Friday, May 17, 2013

A LIttle More Practice

I wanted to take it easy on Moon this weekend...He's been running a lot since February and been hauled thousands of miles. It's only going to get busier for us from here on out...But I still feel like that as *I*...needed to keep the flow going and make one run. I picked one of his favorite arenas to run in...the Rimrock Rodeo arena. We have always done good there and since the barrel racing was coupled with a bull riding event, I knew it would be a good place to practice our new method.

This is the arena that has the funky side gate, where if you have a right hand barrel horse, you have to come in, cross the entire width of the arena and then get turned around to start your run. That feat can be a bit tricky, but it actually seems to work for Moon. It seems to give him a chance to get that adrenaline pump he gets out of the way and he gathers himself for his run. I like the fact that I can ride all the way to the opposite fence and then bring Moon back around and start his run from a little to the right of center. Moon's deadly on that first barrel when I can start our runs from there because he doesn't have time to straighten his body...He runs to and around that first barrel in beautiful shape. It shaves a couple of strides off of the run as well, which never hurts. ;-)

And oh man, did he fire. I came so close to picking up on those reins, but I have learned my lesson...If I just leave him alone, he WILL make the turn and in better form than if I'm 'helping'. He came out clean and headed straight across the arena. I actually moved my hands up his neck and asked him to run a little harder. LOL.

We was about 2 strides out from the 2nd barrel when I realized my error. I had piloted Moon too close to the barrel. I moved my eyes over and if I had kept my outside hand on the rein, I probably could have gave him a little 'check' to encourage him to move over, but I had already dropped my right hand to the horn...CRAP!!! Moon was running so hard, that I thought, well, if I just keep my inside hand down and don't pull up on him, I can probably get him by the barrel, even if the rest of the turn is awkward.

Nope! Moon started to turn and I had no option but to bring my left hand over his shoulder to try to keep him off of the barrel. That didn't work either. Moon tagged the barrel on the backside with his breast collar. Since I know that...that means I didn't keep my eyes up enough to get that one extra inch.

I let Moon finish the run, but didn't encourage him to run. Just let him coast along. Third was urge to sit up and pull on him this time, so apparently we have our groove on there again.

I'm going to try something a little different the next time I run...Since I have such a sticky spot in myself that isn't letting me use both hands effectively at the 2nd barrel, I'm going to try to keep my right hand only on the rein as Moon makes his run between 1st and 2nd.

It's kind of an interesting phenomena....but my left arm seems to be almost immobile when I am running in competition. I've noticed this about myself before. I can get my left hand up to the rein easily enough, but once I get it there, I just seem to sort of set it in place. Without meaning to, I am setting Moon up for his turn a couple of strides too early and that is pulling him too far into the pocket. I am far more mobile with my right arm, so I think if I just keep that hand on the rein until we are almost to the point where Moon needs to start turning, it will keep his body straighter, longer and when it's time, I can sweep my left arm up and ask him for the inside bend. I have seen other girls ride across the pen like that and I always wondered if it would work better for Moon and I to try that. Now that I am not stuck in the rut of  'I have to make this ONE thing work.'...I think it's time to see if it will. Since Moon is actually running across the pen with a straight body and isn't shouldering/dropping into the turn...I think it is just my immobilized left arm that is causing us to tag that barrel now.


Cindy D. said...

I have to admit, that when a spectator who knows nothing of the art of barrel racing is watching, it just seems like a point and shoot sort of event. Reading your blog I am learning that it is anything and everything but that. I have never felt like I could do barrel racing, and the more I learn the more I know that I couldn't. I doubt that I will ever be that good of a rider.

I do have a question for you,that has nothing to do with racing and everything to do with hauling horses across country. In July I have to haul all four of my horses from Casper Wy to Arizona. I have never had to haul a horse that far, much less 4 of them. They all travel pretty well, so I am prepared in that sense, but I could sure use any pointers you might have for a 15 hour trip.

For example, how often do you stop and let them rest? When you stop do you take them out or just give them water and let them relax in the trailer? Do you wrap legs or use travel boots? Do you travel at night when it is really hot as it will be when we are traveling? My horses all travel pretty well, some of them travel a lot, some of them only occasionally. My mare I think is the worst because she is a spoiled little brat, but I've been dragging her from WY to CO for farrier work and so she is getting better. I just got a "new to me" trailer, so I was thinking that taking them on a few dry runs to get them used to it, before I just throw them in for a long trip, would be a good idea. Am I on the right track?

I would really appreciate any little tips you may have for me. Honestly I am terrified of making a stupid mistake, that ends terribly. Yes I am paranoid, but that paranoia does drive me to seek out information.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

On your hauling questions;

#1-Personally, that time of year, I prefer to haul at night as much as possible. Hauling in the cooler temps is easier on everything-horses, vehicles and tires.

#2-Bed your trailer deeply. No less than 6". I prefer 8-12" of bedding. I use shavings in my LQ and old hay in my stock trailer (it's more open, so shavings blow around in there too much).

#3-Plan your route and see if there is any place along the way that has a public arena or private one that you can pull off and unload for a little while. When I am hauling back and forth to AZ, I can either pull off in Bluff, UT and unload in the parking lot of their arena (the arena is locked up, but the parking lot is big and a safe place) and if I have to, I can also unload at Speedy's Fuel Station in Cameron, AZ. I don't always unload my horses on that trip back and forth, but it's good to know there are places I can, if I have/want to. My main reason for unloading is to clean the poop out of the slant load. Even if I tie horses in my stock trailer, they have enough room to move their bodies around that the poop doesn't build up. In the LQ, which has partitions, the horses cannot move around and the poop piles stack up under their hind feet. My geldings LOVE to pee in the shavings as well, so I am forever cleaning pee spots out. LOL

However, if you are hauling at night...It's often safer to NOT unload horses. Just give them 30 minutes or so to stand when you fuel up somewhere, offer them water while they are in the trailer and give them time to decide if they want it or not.

#4-Get prepped so you can haul at least 10 gallons of water, per horse with you. Horses that are unused to traveling can be very picky about new water sources on the road. Get them used to drinking out of a bucket as well, if they aren't already. I don't treat my water with electrolytes or flavorings. I'm lucky enough to have experienced travelers and my green travelers quickly learn from them. Eat when there is food, drink when there is water and rest when you can. LOL

#5-Haul as much extra hay and water as you can. Nobody likes to think about it, but if you break down along the way, you don't want to not have it.

#6-There is no way to really get a horse prepared for that first long trip. If they will get in the trailer...Game on! They may not be great haulers when you first start out, but eventually they will get tired and settle down. I hang hay bags for my horses to munch on when I leave. That keeps them occupied for the first couple of hours and after that, it's generally smooth sailing.

About water consumption on the road...There is many a time when I offer water that my horse's don't drink or will simply wet their lips, even after eating an entire bag of hay. It's okay. Horses can go longer without water than some people would have you believe. When you get where you are going and get them unloaded and settled...give them the opportunity to drink before putting out any more hay. If they still haven't taken a good drink, just put out 1 flake of hay and let them nibble on that. Keep an eye on their water consumption for the first few hours and once they consumed a few gallons, they should be good.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

BTW-I don't know what your planned route is...but if you want to come through this way, you can lay-over or rest-stop at my house if you want. It's about 6 hours from Casper to here and then another 10-11 hours from here to the valley, depending on where you are going.

And to answer the question about leg protection...I don't use any boots or standing wraps when I haul. I don't find the boots to be effective for anything except a potential ding and I don't know how to apply a standing wrap well enough to trust putting them on for a long haul. I do know girls that use them and have been meaning to have one of them show me how to apply one correctly and safely because I think they do have merit...just haven't gotten around to learning the fine art of it yet.

Shirley said...

Next run- perfect!

fernvalley01 said...

every step is ahead with you two, and I really appreciate the long haul advice too.Glad you asked Cindy

Cindy D. said...

Thank you Becky, so so much. I really appreciate that information. I tend to be a worry wart, so knowing that I don't need to freak out if they choose not to drink, is really good to know.

As far as the invite to layover at your place...We may or may not take you up on that, I will get back to you though, and I really really appreciate that offer. It is so nice to have that option.

I am actually going to print off you answer so that I have it to refer to.

Thank you again.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

No worries Cindy.

If you are planning on going down through Albuquerque (a trip that is Interstate all the way)...

I know there is an arena in Trinidad, CO, right off of the interstate. Around Gallop there are some very big truck stops that have good places to unload/rest if you need too and there is also an arena in Holbrook. I'm not sure where that one is located, but I can find out for you from friends.

There is a port of entry after Gallop at the AZ border, that you will have to pull off at and show your paperwork for your horses. Sometimes they just glance at the paperwork...Sometimes they come look a the horses. I have never had them make me unload for inspection.

Also, that strip of interstate from Holbrook to Flagstaff?...Try to avoid hitting that in the middle of the day. That strip has the most horrendous wind, like every day of the year. It just sucks pulling a trailer through there. LOL. It's not so bad early in the morning or late at night, but the daytime is miserable. ;-)

C-ingspots said...

Wow, great advice and even better road trip tips!

Cindy D. said...

Wow I just knew you were the right person to ask about this. Thank you. Looks like we will be making our first trip mid June, (no ponies) so I will see if I can use that trip to scout out our potential stopping points.