Saturday, April 6, 2013

Re-Grouping

Dollar/Buddy wasn't the only one in need of some farrier TLC...

Moon was a huge priority as well. Boyyyy...Was my farrier mad at me when he saw Moon's feet.

In case you aren't a facebook friend...We didn't have much luck in Arizona at the rodeos. Moon was having a terrible time handling all of the different ground conditions. That is so unlike my horse. If nothing else, Moon is pretty incredible at staying on his feet. Except for Yuma!!

Now, I know for a fact that Moon hit hardpan in Yuma and that had a lot to do with him almost going down. But after that, we just had hell getting it back together. If he wasn't digging and churning in the turns, he was scrambling. Now...If I had been running in familiar arenas, I would have known immediately that something was going on with his feet...but being at all new to us arenas and changing back and forth between sand and dirt ground...

It was right at the end that I started to suspect his shoes...and for the life of me...I do not know why I didn't just go ahead and pull them. But I didn't and I feel pretty bad about that.

The problem was, his break-over was too long in the front and too short in the back. The shoes weren't properly centered either, so it changed his wear pattern to the outside of the toe and forced his foot inward. It caused his feet to grow unlevel. He was 1/4 of an inch to 1/2 an inch longer on the inside than on the outside (all the way around) by the time I got home and got my farrier under him.

This is the trimming off of his left front and I am holding the inside of the hoof wall in my hand. Just a little un-level...Yikes!!... :-/...

Now for an ordinary horse, he wasn't off too much...for a horse that has to do what Moon does...over and over...It was hell. The too long of break-over in the front was causing his front feet to get stuck in the turns and the too short of break-over in the back meant he was once again stabbing his toes and jamming his stifles. Since it's not uncommon for Moon to get sore in his stifles, at first I just assumed that I needed to put him back on Adequan and maybe Legend as well. At Moon's age, I'm perfectly okay with keeping him on these injections if it helps keep him comfortable and running happily.

Luckily it was just a less than adequate (for Moon) shoeing job. My farrier got the majority of the problem cut out in one trim and said that all it will take to get Moon's feet centered again is one more reset. It took a few days for the soreness in his stifles and over his hips to completely dissipate, so I didn't enter the New Mexico rodeo. Instead, I opted to put a local run on him to give him the chance to feel that he was back to normal. It went well. We placed 2nd, right behind a girl whose horses always set the bar. I was pretty happy because I wasn't pushing Moon, just letting him run and focusing on positioning him. It was the first run in quite awhile that it hasn't felt like he was trying to set up on me right before the barrels. Whew!!!

If nothing else, one bit of good that came out of the whole experience was the fact that I had to resort to putting a tie-down on Moon and Ooohhh...Myyyyy...Goddddd...What a huge improvement that has made!!!!

One of the first rodeos I went to was in Buckeye and Moon stuck a front leg in the dirt behind the 3rd barrel, flipped his hindquarters out and drove my leg into the 3rd barrel. I thought it was broke. It wasn't, but it was bad enough that Megan had to get the paramedics to come check me out. It's been 2 months since that happened and it's far from healed. :-(

Well, being entered up in 2 rodeos the following weekend, I either had to medical out or figure out a way to get Moon around his 2nd and 3rd barrel without being able to use my leg. So I put a tie-down on him so I didn't have to struggle to get his head set. Well crap...a couple runs into it, I realized how much easier it was to ride Moon during a competitive run. All of that work I usually had to do to get Moon into position to take his 2nd barrel...Gone!! The run-away freight-train feeling I got right before he got to the 2nd barrel...Gone!! *I* could actually focus on getting MY body right and my hands right and then just let Moon do his job. Of course, then toward the end he was setting up on 3rd barrel because it hurt...but now that his feet are fixed that problem is Gone!!!

Honestly, I am like Holy Crap!...All this time I have struggled and worked to figure out what *I* was doing wrong...Because Ed Wright told me Moon did not need a tie-down, that I just 'terrible hands and rode like crap'. Well...Yeaaaa...It's kind of hard to develop good hands when you are constantly struggling with trying to get your horse into position and then having him throwing himself around the turns. All that funky stuff that Moon did that resulted in me riding around the 2nd barrel like this...

It's all gone. FINALLY, Moon has something to balance himself on besides my hands and I can tell how much more comfortable he is getting prepared for his turns. All I have to do is remember to drive him into his turns and lift. Geezzz....This might actually be the start to some consistency for us. Instead of feeling a growing panic as we are running from the 1st barrel to the 2nd barrel...wondering if Moon is going to hold his position or dive on the barrel...Now I KNOW that when I lift my hands and ask him to shape that he cannot brace against my hands and dive into the turn. The confidence that he will respond when I lift my hand has almost entirely done away with my almost uncontrollable urge to sit down and haul on his face.

In Moon's case, it shouldn't be called a tie-down...because I am not tying his head down...he actually runs really level, until I go to pick up on him. THAT is when his head pops up (which it needs to do) and his nose thrusts out (which is where I lose him). The tie-down actually works to keep his nose from pushing out...When the nose goes out...the hocks fall out behind and that is when Moon is able to drop that shoulder and dive into the turn. Having the tie-down on also seems to be giving Moon confidence as well. He has become steadier and stronger in his 2nd turn. He still wants to cut the barrel a little close, but we are working on that and he is figuring out he cannot drop out from under me anymore and is starting to respect my inside hand a little more and moving over when I ask him to move over.

I dunno...It's one of those things...I always used to run all of my horses with tie-downs...because that is just what everyone did. Then things changed and all of the sudden it became the thing to be able to run without one. Not every horse can, nor every rider. Then you get to listening to all of the non-competitive, Natural Horsemanship people and having to use a tie-down or any other training device is considered a gimmick. So you kind of start thinking you are doing something wrong if you need one.

In reality...all it is is a tool. If it helps your horse or helps you as a rider...Use it and to hell with what other people think or say. After all, they aren't the one's paying your entry fees now are they? LOL

7 comments:

kestrel said...

Fads can make ya crazy! Use what works. Tada...I've seen horses that hate a tie down, and horses that think they're a security blanket. Especially the horses that tend to fall out of shape. The tie down stops the fight because it is just there, the horse can't blame it on you that he has to maintain a position that is difficult for him.

Yowza on Dollar Bill's feet, your farrier is a miracle worker.

SunnySD said...

A good farrier makes all the difference in the world! Hope you find somebody down in AZ that'll work for you, too :)

Glad to hear you're getting Moon squared away, and ditto on kestrel's comment re. Dollar Bill's feet. Holy crap!

Vaquerogirl said...

Sometimes trying to reinvent the wheel is just silly. I don't listen to those Parelli folks-ever. I'm glad you have figured out what works for you and Moon, because honestly, as far as understanding body mechanics of your horse athlete- you are tip top~
As for Farriers~ I love mine, but he flakes out 90% of the time wasting my days... but farriers that do a really good job are impossible to find out here. So I just deal with him.
I'm excited to watch how well you do this year!

Cut-N-Jump said...

What works for one horse, doesn't always work for other horses. What works for other horses, may not work on this one.

It's funny when the light comes on, you go back to what worked before and suddenly it all comes together... in spite of what all of the top notch, folks we often respect.

I had that happen with my pony. Sure he was getting his tongue over the bit, but moving him up to the butterfly is not always working either. He has his days, just like we all do.

Glad you got it all sorted out and will be able to, um, I dunno, actually enjoy the rides from now on? lol

The shoeing is a huge difference for some horses. The higher the level of performance- the more accurate it has to be.

Louisa Valentina; said...

I too have experienced "gimick-guilt", when you feel just so stupid and guilty for using something like a tie-down because EVERYONE and their mom has an opinion about how you shouldn't, and it's only going to make your horse work... but then all of a sudden you use it and your horse just seems to work better.

I figure, if it works for you - go with it. You know your horse, you know how you ride, if it helps - you know that too.

fernvalley01 said...

Glad you are getting sorted out. and tie down used like you are is what they are meant for not a gimmick, but like you said a tool

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

'Gimmick-guilt'...I like that. LOL.

I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in learning and understanding that we forget that at some point we just have to get the job done. :-)

The greatest boon has been that I can finally get off of Moon's mouth. I much prefer to ride with my body and all of this time I have felt like I was riding his head/mouth. Oh, I still have to make my hands do what they are supposed to, but it is coming more natural now.