We’ve been practicing for the October 25th Get-Together. We’ve placed a radio/CD/tape player on a chair, just across our barrier that will separate the audience from the horse. This allows easy access to the machine so we can start, stop and rewind the tapes quicky. (Yep, we’re using tapes to practice each act. In the show the music is on CDs and they are being operated from the tack room in the barn which is WAY too awkward for practices.)

I’m usually in charge of the machine. That means I get off Zelador, lead him to it, push the button, lead him to the mounting block, get on and scurry into position. I didn’t allow enough lead time (blank space) at the beginning of the songs so we’re usually starting a few seconds into the music. Well, it didn’t take long for Zelador to figure out what I was doing. Two days ago he was loose, wandering around, checking things out. At one point he looked at me, walked to the barrier, stuck his head over, touched the machine and looked at me, again…letting me know that he knew how things were supposed to work.

What a smarty!

Yesterday Ron was on Kye (the Quarter Horse/Appaloosa) and Bill was on Zeloso. They were practicing the various obstacles set out for Working Equitation/Wind Rider. I took Zelador down to the lower barn to see Dr. Leo, the chiropractor. You see… when Zelador and Zeloso were doing their liberty routine (circling around me, one going clockwise, the other counter-clockwise) Zeloso took aim at his brother and crashed his chest into him. Dr. Leo found a few minor things in Zelador’s neck, shoulder and hip that needed adjustment, whereas Zeloso was fine!

When Bill and Ron brought the horses to join us in the lower barn they told us about Kye occasionally having problems approaching the obstacles. When Ron repeatedly ran into the problem they switched horses and Bill worked with Kye. Within minutes the pattern was obvious. When the obstacle was on Kye’s left side, he did just great! But, when the obstacle was on his right side, it was impossible to do. Ah, ha! Perhaps the vision in Kye’s right eye isn’t very good. Next visit from the vet nineteen-year-old Kye’s eyes are being examined.

Today Ron and Bill and I will be practicing the pas de trois. I plan on putting this gathering of horsepeople to good use. I’m going to see if they can help with the liberty routine. I envision each man leading one of the Lusitanos as I direct them around me and through some patterns. We’ll see if the horses can make the gentle ‘leap’ from being led to doing things POLITELY on their own.

The hula-hoop act is evolving nicely. Currently we’re practicing throwing one hoop from at least five metres away. Yesterday we did this for the first time and, surprisingly, did NOT drop the thing. Ron was watching us and said that it looked like the hoop hung in the air for a split second.

At the end of the routine Bill and I are in a tight circle, each of us holding onto the same hoop. He lets go and I toss it over him… or not. Yesterday I missed twice. The good news is: I have three hoops around my waist. Hopefully I’ll never need four tosses!