Saturday March 14th was the 11th Annual Farm Tour. 466 visitors came to Winsong Farm between 10:00 and 3:00. The horses had a GREAT time!
A few notes about the day:
1. I had mentioned on the Farm Tour ticket that Zelador would be in the arena at noon. That was his first of two scheduled outings. Turns out he thought he should have been the FIRST horse to perform at 10:00 in the morning and he was not amused! Every fifteen minutes another horse demonstrated tricks/games/liberty. Even though Zelador is capable of entertaining for over two hours, I figured if someone came here for 30 minutes it’d be nice for the person to see more than one horse.
2. In Zelador’s first outing he was great. During his second exhibition in the arena he decided “variety is the spice of life”. With minimal help from me he showed the people EVERYTHING and dreamed up some new variations to his games.
-For example: when I asked him to deliver the mail to Liz he thought it would be extremely clever if he returned with her in tow.
-Zelador did a lovely job placing his front feet in the big red hula hoop. He stood like a statue as I lifted it around his body and placed it on the ground around his hind feet. Stood still as I brought it back over his body and placed it on the ground around his front feet. I then called to him to come to the pedestal. That’s when he picked up the hoop and walked to the pedestal with his front legs still in the hoop! He loved it when the people laughed. The hoop was banging against his front feet and his belly.
-In the week preceding the Tour I presented the rotating top pedestal to Zelador and let him sort it out all on his own, no help from me other than a reminder to “go slowly and place the hooves in the middle”. In the past I’ve often had a halter and lead line so that I could help him balance on the small surface. It was really nice to see him accept this new approach to a tricky balancing act. Zelador’s eleventh birthday is March 16. So pleasant to see evidence that he is maturing!
3. Kye and Bill performed four times during the day. On the fourth trip Kye was content to go to the audience and sniff people. He loves being adored. Turns out Kye was also a bit tired. He turned 25 in February. Bill presented the big ball. Kye loves pushing this with his nose, but on outing number four Kye looked at the ball, then turned to the audience. Bill went to fetch another toy. He bent over to pick it up and WHOOSH! Kye had pushed the big ball squarely into Bill’s rump. The audience loved this, so did Kye.
4. Spring Song hasn’t seen an arena full of people since last autumn. She’s three years old and autumn was a long time ago for her. I had her scheduled for two outings. I knew the situation might be a bit much for her so everyone was ready to fetch another horse to fill in for her. I was in the arena expecting Zeloso to come through the door instead of Spring Song. Much to my surprise Bill brought in Spring Song. Her head was in the air, so was her tail! But within minutes she was relaxed, focused on me and having a great time showing off. This is pretty much amazing because there were young children in the audience squealing along with people entering and exiting the arena non-stop. Spring Song is GREAT at everything I ask her to do and a total joy to work with. She excels at liberty work walking, trotting and cantering around me. She’s soft and very careful with her body. This is a huge contrast to Zelador so I really appreciate Spring Song! During her second trip to the arena she was a pro. Nothing bothered her.
5. Sarah McNeil brought her two young miniature horses. I heard they were GREAT!
6. Pax wowed the crowd. Ron said Pax did his BEST during his fourth and final trip to the arena.
7. Zeloso was great fun. A neighbor emailed some photos he took during the Farm Tour. I love the one where Bill is returning the Horses Only Mailbox to its storage location and Zeloso is on his toes, hoping to talk Bill out of removing one of his favourite toys.
Charliene and Phil Metherall once again took over Pax’s double stall in the lower barn and filled it with coffee, hot chocolate and tons of treats, a free buffet for the Tour participants. We placed recent paintings created by the horses on the stall walls. Phil said it was really interesting to watch and listen to the people. “It was like being in an art gallery in Toronto. Someone would point to a painting and say, ‘I see a bunny in the picture! What do you see?’” Turns out five (count ‘em, FIVE) small paintings were sold. Who would have thought!?
One family stayed for several hours and commented, “This is the best family day EVER!” It’s also a terrific bargain. The Schomberg Farm Tour ticket costs $10 per car. This year the cow farm north of Highway 9 had more visitors than we did (500). Another farm up the road from us had around 450.
On the Farm Tour morning we woke up to a coolish temperature in the house. This was NOT a good sign. Within minutes we realized that we had no electricity. Bill mucks out the lower barn with six horses around 6:30 in the morning. He didn’t do it Saturday! It was too DARK. I woke at 7:00 to find him lounging on the couch with a few vizslas enjoying his company. No electricity meant no coffee which meant a headache would arrive around 10:00.
I drove to the corner gas station in the thick fog, sort of hoping for information on the power outage and searching for coffee. The man in charge got out of his car and told me he’d been assured by Hydro that the electricity would be on by 8:00. It was 8:02 and he was not amused! He said, “Nobleton has no electricity, but Schomberg might have it.” I decided that travelling in dense fog wasn’t a good idea. I returned home and called a few neighbors. One of them heard that the electricity should be on by 9:00.
I called Charliene who lives in Alliston to let her know that currently there was no way to keep beverages hot. She said, “We know! We got a phone call from the Tim Horton’s in Schomberg where we placed the order for coffee. They said they didn’t have power and wouldn’t be able to supply the coffee. Phil went to the Tim Horton’s in Alliston. We’ve got coffee!”
At 8:40 our power came on. Whew! With the Tour starting at 10:00 we had lots of jobs to do in very little time!
The coffee arrived before the headache. In fact, several coffees arrived!
Lauren Bode, an animal communicator, visited us the week following the Farm Tour. The horses had a few things to say about the 466 visitors. Zeloso commented, “I wasn’t the boss.” Zelador said, “People weren’t making a fuss over me.” I had to think about that for a second. Then I realized that Zelador had been very much aware of all the attention Pax was getting. Whenever Pax’s owner, Ron, was in the barn he had the large stall door open and the horse secured behind a half door with tons of people stopping to see Pax and talk about the beautiful horse. The King Weekly Sentinel published a lovely article on the Farm Tour the following week and in it there was a photo of Zelador looking out of the stall. Bill was at the stall door monitoring the horse. The photo showed an adoring child petting Zelador’s nose.
In summary, turns out friends of ours east of Newmarket were without power until 7:30 P.M. Saturday. The weather for the Tour wasn’t windy, wasn’t terribly cold (probably around zero), it was FOGGY till around 1:30. The cars for our farm park on the road and the ground was firm. No cars got stuck, BUT if we’d had warmer temperatures they might have! So, in spite of no electricity and far from perfect weather we had a GREAT day.