Bill and I put the long weekend to good use, practicing for the fundraiser May first. We’re doing three things unde rsaddle with Zelador and Zeloso: popping a balloon, an umbrella routine and throwing hula-hoops.

Saturday we were discussing the exact order we’d ride these three in. Allen Kalpin will be accompanying us with the guitar (he’ll also sing some interesting NEW words to old, familiar tunes).

Bill was on Zeloso, Zelador was tacked up and free in the arena. I was setting out the umbrellas on the pedestals. The balloons were in place and earlier I’d noticed out of the corner of my eye that Bill had eight hula-hoops in hand.

We rode the horses to the balloons and experienced exceptionally LOUD POPS! But the boys were unconcerned and paid no heed to the noise. I’d hung the two umbrellas we would be carrying on the kickboards. At one point we exchange umbrellas so we’re carrying two different coloured ones so that the audience will notice when we switch. Bill starts the routine with the red and white one while I have the rainbow umbrella.

During the Friday practice Ann Clifford was watching. Bill and I were having an exceptionally challenging time passing the umbrellas between us. Our plan was to travel side by side down the centerline and split (Bill going south and me going north) when we reached the audience. I am the one who drops the reins so I can have both hands free, one to take Bill’s umbrella and the other to hand him mine. Well, Zelador took advantage of his new-found freedom. Try as we might, we could not go down the centerline and exchange umbrellas. Zelador zigged; he zagged. He moved away from his brother, leaving me reaching really far to try to exchange umbrellas.

For some reason I noticed Ann. Her face was bright red. She was laughing so hard she was about to cry. The good news: she was able to remain silent during our obviously hysterical practice.

Back to Saturday: We finished the umbrella routine. We can now exchange the things flawlessly. We still go down the centerline, but now we both turn to the right. That puts Zelador along the railing that barricades the audience, then he’s along the wall. He’s neatly hemmed in by Zeloso. This works just fine.

I dismounted and rounded up the umbrellas. I called out to Bill, “Where are the hula-hoops you set out?” He said, “Look at Zelador.” Well, wouldn’t you know…I had left Zelador near one of the pedestals and he’d accompanied me while I picked up the six umbrellas. Now he was standing with his nose an inch away from the eight hoops Bill had placed at the edge of the audience barricade. Bill added, “He knows exactly what we’re doing next!”