So I'm not entirely sure what all happened to my Evergreen run...but Moon almost set up on me at the 1st barrel...got him around it and then he made the most beautiful turn for his 2nd barrel...Right in front of it!!
This year the Evergreen rodeo committee put in a new gate for the timed event people to enter. At the opposite end of the arena from where everyone used to go in. It was also a side gate.
Okay, so normally gate positions don't bother me too much. Moon is very controllable at the gate and I have not had much trouble getting him lined up the way I want him to before letting him go. In fact, side gate entries are often beneficial to us because I have the opportunity to set Moon up with our preferred straighter line to our 1st barrel.
Moon trotted into the arena with the greatest of confidence, but kind of locked up once inside. He didn't really want to turn his head to the right so he could get into position to leave. I had noticed the same thing when we were going down the alley at Cripple Creek. He had his head cocked off to the left and wasn't really picking up his first barrel.
The funky thing about how they had things set up at Evergreen was the fact that they had this huge arena to work with and then only gave us 15 feet behind the timers. The end of the arena was rounded so if you wanted more of a running start, you had to ride to dead center of the arena...which I didn't. I was wanting to ease him in farther, but could tell a fight was coming so I just rolled him and sent him toward the first barrel. We didn't have much room to get a running start and I'm sort of wondering if I forgot to let go of the reins?
I mean, I wasn't worried about Moon running past the 1st barrel again or anything. That happening the night before was just a fluke. So either I just didn't get enough of a run at the 1st barrel where I felt Moon was leveled out and it was time to let go...or Moon over-anticipated running past the barrel and rated himself down. ??
Anyway, we got around that barrel and I just let him go. We are running across there, I get my left hand on the rein, go a couple more strides and slide my hand down the rein and whoop! Moon just set in and made the most beautiful turn. Problem was...we weren't at the barrel yet.
Moon realized his error as he was coming out of that turn, threw his head in the air and just took off. I just pulled him around in a circle, but he was charging and thrashing because he didn't know what to do. He located the 2nd barrel and turned it again. I just kept him in the turn until I got control of him and we walked out of the arena. I was more than a little stunned. I mean, I've not had that happen to me before, not on Moon or any other horse for that matter.
T was standing outside the gate and was like, 'What happened dude?' I just pulled my shoulders up to indicate I didn't know. I told her, "I dunno. I just slid my hand down the rein and he just turned. He was right there and felt as soft as could be. Sure felt like a pretty turn though.' T laughed. She said, 'It sure was. I didn't even realize you missed the barrel until you came back around.'
I cooled Moon out, untacked him and shortly thereafter is when he tried to kill Cujo and that was the end of hanging out and talking about anything. So I loaded up and headed home.
All the way home I kept thinking how glad I was that I had already planned on staying home this next weekend. I need some down time. I basically know what most of my problem is with Moon...I seem to have such a hard time getting 'in time' with him. Every once in a while we get it together, but even then I just feel like such a sloppy rider and I cannot seem to 'feel' anything he does.
The thing is, I don't really feel one way or other about it anymore. I'm not disappointed or frustrated or mad...I'm not even sad. It's just weird how I cannot seem to get in time with Moon, after all this time and after all these runs. But after thinking about it for a day, I did what I do...got on the bat phone and talked to someone I think my be able to help.
To Be Continued...