Back from my weekend of barrel racing in SD and...
I think LJ is a jinx!!
Last year when I took him and Frosty to Utah to a big barrel race...It was cold and poured rain all weekend.
Guess what this last weekend was like?
Yup!! Cold and it poured rain!!
Well, at least this time the boys were in a barn and didn't have to spend the night in the trailer to stay warm and dry. LOL
It was a bit of a disappointing weekend. I didn't get to ride LJ at all. I know he needs to get used to being ridden in inclimate weather, but I would prefer to have decent weather the first few times I ride him around that much activity. I have ridden him around at a few events and he gets very excited. I cannot imagine adding cold and rain on top of that excitement. I'd probably end up in the mud. Hahahahaha. The hauling miles are good for him though. He's learning all the ins and outs of going to competitions without the additional stress of trying to compete. And that is important. LJ does haul well and taking him with an experienced horse like Frosty teaches him to eat and drink on the road. The bad thing about LJ is that he gets so upset when you take his buddy horse away. He screams and screams and actually upsets my seasoned horses. I was surprised the first time I took him on a short trip with Moon at how upset Moon was about LJ being upset. LJ's tantrum that day got Moon wound up and the same thing happened to Frosty this trip.
I was a little worried that the less than ideal weather would bring out Frosty's broncy side, but he was actually really good. No noteworthy antics (like last year in UT when he blew up in the warm-up pen). Frosty still wants to be spooked of horses coming at him when people are loping every which direction in the warm-up pen, but he's gotten a lot better about it.
The first day of competition I took him into the indoor well ahead of when we were supposed to run and spent a lot of time letting him look at everything, watch the barrel racing and just get comfortable. I rode him up to the gate several times during the drags so he could look into the arena as well.
I'm not going to lie...I was nervous about him bucking with me at the first barrel. That is something I wished I could get out of my head, but getting drilled by him last year has left a lasting impression on me. I want to trust him...But...I'm not all the way there yet.
When it was our turn to run, I made a big loop outside the arena, so that Frosty would have a lot of room to start his run and pick up the first barrel. While standing in the gate, I noticed that the first barrel (on the right) blended in with all of the signs on the fence and I realized that is why a lot of girls were having trouble. Frosty didn't have much luck picking up where the barrel was either. He was kind of ducking and diving the first few strides up the alley and into the arena, so I knew he wasn't locked on. He did pick it up when we got closer, but he sure wasn't wanting to run to the barrel. Just kind of loping along. He got around the barrel and kind of hopped out of the turn a little. When he saw the 2nd barrel he locked on and started trying to run a little. He set into the turn really well, but was hopping and humping coming out and I knew right away that he didn't get his hind lead switched. I let him ease up and he got it, but on the way to 3rd he was looking at the big red sign that hung on the rear wall and he never ever saw the 3rd barrel. He just kept slowing down and slowing down and I know he was thinking, 'Why the hell are you running me into that big, red sign?'. I pulled him around the 3rd barrel cause he didn't even know it was there.
He ran a 19.0...exactly 1/2 a second off of where I thought he should have ran. Considering he was looking around, I wasn't too disappointed with his time, but I knew I would not be pulling a check on that day.
The next day, Frosty felt a lot fresher when I was warming him up and I though, 'Oh boy, he's ready for today's run!'. I also put his tie-down back on him. Frosty runs and turns very level, so a tie-down is not for keeping his head down. Beings that Frosty is very long over the back and not terribly athletic, a tie-down gives him a little bit of something to balance on so he can hold his turns and helps him get that lead change in the rear.
This time when I brought Frosty into the holding area, he was wound for sound. I feel like this is a bit of a catch .22. Frosty definitely needs to learn how to amp up a bit before a run...but on the other hand...he doesn't think real well when he is wound up. I debated it in my head and decided that I would just keep working him in the holding pen until he calmed down and relaxed. One of the mistakes I made with Moon was, when he first started to get wound up about making a run, instead of camping and working on him by the gate, I took him away from the gate to help him relax. Moon never really got the chance to have to learn how to work through his anxiety and let it go before making a run. I won't make that mistake again.
Frosty did get back down to where I thought he should be before our 2nd run and this time when he lined up to start his run, he knew where that first barrel was and stretched right out, but he sure wasn't running very hard. Right about then, I wished I was carrying my popper bat. Nevertheless, Frosty set in and snapped right around that first barrel and I thought, 'Here we go...He's gonna run now'...But....
Nope...I was mooching and kicking (or so I thought) to him and he just loped across to the 2nd barrel. He set into that turn really well, but coming out...AGAIN I knew he didn't catch his hind lead and he just couldn't get it switched. We sort of hopped around the 3rd barrel and I couldn't even get Frosty to run toward home.
Afterward I realized I may have been talking and mooching to Frosty, but I wasn't using my legs at all. In my head I was kicking like crazy...In real life, I was barely bumping him. I reverted back to clutching with my upper thighs, not sitting down and using my legs.
I heard my time of 19.6 and was so freaking disgusted. Seriously? We lost almost a second from the 1st run to the 2nd run? Uuggghhhhhh!!!
Well, luckily that wasn't really the case. I heard 19.6...but the time was really 19.106. Okay...so a 1/10th slower not 6/10ths slower. Still not the 18.4-18.5 I had been hoping for...but I know that I didn't do much to actually make Frosty run any faster, so basically he can lope a 19.0 second pattern without even trying. This was a standard sized pattern, but had a short score (only 45' instead of 60'). The winning time both days was a 16.40.
Besides me not kicking, it really felt like something else was going on with Frosty. I mean...He just wasn't even trying. My mom was there for the weekend and both of us agreed that neither of us were impressed with the shoeing job on Frosty this time around. The first time I had this farrier shoe Frosty we discussed AT LENGTH that I was okay with him pulling Frosty's toes back a little bit the first time. Frosty's feet do like to platter out and not having had shoes on all summer had them a little flat again. This 2nd time, I asked him to reset the same shoes, the exact same way. Frosty did well the first time around. But I think when he reset the shoes he pulled his toes back more and it just makes the breakover too fast for Frosty to handle. He is NOT a quick footed horse and too quick of a breakover makes him very uncomfortable. He won't reach forward with his shoulders and that is a problem with this horse anyway. So needless to say, I am switching to a different farrier. Hell, if I have to, I'll haul Frosty and LJ to AZ to have Cindy's farrier do his shoes. That guy did the best job of anyone on Frosty.
So, while the competitive aspect of the weekend didn't turn out like I had hoped and the weather sucked, there was one bright spot...
There was a lady giving a breathing treatment to a horse outside of the barn where my horses were stabled, so I stopped to visit with her about her unit. I have been wanting to buy a nebulizer for a couple of years but just wasn't sure which one to buy. Since those things are not cheap...I didn't want to blow a bunch of money on one that wasn't effective. This lady had the portable Equi-Resp unit, one that I had been looking at, and told me it worked wonders on their bleeder. We discussed bleeders and the unit for quite awhile and she answered every question that had been rolling around in my head. I didn't waste any time. I ordered one as soon as I got home. I am hoping that it will be as beneficial for Moon as it was for her horse. She says she uses it on all of her horses now, so I suspect I will be trying it on all of my horses as well. Especially in the summer when it gets hot and dusty.