This past weekend was really busy with the rehearsal on Saturday and the Fundraiser on Sunday. All the people and horses did great. Soon we’ll have photos and video to share. Here are a few thoughts about the weekend:

-one friend said today, “How did Zeloso know which card was the ‘Winnie’ card?” Good question. One possibility is he’s learned over a period of time that when I say, “Find the ‘Winnie’ card” he gets praised when he touches the card with ‘Winnie’ written on it. Of course horses are very observant and he figures out that the ‘Winnie’ card looks different from the ‘Zeloso’ card.

-my friend also commented, “It was amazing to see the horses with no halters standing quietly on their pedestals. Children don’t do that.” The boys have enjoyed chilling out on their pedestals for over six years. I’m sort of used to it.

-On Saturday both boys got up and rotated on their own rotating top pedestals simultaneously. Sunday Zelador went up, but his hoof was on the near side so he was not able to rotate. He stepped down and went up again. Same hoof position. Down again. That’s when I realized he wanted Sue to step forward and do this with him. I called to her and she worked with Zelador. I moved over to Zeloso and Bill. Zeloso was having problems getting up on his rotating top pedestal. He had created a new game: raise a hoof, hover it over the pedestal, then ask for a treat. I said, ‘Hi’ to him. Gave him a treat and asked him to step up. He did. His hoof wasn’t in the best spot, but he rotated a few steps. I asked him to step down and try again. This time he placed his hoof perfectly, leaving plenty of room for the second hoof. He stood there, balanced. Out of the corner of my eye I saw that Zelador was nicely positioned on top of his rotating top pedestal. Both boys commenced rotating.

-Our MC on Sunday, Kenneth Hodges, was very pleased with our work in-hand. I asked Zelador to piaffe with his body parallel to the audience. Usually we do this along the north wall, but that location isn’t visible for most of the audience. The music was Zelador’s favourite, Celine Dion’s “I’m Alive”. The audience clapped to the rhythm and Zelador performed. He really likes it when the people get involved.

-Our hula-hoop routine is getting a bit wilder. Bill’s winging those hoops through the air and I’m leaning, reaching, ducking as I’m catching it. I was a little concerned that the cold temperatures on the weekend would freeze my fingers. When that happens the hoops bounce out of my hand before I can close my fingers around them. Another wild part is Bill is throwing the hoops while we’re walking or trotting and he is not trying to position the hoop so I can catch it. He’s trying to have the hoop land around my head, then settle down over my body. When he’s successful it’s quite dramatic.

-We asked the audience to play Name That Tune. Zeloso played three notes: E, D and middle C. He did this twice. Probably did the best he’s ever done. Someone guessed: Three Blind Mice. Yes!!!!

-Zelador is very proud of his lie down with him rising off the ground into a sit which he holds forever! So proud that he canters to the lie down spot!

-Zelador absolutely nailed the leave the pedestal/jump/retrieve/jump/back to the pedestal. He did it flawlessly and with tons of enthusiasm both days. None of this was lost on Zeloso who was with Bill on his pedestal. Monday I set up the retrieve over the jump for Zeloso, knowing full well that he loves throwing in creative bursts. Much to my surprise he did it perfectly. He received lots of praise and I put the jump away. No need to open the creative door!

Today my vet and her assistant were here for teeth, worming, etc. To set the scene: Zelador is in his stall. On the wall, in chalk, there’s his name in big letters. On another wall there are the numbers, 0 to 9, also big and easy to see. At one point we were doing something with Zelador and my vet felt he might have trouble standing quietly. I asked if having stud muffins to feed him would help. She thought that was a great idea. I fetched four stud muffins. (It’s important to note that Zelador might receive a small portion of a stud muffin once every three months. And he LOVES stud muffins.) I stood at his head and gave a muffin when my vet told me to. We were done and she said, “He can have another one.” Well, I had to fetch it. As I was getting the stud muffin the assistant said, “Zelador just went to the number 5 on his wall and touched it. He wants the fifth muffin.” And, he got it.