I'm starting to get the feeling that the weekend of the Scottdale Pro Rodeo and the Fort Mohave Pro Rodeo are something I should avoid. Stay home...Hybernate...Anything except be gone or on the road at this time.
It's been one year exactly since Shooter almost ruined himself on hot rope. I came home from the Scottsdale rodeo...depressed after a horrible run to find my beloved with a wrecked leg. It was touch and go with him for a very long time.
After leaving Shooter at the vets, I drove 4 1/2 hours to Fort Mohave, crying over Shooter most of the way, only to have Moon trip behind the 2nd barrel, stumble half way across the arena, pick himself up and run to the 3rd barrel and plow it over.
It was a devastating weekend and it was very much on my mind when I left the house on Friday morning to go to the Scottsdale rodeo. Of course, this year I wasn't hobbling on an injured leg like I was last year (after Moon smashed my leg in Buckeye the weekend before that) and Moon and I have been running somewhat better.
I like Scottsdale slack to be honest with you. Most of the big-name barrel racers choose to run in the slack here and hanging out in the warm-up pen is pretty much like hanging at the NFR. ;-).
Moon fired hard, made an awesome first turn, ran true across the pen and then I felt him starting to rate down and lean in. Frick!!! It never fails. Unable to get him lifted up, I panicked and resorted to hauling on the outside rein to keep him off the barrel and well...That ruined the run.
I was so pissed off and depressed afterward, I almost called MH and told him to 'never mind going to Fort Mohave'. I was just going to turn out. I'm sooo sick of this whole 2nd barrel thing with Moon.
I have never in my life had a horse that made me feel so helpless, much less gave me freakin PANIC ATTACKS!! I just did not want to do this with him anymore. In that moment I was just DONE.
If we hadn't made plans with others in Fort Mohave, I have no doubt I would have just turned out and called it a thing with Moon. NO BODY needs to go through the kind of hell I have been going through with Moon. It's wrecking me as a competitor and it makes me look bad. I don't care how vain that makes me sound. It's embarrassing to go in and start to make a run and then end up looking like a freak-show rider...Not a cool 'trick rider'...A FREAK!! who can't control her horse or herself.
So I called and whined to a few people, pulled myself together, loaded horses and headed to Fort Mohave. I took the scenic route. Mostly so I could see a little bit of country I had never seen before, but also as a way to delay actually getting to Fort Mohave. Driving is my solice. It's my thinking time.
By the time I got there, I had come to the conclusion that I may have been going about this whole problem with Moon the wrong way. I won't bore you with the details of my thought process...I get the feeling that people are bored with that and either think I am over-analyzing or just randomly grasping for straws when I make changes.
I run my idea by a couple of my trusted rodeo buddies and they thought I might be onto something, so I went with my plan the next day.
It worked like a charm. All of this time, I have been treating Moon's tendency to bear down on that inside rein like it's a training problem and/or MY problem...And it's not. Maybe it used to be my problem, but now it's Moon's problem and he got told under no uncertain circumstances that bearing down on that inside rein was not happening anymore. He handled it remarkably well, picked himself up and rounded his turns.
I'm happy to say, Moon only ran 3 10ths out of the money.
Not only was my attitude much improved after that...So was Moon's. Actually his better mood started before we even went in the gate. The changes I implemented seem to suit him and he pranced and danced his way into the alley, the way he used to when he was ready to make a run.
After that it was a good weekend.
I was almost home when some guy behind me starts flashing his lights and honking his horn. I had just passed a vehicle and hadn't gotten back over into the right hand lane yet and I thought he was just pissed because I was still tootling along in the right lane, so I get over to let him pass and he is waving and point to the side of the road. Hmmmm...
From his frantic motioning though, I realized something was wrong and immediately pulled over. My first thought is always, 'Oh, my god, something is happening with one of the horses'. I got out, he jumped out and came racing back pointing behind us. And then I hear him, 'You lost a tire'.
I was like, 'What? I lost a tire? WHAT?' and I'm running back to the trailer and sure enough there is a missing tire. I mean...The WHOLE THING is just gone!!
Tire, rim, wheel hub...All of it. It was just the bare axle sticking out.
He asked if I needed them to call anyone for me and I told him I would call my husband and he would come get the horses. He told me my tire was a couple of miles back in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. It took him a minute to realize that I didn't know the tire had come off and that is when he flagged me down. I thanked him. He left. I called the hubby and asked him to bring the stock trailer to get the horses home in. MH was NOT happy to hear I had lost the whole shebang, but of course he hooked up the little rig and came and got the horses.
I thought about having him drive back and get the tire first, but the horses were getting a little freaked out with all of the traffic going by them. Of course they can tell when something isn't right. Mom doesn't just stop by the side of the road for no reason. So we went ahead and unloaded them and then popped them into the stock trailer. MH told me to just take the big rig home and he followed with the horses. After getting them settled in at home, I went back to get my rim and tire...
But of course, that would be the ONE time anyone would stop and pick up anything by the side of the road right? I drove up and down the road for several miles looking for it. But it was gone. Well, not only does the trailer have to be repaired...now the tire and rim has to be replaced. Just freakin' wonderful.
I think, next year...I'm skipping the Scottsdale/Fort Mohave weekend. It seems to be jinxed!