Monday, December 7, 2015

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

For the first time in a very long time, I'm sitting at home without a horse ready to run.  After selling my rodeo horse this fall and my futurity colt being injured earlier, I'm left with plenty of horses to ride but nothing to run.  Thankfully it's the middle of winter and there's not much to go to as far as jackpots or rodeos in our area.  However, watching the NFR will get anyone's blood pumping and wanting to hit the road.  

Although you could call me "horse poor" in the riding department, (there's plenty of colts here that need to be rode), I've decided to focus my attention on my 4 year old. Since the Futurity Holiday of December 1st has past, she's also officially my new futurity colt as well.  As everyone was posting on Facebook about how excited they were to run for their 2016 futurity hopefuls that week, I was thinking to myself, "Well, I'm excited that we just started to lope the pattern!" Needless to say, we're a little ways off the mark to make any sort of futurity or jackpot debut. 

This filly is maybe one of the most talented colts I've ever rode. With that comes some challenges. She has a big big engine and she's starting to figure out the gas pedal on her own.  My husband when he first started her said that we'd have to keep her pretty slow for awhile. I knew what he was saying but it wasn't until I rode her myself that I really understood his point.  She was almost on the lazy side for most of her two and three year old year.  But she was quiet and she was sure of herself. Confidence will decrease as we speed things up, so it's important to remember the foundation and have it pretty well set.

Last week as I was working her on the barrels here at home I let her pick her pace.  Which may I remind you we have only slow loped at this point.  Loping to the 1st barrel (which has been her nemesis), everything was coming together. She listened to me and allowed me to shape her, the timing just right, she wrapped around it and pushed out like a finished horse heading to 2nd.  I couldn't help myself and although I didnt' let her gain speed, I let her carry that momentum to 2nd. The 2nd and 3rd were such a rush that I can't say that I remember much about them.   Coming home I could feel her wanting to step on the gas pedal even more.   

It would be easy to keep up this pace. Keep letting her cruise through like she did. She's broke enough that she could probably handle it - for awhile.  However, as her trainer I need to recognize what she's ready for.  She has a good foundation but the foundation hasn't been allowed to "set" enough for her to fall back on if things start to crumble.  She needs time. Her in particular, is going to need a lot of it! 

It's a challenge when a colt is all you have and you're wanting to run, to not just let them go. Significantly more so after you've felt the talent behind them. It's easy to get caught up on what big barrel race is coming up and needing to get ready for it.  It's especially easy to get caught up on the futurity trail hype and think about how far behind your colt is and the need to speed up this process.  However, this isn't a cookie cutter process.  Each horse is different. This particular mare hasn't had the time on her like most of my horses do at this point. She's also one that is going need a lot of time letting the foundation "set" aka keeping it slow.  

I have to look at the big picture.  Do I want a futurity horse or do I want a horse for the future? Of course my answer is for the future. I'm reminded of the story of the tortoise and the hare. We all know how that story played out. I could let this mare roll as she's shown me that she's capable of doing, or I'm reminded of the tortoise - slow and steady wins the race!  I don't know if we will make it to the futurities, and that's OK by me.  For now, we'll be keep it slow, gaining confidence and trying to make every experience a good one!  

PA Ivyafrenchiepie checking cows. She'll spend the rest of the year seeing as much saddle time behind cows as possible as well as getting her fair share of "barrel" time.