Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Monkey On His Back

Krikies...I'm sitting here writing this and the wind is howling outside. I think my neighbors lost part of a roof off of one of their buildings. I just heard tin clanging and banging and crashing around. Since I don't have anything here with a tin roof on it...I know it's not mine. :-/.

My horses are not very happy at the moment though either. Luckily I did feed them a late lunch this afternoon...cause they got no supper this evening. It would have been a waste to try in this wind. Hopefully it goes down at some point by morning and I can feed them all a big breakfast then...before the wind kicks in again. :-(.

So anyway...

I ran at the Tucson rodeo this last weekend. Beautiful run...right up to the point where I just sort of sat there all nice and relaxed and let Moon rate down to much for the 3rd barrel. Doink!

I can't blame Moon. His form was outstanding. I was enjoying the ease and correctness of his run to 3rd just a little too much. :-(.

So, it was right back to the practice pen on Wednesday night.

I made some modifications to our tack again.

Actually, I just went back to the old set-up. The set-up I was using a couple of years ago, when Moon was running good...

No tie-down
His square mouthpiece Jr. Cowhorse bit
My right spur
And I carried my bat

I have left my stirrups where RC wanted them set...Which more than a little makes me feel like I am jockey on a racehorse...

Or a monkey.

Pretty sure I look more like a monkey clinging to Moon's back than I do a jockey. LOL

At this point...I don't care anymore. Looking pretty, while running Moon...that's a fantasy that just isn't gonna happen.

I've figured out some pretty valuable stuff here lately about My Main Man. The key really is...

Don't ever sit down and relax on him. One of two things happens every time I do...Either he gets ahead of me and charges into a turn or he rates down and doesn't have enough momentum to get around the barrel.

The funny thing about practice tonight was...Moon wanted to act a little loopy while we was waiting for the barrel race to finish. But a few thwarted attempts to charge off and he finally settled down and knocked his crap off. That is where the bat came in. I never had to do more than wave it at him and he stopped his non-sense. I can attempt to pull this horse around or poke him repeatedly in the ribs trying to stop him from thrashing one way or the other and he just get's more belligerent. I wave that bat around and he shapes up without too much of a fight. It's great that it works like that, but it's kind of weird that it does. Honestly, I have no clue why it's that affective. But I'm back to carrying the bat. :-)

He wanted to prance and dance and charge up the alley to make a run after the barrel race, but a couple of other gals beat me into the arena (I was visiting with a friend), so when Moon saw them, I swear he curled a lip. I was waiting for those girls to go and I recognized a gal that I have been meaning to speak to at several races now. Her name sounded very familiar to me and I have been wanting to ask if she is the gal I was thinking of. Sure enough. One of my middle brother's ex-girlfriends. LOL. We sat in the alley and visited for a good long while. I haven't seen her for 17-18 years.

Although this visitation was taking the edge off of Moon, I figured...This is exactly the kind of thing this horse needs. He needs to grasp and accept that he only has to turn on when I ask him to turn on. All of this getting overly excited BS...Moon's too old to be acting like this. So we sat and we visited, several other girls made practice runs and we sat and visited some more and while Moon never really shut off, he was most definitely over his anxiety and was standing still and moving calmly into and out of the alley as other girls worked their horses.

The only downside to this little visitation was, my friend's mom was going to record my run but they was loaded up and ready to go before I finished my visit. So no video. Sorry!

Finally I said, 'Well, I had better get this horse worked' and turned Moon, walked 1/2 way down the alley and walked him quietly back up. The pattern was clear, so we lined up to make a run.

And, Oh, what a nice run it was.

Moon was relaxed. I was relaxed and we just sailed along. There were girls sitting in the alley and I didn't want to circle Moon, so long before we got to the eye I had eased him down and just loped him to the end of the arena. I think that would have been a pretty good run because he still clocked an 18.6 and his steam was off his run before we ever got back to the eye.

I'm happy with that. We got a good, clean run, the FIRST time this time. Moon didn't have the head of steam on him that he does when he's in full competition mode, but that may have been a very good thing for him. He needs these calm, relaxed, practice runs.

We did our slow pattern. Moon was stopping nice and square before the barrels and I only had to set him down coming off of the 1st barrel once when he tried to charge off in his usual spot.

After that, we sat around and visited some more. When the gal I was visiting with finished working her horse, we both got off, loosened our cinches and pulled boots. By this time Moon was plumb relaxed and completely shut off.

I think it all worked out like it needed to this time.

Now last week, I thought we had it all handled, so I didn't do a practice run on him on Friday and I ended up doinking the 3rd barrel, so I WILL do a practice run on him this Friday and be ready for Saturday's run in Cottonwood. Moon clocked well there last year, but of course we hit a barrel. If I remember the gate is a little offset to the left (favors a left-barrel first horse)...but of course, that means we are allowed to go in the gate and line up for the right barrel first if we want to. That might work perfectly because I can just sidepass Moon over the right, that should get him to automatically pick up his right lead first. He always automatically picks up that lead if he is not tense, but once he gets rigid, it's tough to get him to push that hip back underneath himself and take the right lead.

After that, it's just chuck him the rein and be the monkey on his back. LOL


Shirley said...

Sounds like you are making progress!

Unknown said...

This morning I went out to feed and all of Killian's hay from last night was in the alley way. So this morning I put his hay into a slowfeeder just to keep it in place. The rest had the feeders that hang on the fence. At least my pellets don't blow away.

Glad you guys had a good run, I suspect you both needed that confidence boost!

Cut-N-Jump said...

The wind can certainly get old really fast. I know it's tearing things up and rearranging other stuff for me to. I'll be glad when it blows on by.

Madeline C. said...

I'm so happy to see how well you guys are doing! Breakthroughs are the best!

kestrel said...

It's funny how some horses pick up on a certain clue that momma is downright serious! I had a horse that would not behave...until I started cussing at him. Interesting looks from other riders when I would threaten to kill and eat him, but he'd go to work when he heard the threat!