I bought this mare as a 4 year old green broke filly that just needed to be finished and had a lot of potential to go in any direction that I wanted to take her in. At the time, I hadn’t had a whole lot of experience with younger horses and had a very limited knowledge about what it really takes to finish a young horse correctly. I bought her during the fall season of my junior year in high school rodeo and anticipated to make her into a barrel horse that I can enter and win on by the time the spring season came around.
After a short couple months of patterning, I figured it was time I started entering the barrels. And at first, Moonshine seemed like she was really liking it. The runs were a little messy but even an inexperienced trainer would expect that from a young and inexperienced horse. But after a few runs, Moonshine started to get really hot. Too hot. She started not listening to me through the gate, not moving forward when I ask her to, completely shutting down and throwing fits before a run, and her most famous younger days move, ducking in front of the barrels. Needless to say, it was more than disheartening to see hard work go downhill more and more with every run.
It didn’t take long before I decided to stop entering Moonshine in the barrels. I didn’t really know what to do but I was determined to figure out a solution. It was time that I stopped thinking about myself and wanting to win right now, and started thinking about the longevity of Moonshine’s career. I dedicated myself to learning about how to properly start a horse from the ground up, how to start from the basics and create a broke, soft, and willing horse. I realized very quickly the importance of insuring a solid foundation on a horse before you try to enter or do anything like that on them. Especially on a young horse. I started learning the value of my horse’s body shape and collecting. I started understanding that slow work is far more valuable than making run after run. I began to understand the value of patience when I started to see major improvements from the baby steps that I was taking with Moonshine.
Now, a few years later, the relationship that I have with Moonshine is indescribable. She is the first horse that I have ever trained and made my own, and although I made some mistakes in the beginning, she taught me how to be a better rider and horsewoman. I taught her how to collect, how to stop and back up correctly, how to counter arc and lead off my body rather than my hands, how to bend and shape her body, how to use her body to her advantage. I learned how to speak to her in a way that works for both of us, but most importantly, I learned how to listen to her. Moonshine is still young and we have a lot of goals to set and accomplish in our future. I am blessed to now get to own one of the most solid and willing horses that I have ever ridden. She really is something special and I feel more than blessed to be able to show her off to the world.
Now that I have Moonshine the way that I want her, I plan on taking her career as far as she will let me. I want her to reach her fullest potential and for her to be the horse that I reach my large, big-time goals with. I have a lot of faith in her ability and know that her and I are going to have some fun at our upcoming jackpot, amateur, and pro rodeos. She is going to be the start and the foundation of my future in professional barrel racing and in raising a successful line of barrel racing/cutting babies.
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