Sunday was our house concert with Marie-Lynn Hammond, accompanied by Tom Leighton on piano and accordion and David Woodhead on bass and guitar. Marie-Lynn is well known in the roots and folk world for her song writing, and because she’s also a passionate horse lover and rider, she’s written a dozen original songs about horses. More than 30 people enjoyed an afternoon of music in our living room. Marie-Lynn debuted her song about Reckless, the horse in the Korean War, who in one battle made 51 trips to and from the front lines, most of them without escort…and the battle location kept changing. What a horse! Watch this short video about this brave little mare. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

Marie-Lynn presented her songs with a look into their history. One song is about the Sharon Temple. I’ve driven past this historic building many times travelling north of Newmarket on Yonge Street. It was very interesting to hear about the religious group that created it. Another song, the humorous “In the Land of One Hand,” was written this year, inspired by her breaking her wrist! She referred to this mishap as “the Canadian winter pastime of falling on ice.”

House concert with Marie-Lynn Hammond, Tom Leighton and David Woodhead. Photos by Ann Clifford

One song started as a poem that was written many years ago by a member of the audience. It was about two old white horses his family had rescued from slaughter. He’d sent Marie-Lynn this poem after hearing one of her horse songs when she was interviewed on CBC radio. She was so taken by it that she contacted the author and asked for permission to transform it into a song. It’s lovely.

“Emily Flies” tells us about a girl who can’t walk without apparatus. She doesn’t speak words. But when she’s up on the horse at a therapeutic riding stable, she flies.

Lauren Bode donated her animal communication readings from photos to the musicians. During the first half of the program our vizsla, Check, was upstairs behind a closed door (in a room containing his favourite bed with sunshine streaming in). During the intermission and the second half of the concert he joined the people. AND where do you think he ended up? Yep, with Lauren, cuddled beside her on the couch, head on her lap.

Afterwards we walked to the arena. Ron Marino presented Pax, the Canadian. At the Concert Marie-Lynn had sung her song about this breed so it was a treat for the audience to see this gorgeous black horse. Next up were Zelador and Zeloso, our Lusitanos, whom we’ve been teaching a variety of games. I’d worked with both boys in the morning to “take the edge off”, then they’d enjoyed a long day outside. You’d think they’d be mellow…

Zeloso was thrilled to see the people. He wanted to canter and canter and canter. Zelador went up to the crowd and let everyone pet him and tell him he’s beautiful.

We brought out the rotating top pedestal and I was just calling Zelador to it when Zeloso (who was on a lead line, standing on the south pedestal) broke away from Bill! He came, dragging his lead line, to step up on the pedestal. We removed the line and he positioned his foot near the centre. I helped him place the second front hoof beside it. He was able to go a few steps with his hind feet to each side. Zeloso is just learning this trick. Up till now he’s been a bit too flamboyant and I didn’t want him accidentally hurting himself. We reattached the lead line and took him back to his pedestal. Now it was Zelador’s turn. He got up there and started turning and turning! I had to stop him. Talk about showing off!

We debuted “Playing Baseball.” Zelador decided the preferred way to hold the big green plastic bat was at the thick part. One thing about working with Zelador…you learn to roll with the punches. Somehow I was able to hit the bat with the ball (WHEW!), get the bat out of his mouth and set him off to round the bases. Ron Marino scooped up the ball before Zelador landed on home plate.

Zelador and Zeloso asked the audience to help with singing “When You’re Happy and You Know It” and “The Hokey Pokey”. This is the first time they’ve performed “The Hokey Pokey”. Zeloso was a star with the verses about putting a leg “in”. Zelador’s “tongue in” and “shake” were charming. He’s almost to the point where he will shake his head when he hears the word sung.
The last note was Zelador playing his version of “Three Blind Mice” on the horse piano constructed by Bill. Talk about a musical afternoon!