I never thought I'd get to say this...But I sure am enjoying seasoning Frosty. I never thought the big, buckskin dummy was ever going to get it. But, by golly...He is.
He's still running in the 21 second bracket...which is exceptionally slow...But we are losing at least a second on the run home. Everything else is just about darned near perfect. He has a beautiful 1st barrel, is changing his lead at the 2nd barrel...He's still just a little wobbly right before he makes the turn...but considering what I started with...I'm pretty happy...and then he just floats along and makes a beautiful 3rd turn.
I ran him at Dunn's tonight, which is an evening barrel race, in a covered arena. So it was a whole new experience for Frosty and outside of getting a little distracted going into his 2nd barrel....there were people moving around outside the arena fence and his ears came up and he ducked out a little and then in a little, but finally flicked an ear back to the barrel and made the turn. He was a little wide on the bottom of the turn, but instead of trying to pull him around, I just let him 'teardrop' it and he picked up and came out in perfect form for 3rd.
I've kind of figured something out about that second barrel...regardless of whether you run left or right...
I watch these top girls as much as I can and one thing I have noticed is, if their horse is not shaping real well for the 2nd barrel, they just drive 'em deep and let them teardrop the turn. The don't struggle with them going into the turn and they don't pull the horse back around. It doesn't take any extra strides and the horse doesn't get all bend out of shape from being pulled around the turn. Basically all it amounts to is the horse has a pocket on the bottom of the barrel vs. at the top of the barrel.
*Top of the barrel for the 1st and 2nd barrel is the side farthest way from the arena gate.
*Backside of the barrel for 1st and 2nd is the side that is closest to the fence
*Bottom of the barrel for 1st and 2nd barrel is the side that is closest to the arena gate.
*3rd barrel you generally say, Going into, backside or coming out of because it is set in line with the gate.
It wasn't necessarily a bad thing that Frosty's attention was momentarily diverted, because I think I was sort of sitting on my butt (had a little of my own hesitancy going on) heading into that 2nd barrel, but when I felt him look up, I gathered up my reins and remembered to r.i.d.e. him into the turn. LOL. I couldn't prevent him from ducking around entirely, but getting gathered up and seriously thinking about getting him into the turn got his attention back and he handled it smoothly.
Third was as perfect as first and I let Frosty get out of the turn before I asked him to run for me a little. I don't want to go to gaping him with the spurs and he isn't ready for a bat, so all I could do was urge him on. I thought maybe slapping him on the shoulder would encourage him a little, but as soon as I did, he slowed down even more (sigh). There's not much I can do at this point except just let him figure it out. He will. They all do. I just don't think it's worth forcing the run home and risking freaking him out. Everything else he is doing is spot on and even though this was only his 3rd run, I can feel his confidence level rising. The looking outside the arena hesitancy is perfectly normal for a green horse and is to be expected for quite a few more runs. That is what seasoning is all about. And hey...He took another 3ths off of his time. We are now at the mid 21's. LOL. That doesn't seem like much when you are running that slow, but it's definite progress (almost a 1/2 a second) in only 3 runs. The goal is to keep him running this pretty and just keep shaving those 10ths off. Once he figures out the run home, I think he'll take a full second off.
I wished Moon had 1/2 of Frosty's smoothness in HIS turns. Ugghhhh!!!
Speaking of the dun dickhead...
He went too...And he got exhibitioned before the barrel race...which was no big deal because he knew full well that it was only a practice session. Then he got camped on at the gate, after Frosty was cooled out and then he got exhibitioned immediately following the barrel race. He tried to spin out one time going in the gate and after that, he was good as gold. WTH??? It was like last Thursday never happened.
It was good for him though. I put a three quarter speed run on him and got to feel what was going on and it's just Moon's usual 'try-to-hard, turn-to-fast'. We spend quite a bit of time slowing him down, smoothing out the entry and opening up his turns. He's just shutting down too much in his turns and anticipating leaving. Too much run...Not enough finesse. So I'm guessing it was my 'no practice' idea that got us into trouble. Moon doesn't need a lot of practice on the pattern, but obviously he does need slow work...I think just lots of loping around the barrels...so I'll devote a little time to making him put his thinking cap back on and I see a lot of 'parking' going on at the jackpots, with some slow work afterward to help him figure out how to work through and handle those massive adrenaline dumps he is so prone to. Moon, oh Moon...You are something else!!
I also took Little John and The Big Bay with me. I rode The Big Bay for awhile. He's doing pretty okay. It's time to put him in a running martingale though. Man is that horse stiff in his face, but he's handling being hauled to and rode around various arenas a whole lot better than I ever thought he would. Who knew?
LJ is adapting to this public life he found himself thrown into. He's not as noisy as he was at first...and he has the trailer loading thing down pat. Getting out is a bit of an ordeal still. I have to get in the trailer and pat him on the butt, but he is such a smart little guy...If you don't get after him too much and give him a minute to figure things out...He's just a little sweetie. I rode him around the arena, which I have yet to find an arena he isn't comfortable in...LOL...That's ALL he knows. Arenas = Safe!! And then putted around out in the parking lot on him and he was much more lookie-loo than he ever is in an arena, but everything is so new to him and he handles it all amazingly well. I've got to get serious about patterning him up, because he is so well broke, there is not reason why I can't start exhibitioning him as soon as he understands the pattern.