Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Long Lost Babies

So is everyone sick to death of hearing about Moon? LOL...I gotta story to tell about that dork...(for those of you who are not with me on facebook)...

But today it was all about a few of the others.

I had to put off doing much with the youngsters this summer because I simply did not have the time.

Well now I am going to have the time and school is about to commence. I thought I would start with a spa day. The kids were looking a little raggity.

There's Shooter...Poor ugly Shooter...

All this time I have held back expressing the disappointment I have felt because Shooter sure didn't show ANY inclination that he was going to have barrel horse potential. Everything about him just screamed 'show horse' to me...and he sure didn't have any desire to go anywhere fast. These last couple of months I have watched him transform...he's starting to figure out he can r.u.n....and he is liking it. I have absolutely no idea if he has the same kind of speed Moon has...but when I think about it...Moon was 8 or 9 before I even had an inclining he had any speed. So I am not giving up on the possibility that Shooter will eventually mature and be just as good as his big brother. :D

Then there is the lovely Miss Beretta...
Need I say more?

Oh, I should probably mention the fact that her hind leg has straightened out and she is completely sound. Miss B will be going to the performance pen and I can't wait. She's actually my favorite.

And then there is 'little' Guns...
The dork would not stand at the trailer, so I could get a good picture of him. It's time to split him and Beretta up...he is way too attached to his big sister. Gunner isn't mine. He's Megan's, but she ditched the horses again, so I am just going to get him riding and take him back to South Dakota. He's only a 2y/o, so if he gets a couple of years to hang out at the ranch and Megan still isn't into horses, I will probably bring him back and do something with him. It would be a total shame to let such a nice colt go to waste.

And then there is Moon's other brother...
 The tubby, little sorrel isn't as tubby as he was before. I still have a long ways to go to have him in really good shape, but he is riding like a little dream. We have been to some barrel racings, down the road and out to the desert. Nothing really seems to phase him. Bugs is another one I didn't really see as becoming a barrel horse...but I sure don't mind eating my words. Just because it's what I do...I started patterning him on the barrels. LOL...He can't even lope a proper circle...but in 3 sessions the little stinker picked up on the barrel pattern and will lope to, rate down to a trot, circle the barrel properly and head to the next barrel...pretty much on his own. Sooooo...guess who is staying this winter instead of going back to South Dakota?

I have GOT to stop liking these horses so much. It's hard to slim down the numbers when you like everything you have. :-/

I figured something out about why Bugs is so goofy about his head and why he is prone to pulling back. As he has been losing weight, I started to notice that his carotid artery was very thick and lumpy. I started doing the massage techniques I learned from RuckusButt on him, as well as some stretching/bending exercises I watched Ed Wright do to a very head-shy horse that was at the last clinic and within a couple of weeks I noticed a tremendous difference. No more head-shyness and no more pulling back. I am still doing all of that stuff to him every.single.day...sometimes 2-3 times a day and am seeing continued improvement. His carotid artery is not nearly as thick and definitely not as lumpy as it was before. Interesting huh?

Oh...I gotta show you guys what L and I saw on our desert ride today...

Do you see it?...

Here ya go...
A baby horny toad!!!

It was soooo stinking cute. I tried to put my finger down so you could see how tiny he was...but he took off. He was only about an inch and a half long and about as big around as a quarter. We actually saw several of them over our hour long ride. First time I have ever seen any out there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Plotting And Planning

Sorry for the silence...

I have been doing a lot of plotting and planning this last week.

The competition season is winding down here. The rodeos are over and there are just the finals left in both of my associations, with the odd smattering of open barrel races that people have decided to put on here and there.

I just barely missed making it to the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association Finals this year. I ended up #15 in the standings and they only take the top 12. I did enter the finals, in the off chance that someone in the top 12 decided not to go or was unable to go, but did not get a call-back. I wasn't particularly disappointed by that fact...just happy as heck to have made it as far as we did. It was a hellava learning year...

I'm not sure that I am ready to take the winter off...from rodeoing...so I got to searching on the internet...

It would seem there are a couple of associations that rodeo in the winter...

The All-Indian Rodeo Association and the Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association.

Most of those rodeos are in Arizona, with a few in New Mexico.

I talked to the hubby and he is all for it...if that is what I want to do.

Of course, there is always the WPRA (Women's Pro Rodeo Association). I have been doing a lot of research and reading on going the full-on Pro route...and it's just as I expected...

There is a whole lot more to going 'pro' than a person realizes. First I have to buy a permit. Then I have to fill my permit by winning a $1000. Then I have to buy my pro card...

Here's the biggest problem that seems to be facing the pro circuit these days...

The majority of the big paying rodeos are invitational rodeos. You have to basically run an entire year, do well and then hope that the following year you are eligible for the invites to run with the big players.

It's not exactly a level playing field...In my opinion...and in the opinion of a lot of other girls who would like to go 'pro', but hate the thought of hauling the legs off a horse before they ever get a chance to run for some truly big money. Know what I mean?

So I'm playing it pretty close to the vest over the whole, 'going pro' thing. I would like to wait and see what some of the rule changes are going to be this coming year, fill my permit and then decide just how hard I want to roll.

Looks like I have a lot of planning to do in the next few weeks because the winter circuits already have some rodeos lined up that I wouldn't mind entering....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bittersweet Weekend

This weekend's NBHA State runs ended up being kind of bittersweet.

Spooks did his thing. On the first day, a bobble leaving 1st, caused by the photographer's camera flash cost my boy his State title. He just got a little lost after the flash went off and wobbled like a drunken sailor toward the 2nd barrel. It cost us a couple of 10ths on that run. It was a 17.4 second run.

I carried over his run time to a bonus jackpot race that followed and he did pick up a check in that race. Won the 4D.

On the bright side, he came back strong on Sunday, ran his normal pattern and picked up a check, with a 17.1 second run. He ended up 3rd in the Average in the 4D. Not the 4D State Champion title I was so hoping for.

While I am disappointed....I have to remind myself...there were 100 barrel racers there from all over the state of Colorado. I am darned proud of the big black horse for placing in the top 5 in his division.

I took Moon as well. I didn't have any big plans for Moon, just wanted to see if we could put together a smooth run at an indoor arena. On the first run, I remembered to make him finish the 1st turn, but forgot to snap my head up and find the 2nd barrel. Moon bowed coming off the 1st barrel and I had to do some hard riding and swat him in the shoulder with the bat a couple of times to get him back over and around his 2nd barrel.

Goofy horse still ended up with a 15.3 second run. He placed 5th in the 1D and picked up a check. The only horses that beat him was 2 pro-level girls with their PRCA horses and 'back-up' horses. I was so stinking proud of Moon. There were 104 barrel racers the first day and he had the 5th fastest time. Pretty darned cool.

I also had Moon entered in the jackpot that followed, with a carry-over time and he placed 2nd in the 1D in that. So 3 checks in one day...I was repaid for my entry fees.

Sunday rolled around and really my only goal for Moon was to keep the run clean so we had a shot at the 1D average. Moon is always hotter the 2nd day of running and I was ready for him to fire hard from the gate and he did. He exploded for the first barrel and about all I could do was tell him 'easy, easy'. First barrel was clean and we snapped right out of it in a straight line to 2nd and Moon was running free, but boy oh boy...right at that 2nd barrel, Moon started rating hard, so once again, I had to go to the bat to get him around the 2nd barrel. It was a super tight turn and I am not sure how we made it. I swatted him a couple of times right as he was going into 3rd as well, cause I could feel him shutting down on me again. I sure as hell thought we made the turn, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw the barrel wobble and sure as heck...as we ran for home, it slowly fell over. I'm pretty sure that Moon just ticked it with his hip. Boy was I mad!!! His time was another 15.3 and without that tipped barrel, we were guaranteed to have been in the Top 5 Average for the 1D. He just gets too wound up and tries too hard. That makes me have to get pretty drastic with my hands because I don't think he feels a single cue when he is that 'zoned in'. It's too much of a good thing, ya know?

Now, I almost never buy back into a jackpot for a tipped barrel, but this time I decided I had had enough of Moon's crap. I GET that it's tough to go from big outdoor patterns to little indoor ones...but this sucking up on the barrels has GOT to stop. Moon really only does it when he is over-excited. I decided that this time, I was going to buy back in and make Moon run the pattern again. He has to learn that he needs to do the same job every . single . time and he might want to conserve some of that energy because he may have to run more than once a day. :-/ That happens at rodeos too...Sometimes you do have to run and then come right back for the short go...So at some point, he is going to have to learn how to deal with it.

Of course it worked...Moon was a lot calmer for his 2nd run and it was pretty darned smooth. He went back in and ran a 15.4 and I wasn't pushing him at all. He was one hole out of the 1D money in the jackpot...but he did win me a neat jacket for the best average for THAT jackpot. Cool, but not as prestigious as winning the NBHA Open Average.

Sooo...Yea...Pretty happy...Still kinda disappointed. There's always next year for Moon and I, but this is my last year on Spooks. I was really hoping he would have a perfect weekend and come home with that Championship buckle. What he did win was a trophy case FOR buckles...LOL...How ironic is that?

Well, we still have District NBHA finals and Spooks is leading that. Just 3 more runs for me and the black horse and then he will be moving on to a new adventure in life...

More on that later. ;-)


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My 15 Minutes Is Up

I remembered something Sue Smith said when I was at her clinic a couple years ago and I think it's a good thing to keep in a person's mind. She said, she gives herself or any of her traveling partners 15 minutes to either be pissed off and have a fit after a bad run or 15 minutes after a good/winning run to be excited, swagger or brag. After that 15 minutes is up...It's time to start thinking about the next run. You either have to concentrate on fixing what went wrong or concentrate on what went right and try to replicate it.

My 15 minutes of ecstasy is up and it's time to concentrate on the next run. For once, my goal is to simply recreate everything that made Moon's Ridgway run so fantastic.

BTW...I guess my post was a bit confusing on that. Moon made his awesome run at the Sunday's performance (The 'That One Extra Stride?' post) and then I just had to wait until Monday's performance was over to see if he held the lead or not. We didn't have to run again. No one in Monday's performance even came close. So not only did Moon and I win the rodeo by a full 3 tenths of a second, one of my besties placed 2nd with her run time of 18.11. She's another gal that has worked her butt off to get things figured out with her talented mare, so I am very happy for her.

I keep this little book in my trailer and I write down mental notes of things that work and things that really don't work. If I am feeling confused or unsure...I take a moment to read through those notes as a way to help me get my focus back. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's all about whether I let my mind relax enough to simply DO what I need to do.

There is now a big note with stars all around it that says...'Finish your first turn'. and another one right below that that says, 'Think slow, react fast!!!'.

One of EW's biggest sayings is, 'It's easy to get to the top, it's harder to stay there.'Yea, I believe that one too. Getting to the top is about always thinking of ways to fix problems or improve a little at a time. Being at the top means you simply have to do what you have already done...over and over and over.

After taking a day to get everyone out to the desert for some open country miles...It was right back to the practice pen for Moon and I. The NBHA State Finals is coming up this weekend and I want to have the same feeling for this race as I did for last one. This time I will have to put two runs together...One on Saturday and on on Sunday.

One thing I do not have to wonder about anymore is if Moon can blow the doors off...Now I KNOW he can...my only thought is to make that happen...again and again and again.

However, as much as I talk about Moon...this coming weekend is really about Spooks. I would really like to be able to make the big guy the 2012 State 4D Champion. That is my ultimate goal for him. Spooks is a pretty easy horse to ride, but I did find out in Utah that he is not unflappable. So I will have to ride him intelligently and maintain the same form that I normally do. After that, it's just letting the chips fall where they will and hopefully he comes out on top (of his division).


Monday, September 3, 2012

He Won It!!

Moon and I won our first Pro Rodeo...



That is all!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

That One Extra Stride?

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.

LOL!

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