got 'outrun'...we just got out-placed by some ties...

The fastest time in Montrose was a 17.39 (holy hell that was a smokin' run), 2nd was a 17.56, there was a tie for the 3rd fastest time of 17.61 and then Moon's 17.63.

The fastest time in Westcliffe was an 18.08...and there was also a tie on that time, 2nd fastest time was a 18.18, 3rd fastest time was an 18.27 and Moon's time was a 18.46.

The problem with ties is that they take that placing and the next placing, combine the money and split it 2 ways. That means, in Montrose, they took 3rd and 4th monies, combined them and paid the 2 girls who tied that money. That kicked me out of the money.

Same thing in Westcliffe. The tie combined 1st and 2nd's monies and paid those girls and I got kicked out of the money again.

It sucks being one hole out of the money...twice!...but you know what?

That means Moon is running right in there with the fastest horses...and that is NOT a bad place to be. If we can just keep doing what we are doing...the luck will come around and we will end up in the money. I am stoked for the next 2 rodeos!!

Now...for some exciting news...

I have long suspected that part of Moon's 2nd barrel (and sometimes 3rd barrel) problem has had to do with his neck. Every time I go to pick up on him, he just rolls right over the barrel. He absolutely cannot stand to flex to the left. I notice it in slow work as well, but obviously I have time to ask again...and again until he finally bends his neck properly. I massage and work on his neck flexibility ALL THE TIME...but I knew he was out in the neck. I even pinpointed the exact location...His 4th vertebrae.

Here lately, I have also noticed that he is getting a lot of knotty muscle along his right shoulder blade and his right foot is starting to grow funny again. Last year, I noticed the foot starting to get funky and mentioned it to my farrier...he told me it was because Moon was not walking straight.

Well, I could not get a chiro to get a good adjustment on Moon's neck, my farrier is not a big fan of chiro...he believes everything can be fixed with his P3 machine (which DOES help BTW...but what it does it relieve the inflammation in the muscles)...and the vet keeps telling me his whole problem is his hocks.

Glory Hallelujah!!! I ran into a barrel racing friend in town the other day and we were talking horses. She said she had a new guy come out and work on her horse and she said he was very good with neck adjustments.

I had this guy out this evening and lo and behold...He got a hellava adjustment on Moon's neck. After the initial shock, Moon visibly relaxed and we got him flexing waayyyyy more than I have ever been able to get out of him before. He can turn his head all the way back to his flank...while keeping his head perpendicular to the ground...on both sides now. Before, he could flex to the right, but flexing to the left he could only make it to his shoulder and then he would have to tip his head.

These next few days I will just have to ride and work Moon normally and see how much it has helped. I am already working on some stretching exercises, in-hand and under saddle to get his shoulders reaching out equally and to get that knotty muscle broke up along his right shoulder. That should fix the foot problem as well.

I have a feeling that the neck being out of alignment had everything to do with those two things going on. It may take a few adjustments to get it to stay in position, but thankfully I finally have someone who can do it. Whew! It may take a few runs for Moon to realize it isn't going to hurt to flex to the left when I lift up (or it may not...Moon is pretty darned smart) and rate him for the 2nd barrel, but I am hopeful that this may eliminate a lot of our problems there as well.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Giving It A Spin

Wheww-wee...This is going to be an interesting weekend...

There is a $2,000 Added Money barrel race on Friday, in Delta that I will be running both Moon and Spooks at...

As soon as we are done there, I will have to jump horses in the trailer, haul 20 miles down the road, to Montrose and make another run on Moon in the slack at a CPRA rodeo.

On Sunday, we have a 5 hour drive to another CPRA rodeo, in Westcliffe. We are up in the performance.

It's not exactly how I had hoped my preferences would work out...Was hoping to get up in the 1st CPRA rodeo in Saturday's performance, so that Moon would only have to make 1 run per day over the weekend, but all in all, this may work out much better. The two runs Moon will make on Friday are both at arenas we have run at and they are very close together, so he will still be warmed up and loose.

This way, we can come home Friday night, Moon can sleep in his own pen and get all day Saturday to hang out in the pasture. The more he moves around the better and if he does get a bit sore/stiff, I can work on him throughout the day.

Sunday, we'll load up and head to Westcliffe...which is an arena we have never ran at before. I hesitated to enter this rodeo. It is notorious for having very shallow and somewhat slick ground. I did hear that the ground was usually acceptable during the performance runs, so I requested a perf run and if I didn't get that would have not been entered.

When you call in to enter a rodeo...You have to give them a 1st preference and a 2nd preference of when you would like to run. If neither of those preferences are awarded to are not entered. Of course, if you chose slack as one of your preferences, you are pretty much guaranteed to get in.

Timing and ground conditions are generally the biggest considerations when you are making the decision of when to enter. The rodeo committees are supposed to do their best to give every segment of the barrel racing competitors the same ground to run on (barring things that are out of their buckets of rain)...but that doesn't always happen.

I have heard that at Westcliffe, they have refused to work the ground before the slack, which resulted in girls running on a hardpacked arena (which is why I only requested performance runs there). Last year when I ran at Norwood in the slack, they dumped an astronomical amount of water on the arena right before the barrel racing...which resulted in a soupy, slick mess for those of us in slack, whereas the girls in the performance rounds had great ground.

So now I am pretty careful about picking slack...I prefer it to be in the evenings AFTER a performance than in the a.m. Chances are, the ground is as close to the way it would be for a performance run as it can get.

Timing is the other consideration...Basically, you have to make sure you can get from one rodeo to the other in time to get prepared and make your run. I may have messed myself up a little bit on that...

I am also entered in a CPRA rodeo in Durango next Friday. I got up in the perf...but I also want to enter the Norwood rodeo again. When I am getting ready to enter rodeos, I make a list of when the perfs are, when slack is and how far the rodeos are apart. Then I write down my preferences so that I have enough time to get from one to the other. I messed up when I wrote down that Norwood's slack was after the perf on Saturday...the slack is actually after the Friday's perf. Since I am entered in Friday's perf in Durango, and Durango and Norwood are 4 hours apart...I am left with Saturday's perf as my only option, if I want to enter both of them. I will either be in or out, because when I call to enter, I will give Saturday's perf as my 1st choice and 'Out' as my 2nd preference.

There is a whole lot more strategizing to all of this than a person thinks about.

On a good note...

I drew up super good in all three of the rodeos I have already entered. I am up #2 at the Montrose rodeo, #7 at the Westcliffe rodeo and #3 at the Durango rodeo. That also matters a bit more at rodeos than it does at the association runs. Association runs rake the ground after every 5 barrel racers. Rodeos only rake after every 12...

I am exceptionally fortunate that Moon is not as bothered by where he runs in the pack as much as some horses...mostly because he runs so tight to the barrels that if the ground is deep and he is a bit farther down in the rake, he stays inside the bank. But as we have progressed, I have noticed that it does matter what kind of grip is left on the ground inside the bank. If there is good grip left, he uses the banks like a NASCAR. If it's slick at the base, he has a tendency to kind of slide into the bank and of course that always slows a horse down.

Anyway...Keep your fingers crossed. Lotta money on the line this weekend. Sure would like to bring some home. ;-)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Outside Leg Dummy

Just so you guys know...I'm perfectly okay with people laughing AT me. I laugh at myself a lot too.

In case you ever wonder...I really do get a lot out of the comments you guys leave...

As in...

Yesterday I was practicing Moon on the neighbor's barrels. She has a bunch of barrels set up randomly on a 5-acre lot. One thing I have learned...there's a time to work a horse on an exact barrel pattern...after all...they kinda need to understand the pattern...but for the most's really about teaching a horse to travel in a straight line TO the barrel, rate and turn.

Practicing an exact pattern on a semi-finished horse like Moon...well, he just finds that boring as hell. So what I did was practice coming in a straight line to a random barrel, worked on getting him to rate properly...which means, keeping his body straight, his hips underneath himself, his nose ever-so-slightly tipped in and shortening his stride and then turning the barrel in a nice relaxed manner. We worked on it at a long trot and at a lope.

This is a surprisingly difficult drill for Moon, so I don't over-do it. Just work until we get as soft a feel as he is capable of.

I really had no intention of taking Moon to a barrel race this weekend, but last weekend's runs left such a bad taste in my mouth...and after all...Moon did get a mostly clean bill of health from the vet....and there were some things I wanted to work on at a competition...soooo...

One of the most important things I wanted to work on, that can only be duplicated in a competition setting was getting Moon focused again. It doesn't matter a wit how fast your horse is...when they stop t.h.i.n.k.i.n.g. as they are going in to a's usually a mess of a run. The arena we were running at, was perfect to put my friend's suggestion to breeze him before a run into play...there is a race track around this arena.

And boy...Moon got breezed!

Holy Crap...He was in race-horse mode. We made a lap at almost full speed, I pulled him up and turned him around...thinking he would want to stop to catch his breath or just walk....Oh HELL NO...

We made another lap at almost full speed.

The other girls probably thought I was crazy as a my horse around the entire track...not once...but twice.

Most horses would be blowing hard after a run like that...for a horse that has breathing problems...Moon puts most horses to shame. He took a deep breath, sighed and walked off...I got the edge off of him...but that was about it.

I also decided to exhibition him a couple of times. Exhibitioning him wasn't about the pattern so much as it was about making him enter the gate properly, pick up the correct lead and THINK about what he needed to do next. I didn't do anything except slow lope him around the pattern.

Now the day before, while I was practicing...a thought crossed my when I was done practicing...I came in and watched the Cortez video again...And then I wanted to slam my head into the, did I feel dumb.

It's no damn wonder Moon has been bowing out of his first barrel...

I still have my inside leg stuck on him and he is just following my cue. To make matters worse, I started doing that bad habit I had last year...taking my hand off of the horn before he completes the turn. I guess I think I can fix the bow if I get both hands on the reins and try to move him over.

I am half way across the arena before I take my right leg off of him and then I go to booting him with my left leg to get him over to he can go around the add insult to injury, I am also heaving my left shoulder to the outside.

Ooohhhh crapola! That is the same crap I was doing to Moon last year.

So really my only goal for this run was to keep Moon at a more controlled speed and make myself

#1-Keep my hand on the horn ALL THE WAY AROUND the 1st barrel.
#2-Get my inside leg out of him and apply outside leg as Moon is coming out of the 1st turn.
#3-Get my eyes up, get my 2nd barrel pocket picked and ride straight to that point.

I knew that the primary objective of this run was to get my legs working properly on Moon again and that meant getting my outside leg on him as he was coming out of 1st and getting outside leg on him as he was coming into both the 2nd and 3rd barrels. That's all it take to stop the bow and keep his hip underneath him. Duhhh!!!

I told myself that if at any point Moon felt frantic...I was going to rate him down drastically. I was already thinking cautiously about this ground. It was wet and slicker than I have ever seen it. Spooks had run earlier and didn't have any problems...but Spooks runs very upright and is much slower.

I had requested to run Moon last at this race (Long before I knew how slick the ground was). I wanted as much time between him and Spooks as I could get. I actually needed it...because when I changed horses and headed over to re-warm Moon...he was being ridiculous right off the bat. Know what I did?

Yep...I took him right back out on that track and breezed his butt again. Not quite as fast as I had earlier...but it was still pretty fast. This time, it only took one trip around the track and when I reversed to come back the other way...Moon was way more ready to relax into a nice controlled lope and he got very soft and malleable.

He was a rock-star heading into the arena for his run. He marched right up to that gate, picked up the correct lead and felt soft and in control. I loped him the first couple of strides into the arena and then let him go. The ground had been getting better with every rake and there were a couple of really smoking times, so I figured it was good enough to hold Moon if I let him open up.

And go he did! He inhaled that 1st barrel...My brain was reminding me to KEEP MY HAND ON THE HORN and LOOK at where I need to go...

And then I felt his entire back-end slide out from underneath him. It just shot out to the left. Well...that will make you keep your hand on the horn. Holy Shit!!

There was absolutely nothing I could do except hold onto the horn and sit quiet. I just sat there and hoped he wasn't going to flop over on that barrel. (A horse did exactly that early in the race!) Moon hung for what seemed an eternity, then he stood up and took off running. I picked up my spot on the 2nd barrel, rode him straight for it and let Moon do what Moon does...he wrapped that barrel and the 3rd barrel.

He run a 17.93...His personal best in this arena and he ended up with the 3rd fastest time of the night.

You know...every time I get frustrated because Moon can be so challenging...he pulls something like that out of his bag of tricks and I am reminded of how blessed I am to have a horse like him. There aren't all this freaking special.

Needless to say, I will be calling the farrier on Monday morning and getting those light sliders replaced with his eventer shoes. Some people like slide...I prefer a little more grip. With the way Moon runs...he needs it.

Oh...and by the way...Spooks did his job too, 2nd in the 4D. Both horses pulled a check! God my husband loves hearing that. ;-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pretty And Not So Pretty

Meg went with me to Cortez over the weekend, so I finally have videos of the boys running.

Saturday was a good day for everyone...Moon picked up a check in the Open 2D, Spooks picked up a check in the Open 4D and Megan on Rip picked up a check in the Youth 4D.

Spooks made the prettiest run on Saturday...

He still takes that one stride out as he is coming out of 2nd, but it has smoothed out tremendously this year and I don't really think it costs him a substantial amount of time. He looks really wide going to 3rd, but most of it was camera angle. He was a little bit wide on his pocket, but not horrible.

As for the not so pretty...

This is Moon's run on Sunday...

Ugghhhh...He was scotchy at 1st and completely out of control after that. He did run an almost identical time as his Saturday's run...a tish faster even...Saturday's time was 16.968 and Sunday's time would have been 16.928. Looking at this video...I am so mad at myself...I was behind Moon from the start and once again trying to play catch up to stay with him. My hands are everywhere and I am heaving my shoulder at 2nd trying to keep him off the barrel, which results in him throwing me around like a rag doll. Apparently I also had my mouth glued shut again. I didn't make a sound during this run and I KNOW that Moon needs me to talk to him during his runs. Ugghhh!

One thing I may have learned; The first day, Moon was 'up' but not 'hot'. On Sunday, he was almost uncontrollable, even during the warm-up. When Moon gets too hot, he is as rigid as a board. I have tried to use a lot of bending and softening and strive to keep him quiet. A friend suggested that since Moon is getting overly 'up', it may be better to take him out and breeze him well in advance of a run to take some of the edge off.

I have been awfully careful with Moon due to his respiratory problems and then worrying about his stifle situation. I did not want to over-tax him or take too much of his edge off...but now that I know that his stifle is okay...she may have a valid point. Moon does not make good runs when he is overly excited...he tries way too hard and I find it almost impossible to stay up with him. It becomes a fight to just try to keep him on course, as you saw in this run. I probably do need to take just a bit of his edge off, so that he is more relaxed and quieter when it is time to run. I am going to try that this coming weekend and I am going to exhibition him at a much reduced speed. It's all well and good that he wants to run so hard, but if it is out of control doesn't do either of us any good. He's frantic and I am late in everything I do.

Dang...this is a tough learning curve.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I could hardly wait to get home from the vet's to relay the good news...

Moon's stifle ultrasound came up clean!!

As injury to joint or tendons. Outside of carrying some excess fluid around the joint...everything looked super clean.

I cannot even begin to tell you all how relieved I am.

The possible negative outcome of the ultrasound has been weighing heavily on my mind this last week.

What the vet does think is going on is that Moon's hocks are starting to fuse...after all, Moon is at that age (14) and that may have something to do with Moon getting so overly ratey going into the barrels. Because Moon's hocks are already well into the fusing process...injections are unnecessary.

What I will have to do is up his Adequan regiment to every 2 weeks, add a glucosamine supplement and start carrying a lot of ice with me to the barrel races. ;-)

I will have to start icing his hocks before the race and after...and after his workouts at home.

The good news is...I can go back to actually putting Moon to work. I have held off of loping him much and kept him off of the pattern except to make a run. The lack of proper work-outs and almost no practice is definitely showing up. We had an 'okay' run on Saturday in Cortez, good enough to pull a check, but I was not exactly happy with the run itself...and then an absolutely horrible run on Sunday, where Moon was throwing me around like a rag-doll again and I couldn't get him drove past the 3rd barrel, so we knocked it.

Well, now that any possible injury/excessive pain issues have been eliminated and I have a treatment plan to minimize the naturally occurring, age related pain...Time to get Moon tuned up.

I am soooo relieved!!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Build Another One

With Moon's future a bit of a question mark....although, I do have a good feeling about a positive outcome...I had to take a look around and think to myself...What do I have that can replace him?

Of course there is always Frosty. I have high hopes for the big, buckskin dummy (JK...I don't really think Frosty is dumb ;-). I know there is a fair amount of speed lurking in that big yellow just seems to be a bit more difficult than I thought it was going to be to get him to embrace it.

Spooks is a non-contender. Bless his goofy heart.

Bugs, the little sorrel horse probably won't be around long enough. He's trucking along and is a good boy, but due to the hay situation, I will have to reduce numbers around here this winter and some of these horses will have to go home to S.D. for the winter. What comes back next spring is always open for debate. I never really know who I'll end up throwing in the trailer. ;-)

Shooter? Welllll...Lets just say life played an evil trick on me. Shooter is not barrel horse potential. He may be Moon's 1/2 brother (same dam), but I got the fastest of the fast and the slowest of the slow in those two. Crazy huh?

Beretta is too young still.

That leaves...
When did the ugly duckling turn into a swan?


Alright big boy...Your ticket has just been punched. Time to start building you into my next competitive horse!

Happy 4th of July!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Next Step

Apparently Moon and Spooks have very healthy systems because their darned hooves are growing like crazy. Not that that is a bad thing...but since both are shod, it's definitely decreasing the amount of time between resets. Both horses needed to be reset at 4 weeks, but my farrier was out of town, so they had to wait an extra week. Five weeks and it looked like they hadn't been done in a couple of months. Sheez!

The first thing I made sure to discuss with my farrier was Moon's right front foot...wished I had remembered to take pictures (sorry)...

I was a little concerned because he was practically busting out of his shoe in the rear quarters. There was a good quarter inch spread of hoofwall hanging over the edge of the shoe. This was not happening on the left front.

Now, I trust my farrier...or I wouldn't use him. I'm a really fussy bitch about my horse's feet. I don't give a flying crap about 'pretty' or size. I want them trimmed properly and I want the shoe set under the foot properly. End of story.

There is always the off chance that for whatever reason that a shoe may get set a little 'tight'. So I just wanted to bring the noticeable difference to my farrier's attention and talk with him about it a little, especially since he has an apprentice now that is the one that pulls the shoes and probably would not have seen exactly what the foot is doing before the shoe was pulled. I'm certainly not going to insult my farrier's knowledge or skill, but I am not afraid to remind him that I know a bit about hooves myself. Just because I never learned to nail a shoe on, doesn't mean I don't know what I'm looking at.

Open communication is absolutely paramount with your hoofcare professional. I've said it before and I'll say it again...If you cannot discuss your horse's feet with your farrier...FIND A NEW FARRIER!!!

It was very important for my farrier to see what Moon's right front foot was doing because it has a direct correlation with what is going on with his left stifle. I made sure to tell my farrier that the day before, when I ponied Moon in the desert that I had noticed that he was pushing off of his toe on the left hind. That means that Moon is sore in that stifle. I suspected he would be after running in that extremely deep and sticky ground on Saturday. The fact that Moon's right front foot is growing differently than his left indicates that he is struggling to compensate for that stifle again.

Edited to add...To address the immediate problem of Moon pushing off of his toe, the farrier put shoes with a bit of a trailer on his hinds. That will give him more support in the heel area.

Soooo...the conversation moved on to what is the next logical step to mitigate the stifle problem. I don't have any personal experience with having a horse's joints injected and to be honest...I have purposely steered clear of going that route. I think it has become far to commonplace and there is not always enough investigation done by the vets before automatically recommending joint injections. When my vet recommended hock injections for Moon earlier this year...I flat out told him I was not interested.

I'm still not interested in the hock injections...because I don't think Moon's hocks are the problem. That seems to be the only glitch I have when talking to the professionals...they all want to start with injecting his hocks and I am adamant that the problem is the stifle...either the joint itself or one of the tendons. I don't want to hear about no damn hock injections. I think after the farrier did some feeling around and some stretching/flexing...he is inclined to believe me. ;-)

His recommendation was to have Moon ultrasounded as soon as possible. We have to find out what is the problem...joint or tendon. Moon does not seem to be sore in the joint when it is manipulated...however the fact that the Adequan was so beneficial to him indicates that might be the problem. Moon is sensitive to manipulation of the outer tendon, which could indicate strain or a tear in that tendon or the tendon could just be sore from compensating for the joint. Luckily, the vet I usually use, and who has already seen Moon, is the one who has a fancy new ultrasound machine and my farrier said he is the one he would recommend I take Moon to for a diagnosis.

The vet gets back in the office on Wednesday and I am hoping he can ultrasound Moon this week yet. I was planning on taking him to a 2-day race over the weekend, but now I kinda want to know what is going on before taking him. :-/

It seems that in lou of some sort of injury that would require surgery, the standard 'fix' to a stifle is...

If it's the injection into the joint itself. That is an immediate fix and apparently does not require any time off. It also sounds like it's a one time and done injection. Unlike the annual hock injections.

If it is a tendon problem...there are a few different things to consider...If the tendon is torn...time off...If the tendon is not torn, but simply stretched...A different injection into the tendon which will cause it to shorten. I believe the method is to inject iodine into the tendon.

From what I understand, neither method is overtly painful and the relief is almost immediate.

Still...moving in this direction is a bit scary for me. It was a big step to simply move to using injectable I am considering actual joint/tendon injections? While it would seem that this all revolves around his ability to's more than that...I have come to the conclusion that Moon is getting uncomfortable in his daily life. I am unable to turn him out to pasture as often as I would like because it seems affect his stifle and keeping him up for too long makes him crabby and unhappy. To remove any unnecessary pain or discomfort he has to deal with on a daily basis would be my ultimate goal and if that means that he can still continue to compete...well, that is just icing.