Another nice run on Frosty today. Oh man, his turns are so nice. He didn't bobble between 1st and 2nd this time and he caught his lead change before the turn. The run on the other hand...
Well...I can't quit put my finger on it.
I can feel Frosty gather to run and he starts to stretch out and then he snaps back. It's like he is a rubber band that you spread with your fingers and then it pulls them together again. I'm getting that feeling every stride.
I don't know if it is because he really doesn't know how to just stretch out and run or...
If there is something physical that is preventing him from stretching into a run.
That is kind of how it feels. Like he wants to really lengthen out that stride and then something causes him to shorten it up.
His time only came up a 10th of a second. From a 21.9 last week to a 21.8 this week. I was hoping for a little better than that, but his pattern was smoother and his turns are just plain f.u.n., so I'm going to just stay on this track. The fun thing is he was 2 holes out of the money last week and only 1 hole out of the money this week. If we can just keep inching up on his times, while keeping his pattern so pretty, he'll be in the money here pretty quick. :-D. LOL...That's actually pretty easy to do at this arena. The 1D is pretty strong, the 2D is really strong and the 3D is just tough, tough, tough. There isn't exactly a consistent 4D set here like there is at home, at this arena at least. If the truth be told, Frosty is going to have to come up at least a full second to be a competitive 4D horse in my Colorado area. But hey, if he can start picking up checks in the 4D here and stay this consistent on his pattern until he's ready to up it a few more notches...I'm good with that.
I actually think the horse has a lot more potential than just a 4D horse. I can just feel the power that he is very careful about containing. It's just that weird stride thing that is holding him back. I've contemplated contacting a chiro here, but I don't really think it's a chiropractic issue. I think it's a musculature issue. I just haven't had much luck getting the horse to really stretch forward and use his topline, which is what he needs to start doing to free his back up and start building muscle over his back, loin and hip. THAT has to happen before he can really start to stretch through and extend his running stride.
After employing every training tactic I could think of and/or get from other people, I got to thinking...
I need to start working this horse with some side reins and ground poles. The other day when I was thinking about it, I longed him over a couple of cavalletti and he just isn't interested in lifting his back at all. I mean, if a horse isn't willing to stretch forward and lift his back even a little to help him get over a low set cavalletti, there's some real tightness problems going on. I'm going to start working him in side reins 3 times a week and build into a set of ground poles and see if I can get him to start stretching through and lifting his back. It's probably going to take awhile to tear those tight muscles apart and get him limbered up, but it's got to happen.
In the meantime, I am going to continue to run him once a week and just go on with him. One thing about it, at these slow times, I really get a chance to practice the things *I* need to be working on too...like reading my pocket, shaping and looking up once I'm into my turn.
I also took Heather Carroll with me this week...and hope that she can continue to go with me. She's working on a mare right now that needs a lot of 'soak' time and some exhibitions on her before she's ready to go back to competition. Poor Heather. Her mare was acting up just standing at the gate while she was waiting for her exhibition and I went all Drill Sargent on her. I scared a friend of her's that was hanging around and she promptly disappeared. LOL. But it worked. We got her mare calmed down, Heather learned what she needs to do to make that happen and all in all, I think it was a very successful day for her too. Heather has some 'gate issues' of her own and we are really focusing on her learning how to get mentally prepared to make a run. Learning mental preparation is a huge, huge thing for any competitor, but especially so for a barrel racer. Nervous and unfocused thoughts transfer to your horse and then they get nervous and unfocused. My own daughter used to get so mad at me when I'd go Drill Sargent on her, but Heather was a good sport and once she grasped what I was having her do and why, she settled in to just make it happen...and both her and her horse's nerves disappeared. She went in to make her exhibition and when her mare messed up, she just got her under control again, made her turn around, do the pattern correctly and that was that. I love working with people like Heather. They want to learn, so they can do well and this girl is a worker. Whatever you show her, she works on. She's like a sponge and I'm only too happy to empower her with whatever little bit of knowledge I have picked up.