May31winnie.jpgAt 2:00 this afternoon Lauryn Tambling’s barn, Canter Call, (plus assorted “others”) were here today in this hot, muggy weather to watch the horses play. About fifty people came!

We started with Lindsey and her Andulasian mare, Airosa. The clean, white horse decided that the first “trick” would be ROLL and get one side of her body delightfully dirty. She accomplished that in less than sixty seconds. Airosa charmed everyone. She so enjoys entertaining people.

Bill and Kye were next. This twenty-year-old Appy is a pro at pushing the big ball in a large circle. He also demonstrated the carrot/cone game with FIVE cones set out with carrot treats under them. Usually we only set out three. He enjoyed this variation of his favourite game. Then Bill popped on bareback after tying the leadline to both sides of Kye’s halter.

Ron and Pax (the BIG boned Canadian) entered the arena. I’d chosen their music which included “The Stroll”, “Big Bad John” and “The Leader of the Pack”. Ron rode Pax through some Working Equitation obstacles. He approached the bull with the ring on its head at the trot. Missed getting the ring on his long pole, came around again and succeeded. Those two are the only ones who’ve been successful at that gait.

Bill and I did our Hula-Hoop routine on Zelador and Zeloso. At the end we usually halt side by side with Bill to my left, but yesterday when we were practicing Bill ended up in front of me and to my right. Being right-handed I found it so very easy to throw a hoop through the air and have it come down over Bill. I tossed hoop after hoop and couldn’t miss. That was yesterday. Today my first hoop bounced away, but the next two were ringers!

Kye and Ron joined us for the Pas de Trois. Only miss-step was during our simultaneous circles…Kye had to POOP and got a few steps out of sync. Darn!

After that routine, Kye left and we untacked the boys. Bill kept Zeloso on a pedestal while Zelador and I went through quite a few tricks. Zelador let us know that any sane horse (or person, for that matter) would be resting in this heat, not performing. I mentioned to the audience that his relaxed attitude would invariably liven up. It did! He had so much fun twirling the green froggie while retrieving it to the pedestal that one large eye on the stuffed toy flew off. (Yet another prop that has to go in for repairs. The other day I found some soft, white stuffing. I checked the penguin, dinosaur, bunny and frog. All seemed intact! Can’t figure out who’s missing some inards!)

Zelador did his liberty then Zeloso joined us. It’s so beautiful to watch these two greys when they change direction at liberty. Wow! Then I was able to call them in and have Zeloso to my right and Zelador to my left. I need Zeloso on my right side because that’s where he prefers to receive the cue to bow on one knee. Even though Zelador was taught the bow from the same position as Zeloso, he can bow no matter where I cue him. So, I “went for it” and the sweeties bowed simultaneously. Zeloso went into the bow first and held it forever while I was cueing Zelador who decided to ask me several times if I really wanted a bow!!!! Mary Lucky took photos throughout the performance. With any luck she got a good one of these two bowing and I’ll post it!

For the finale Bill joined me and (at liberty) led Zeloso to one pedestal and I led Zelador to another. The transition from one handler to another is always tricky. Today we pulled it off. Once they were on the pedestals I called Zelador to the far end to free jump. He knew exactly what I wanted and had a great time playing. He did jump the low obstacle from a standstill and thought he was very clever. I brought him back to the pedestal, then Bill took Zeloso for his free jump. After Zeloso jumped he performed a few fancy leaps (much to the joy of the crowd) and that inspired him to cavort some more. He cantered down to the audience, said “Hi” then trotted to the pedestal Zelador was on. He bumped him off and landed on it. Zelador trotted to the far end for his second and final turn at free-jumping.

Now, I’ve been trying to teach Z and Z to take turns working while the other one waits on the pedestal. When the working horse is done, he’s to go behind the pedestal horse. The pedestal horse then steps off and the working horse steps up for his rest. I practiced this in April and the boys offered up a stunning number of variations…none were exactly what I was trying to communicate. I figured they were getting way too creative and the best thing I could do is leave this “trick” alone and hope some GAP time would help sort things out. Well, obviously these two were messing with me. They knew exactly what I wanted and preferred to tease me.

It was so beautiful to see them perform this maneuver flawlessly. I almost fell over!

The goal of today’s presentation was to show horse owners a few other things that horses love to do. I mentioned my orchestra dream and showed them a few of the musical “instruments” that Ann Clifford has found. There’s a Disney blow horn that the horses actually love. I thought the sound it makes would freak them out, but, no, whenever I “honk” it they come to see what’s up. Ann also found some lovely tambourines that she’s made “horse friendly” by padding the area where we hope the horse will pick them up. She also found some bells that you hold in your hand. Each is a different colour which relates to the 2×4 with the three coloured discs that I’ve been asking the horses to touch.

Brenda’s also been researching and is hot on the trail of a floor piano. These are a bit pricey so we’d like to see one in the flesh (so to speak) before shelling out big dough. We’re thinking that the horses will need to use their noses, not their hooves.

Telling our dream (O.K., MY dream) to fifty people in our arena just might get one of them thinking and helping!

The really good news is: Lauryn left Winsong Farm with a piece of paper outlining the construction of a 4 foot by 6 foot platform that is 10 inches high!