Old Frosty didn't have quite as good a showing this first race as he did last year. Our first run resulted in me trotting him out and laughing the whole way. Nobody else was laughing. They were all gasping and for the rest of the day everyone kept asking me if I and my horse was okay.
So long story, short...Frosty decided he was going to be a barrel horse and he was a little excited on his way to first barrel. He ran past it a bit, but came back around well and was headed for 2nd...
I have been having some real problems with Frosty not wanting to change his hind lead before making the turn. He changes in the front, but is too freaking lazy to change behind and it most definitely causes a problem. Last year in the spring he was refusing to make the rear lead change and he finally pancaked with me on the 3rd barrel.
So you know where this is going right?
Frosty dropped really low in the front getting into his 2nd barrel and stumbled. I sat up and lifted my hand and he immediately picked himself up, set his hind leg and rolled right back...behind the 2nd barrel....and took off for 3rd. Oopsie!!
Well, there was really nothing to do except just keep riding him. It wasn't like he did that deliberately. LOL.
But the jerk was STILL in the wrong lead. He didn't even try to change for the 3rd barrel. Just laid into the turn and...
Yep...His hind end just went right out from under him and he just collapsed to the ground. Like a big, ole sack of shit. Hahahahahaha
I was still sitting right in the middle of him, with the barrel about a foot to my left side. I contemplated stepping off, but looked around to see what Frosty's legs were doing. A horse that falls with their legs out to the side can get to thrashing when it tries to get up and it's best to step off of them, if you can. But no, Frosty's legs were all neatly folded up under him, so I just sat right there and made him get up with me on his back.
Now, what people don't realize about Frosty is...He falls or almost falls down so often with me that neither of us get very excited about it. Frosty most definitely handles falling down better than any horse I have ever known. Of course, I have never had another horse that falls down as often as Frosty does, so I guess I don't have much to gauge it by.
But, Frosty just sort of looked around and then stood up and started trotting to the gate. As non-chalant as you please. Me? I have to laugh. Out loud. I have been expecting this to happen. A horse that refuses to change leads behind is eventually going to fall down trying to make a barrel turn. If last year was any indication...Falling down is exactly what Frosty needed to do to wake his lazy ass up and make him realize he HAS to lift that hip up and change his hind lead. That is part of his JOB and if he is too freaking lazy to make the effort then falling down is all on him.
Outside, everyone was all, 'Is he okay? Are you okay?'. I'm was still laughing. Frosty isn't one bit excited or worried about what just happened, nor is he even breathing hard. All is fine. But that definitely needed to happen.
I walked Frosty out for a minute then tied him to the trailer and got on Moon. I had bought a nasal Flair and put it on Moon and the weather was perfect. Cool and moist. Nevertheless, I really had no goal of 'making a run' on Moon. My only goals were for Moon to enter the gate without a fight and getting him to focus on the left hand barrel as first. I warmed Moon up and then we went and found a place to set. As a back-up plan, I asked one of the husbands to help walk Moon up to the gate, if by chance he started his whirling away thing. I also had my bat in hand.
Moon set there nicely while I visited with other riders and the borrowed hubby got into a position where he would be ready to help if required. When I started easing Moon up to the arena door...It was all I could do to hold him back. Holy begezus!! Instead of trying to leave...Moon was charging TOWARD the door. We entered the indoor arena and it was all I could do to hold Moon back. I did not want to let him go until I felt him lock onto that left hand barrel and take a breath. By now, we were in the arena. Moon was looking at the left hand barrel, but he was charging and when I wouldn't let him go, he started whirling. I just kept trying to get him to move forward into a left hand circle and take a breath. Under normal circumstances I don't like to take forever at the gate, but since there is no chance of getting DQed at these barrel races, I took an extra minute (felt like an hour) to get Moon moving between my legs and let him take the breath I keep mentioning. The breath is very important right now. Part of Moon's deal is he gets so anxious that he quits breathing...and thinking. He just wants to be all tight and on the muscle and he stops thinking. Both of us have struggled with this problem. LOL.
Finally Moon came around and took that breath. In that instant I felt him soften, lock onto the left hand barrel, pick up the left lead and I just let him go.
After that...I just let him do his thing and oh my...It was a wild ride. Moon ran past the 1st barrel by a stride, set a hind leg and whipped back around and tagged the barrel. I didn't do anything. Just let him run. Moon was all over the place. He was running wild. LOL. I didn't do much except just ride real quiet and kept talking to him. We coasted home. Moon walked out of the arena and wasn't even breathing hard. I could already see his wheels turning. He was kind of looking around like, 'Wow, did I just run all over the arena like an idiot?'. He actually looked embarrassed. LOL. We hung out and visited for a little bit and then I went to put horses away.
One of my 'friends' came over to visit and right off the bat she was like, 'Oh my, you had a rough day.'. I just laughed and told her, I couldn't be happier with my day. Every single thing I wanted to happen, happened. Truth of the matter was, I was on cloud 9.
I satisfactorily executed the 2 goals I had for Moon and I could tell it made an impression on him. I also think the nasal Flair worked wonderfully for him. Looks like I will have to keep those on hand now. And Frosty got the rude awakening he has been needing. If falling down is what it takes to make an impression on him, then so be it.
I was really looking forward to day 2. :-)