We began with Z and Z’s liberty routine. Within seconds of the music starting we realized that Zeloso needed his halter and a lead line on. Having him at liberty was a train wreck. It took a while to catch Zeloso and get the halter on him. Once we accomplished that, things improved.

Zelador was brilliant with the ball and the tricks. Occasionally I’d get a glimpse of Bill with Zeloso. Things weren’t a disaster, but they weren’t perfect, either.

The final section is the liberty work around me at the far end of the arena. Zeloso demonstrated twice that he’s much quicker than Bill. This became evident when Bill led Zeloso to me and Zelador. He turned him over to me and tried to get back to the middle of the arena so that he could discourage Zeloso from leaping down to the other end. Finally we decided that we’d place yet another person at the critical spot to help Zeloso stay where he belongs.

I’ve been struggling with this section’s music. Some pieces are too fast and the horses get revved. Some pieces are slow. I like them. Bill finds them dull. However, Bill isn’t in the middle of a ton of fast-moving horseflesh. I’m thinking a dirge just might be perfect.

We took Z and Z back to the barn and returned to the arena to help Ann with Socs and Picasso. After that we brought the boys up for the hula-hoop routine. Ann’s son, Kyle, was available to start and stop our music AND retrieve errant hula hoops. Ann video taped us. The really good news about the taping is: you can’t hear me “discussing” things with Bill. Like… “just throw the hoop UP. When it drifts down, I’ll catch it.” And, “When you wing it straight at me, it bounces off my hand.” Then there’s the ever popular, “Bill, how did you drop THAT one!!”

We went through the routine five times. Once it was perfect. Twice it was almost perfect. One time we didn’t get past the first five seconds. Another time there was a tremendous debate surrounding where we were supposed to be riding…around the last pumpkin or just inside the pedestals.

Kyle got REALLY good at retrieving hoops. When we watched the video we had to laugh. We could see Kyle at the edge of the screen. He was leaning forward, ready to snatch a fallen hoop from the arena floor. We threw. We didn’t miss. He stepped back, knowing that we were home free. Within seconds a hoop hit the dust. A disbelieving Kyle dashed forward, picked it up and got it back to us without the horses missing a step in the choreography. What a kid!!! The bad news is: he plays hockey and it looks like he’s got a game October 25th. We’re pretty sure that we won’t be able to find anyone with his skills to take over his job.

But…Bill had an idea. How about lining both sides of the arena with hoops, sitting up high on the ledge at just the right height for us to fetch from horseback…JUST IN CASE we drop one.