Good-bye wintertime blues! My cabin fever broke last week when I attended a jackpot for the first time since Fall. It has been a long winter, complete with cold weather and uncertainties, and I’m so glad to be back in the saddle again!
This was JB’s first jackpot running to the right. I switched things up in January after noticing that her right lead is stronger than the left. I prefer to make first barrel the direction of my horse’s strength. To me (others might have a different opinion, and that’s OK!) first barrel is your money barrel and I want my horse to nail it! It sets the tone for the rest of the run and it can be difficult to recover from a trashy first barrel.
To say that I was nervous about our debut would be an understatement. We switched in January and she hadn’t seen a barrel pattern in three weeks (most of February!). I need to learn to trust my horse. She’s a unicorn princess, she’s got this! I struggle with trust. I had a horse that would act like he’d turn but then run up the wall and it was unpredictable on when he’d pull this trick. I struggled and tried with this horse for a couple of years before giving up on him. He’s now happy as a head horse. JB is proving to me that I can trust her. Together we are building a relationship with trust and Buckeye Peppermint treats!
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and Moving Ahead
She had two smooth first barrels. The first jackpot, I just let her cruise and find her rhythm to it, while the second run I pushed her a little bit more.
She was tight on second barrel. She’s naturally ratey, but more so when there’s something “scary” beyond a barrel. Apparently, a set of pop up barrels are deemed as “scary” and we shut down a little early both times going into second barrel. Her second run, she did get over it a little and didn’t shut down as hard.
We struggled a little with third barrel. On our first run, she was free and I panicked and checked with one rein instead of two. This led to a “princess moment,” stalling us out on the backside of the barrel. I learned from that run, and on the second run I remembered to use my voice (she’s very receptive to verbal cues) and use both reins to check on third.
Goals for April/May 2017
I plan on entering a few rodeos on her. I think she’s proven to me that she’s ready to be seasoned and taken out of her comfort zone. Of the three on my list for the next month or so, two are fairly small indoor pens with dirt hauled in and one is an outdoor with rodeo ground. I just have to remember to trust her, help on third and use my voice going into barrels.
Til next time, keep on believing!