First off, I'm a tad late posting this... our district barrel racing finals was the first weekend in September (3rd and 4th). Oops!
This year it was our 25th anniversary and the board had done a ton of work to make this one of (if not THE) best district finals we've ever had. For the first time it was held INDOORS. We had a lot of really, really nice prizes and a good cash haul to boot!
I had entered Frosty and Lefta, and thanks to a good friend I was able to get them there. My darn truck isn't running so I wasn't going to enter even though I would still be there due to being on the board. But MJ, a good friend and fellow board member/barrel racer, wasn't going to let me miss running my ponies! She picked them up the Friday evening while I was at work and I went to Prairieland to help set up as soon as I was done. Man oh man it was hot and humid in there and setting up panels for the holding area/alley way just about did us in.
PL is the same arena we had our provincial finals at and we set up pretty much the same. However our pattern was slightly larger and because of that first and second barrel were quite close to the alley, which meant you didn't really see them until you were out there (kinda made me think of the NFR lol). And like at finals we set up to bring in 5 racers at a time and rake at 5, I love that! It gives the horses a chance to settle and their eyes to adjust and it just makes everything run so much smoother and quicker.
Saturday morning I was up early to get to the barn to do chores and help with entries. I wasn't nervous about my runs really, although I was a bit concerned with how Frosty was feeling because he'd been sore all week. Thank goodness my sponsor Janelle was able to come and work on him a few times between Monday and Friday, and she said to go ahead and enter him because 1) he wasn't sore enough to vet out and 2) if he wasn't entered she'd be telling me to work him anyway to keep him from getting stiffer. And like the late, great Ed Wright had told me "we all have to work a bit sore sometimes, horses and humans". (and goodness knows I'VE worked sore lol)
I was up on Frosty first, he warmed up decently but just didn't feel right. Like MJ said, it was so subtle that it was more I could feel it because I know my horse than obvious enough that someone would see it. We went in and made our run and it was okay. Not great but okay, an 18.244. At provincials he'd run a 16.804 and a 17.217, so I'm not surprised with the big pattern and being a bit off he was slower. And to be totally honest I probably didn't ride as hard as I wanted to because I was worried about him being off.
Then Lefta came in... she warmed up nicely but seemed a bit distracted. I haven't run her much this year and while she was very well behaved you could tell she was paying a lot of attention to everything around her, even in the holding pen she was a bit more looky-loo than I would like. It was funny though, because she knew she was at a competition and was still very business like. Her little "I need to get SOMEWHERE trot" going to and from the warm up/barn/arena whenever she was saddled just cracked me up. Once it was time for her to go make her run though she was focused! She clocked a 17.559, considering she was still carrying quite a bit of extra weight and wasn't legged up as much as I'd have liked I was pretty happy with that :)
We were bringing back 15 in each D on an average. With Lefta's run I was fairly hopeful, and with Frosty... well that was all going to depend on how he felt the next day. He got a good rubdown and all his BOT on for the night, chores were done and I just had to wait and see how day 2 played out.