We had a Halloween theme for this autumn’s fundraiser. Here are two of the horses in their costumes. Spring Song went as a Night Mare. Kye became a Rocking Horse. Not shown are Zeloso as a “Smart Ass” and Zelador as a “Clothes Horse”.
Act one: The show started with Kye rolling out the carpet, pushing the big ball that was decorated to look like a pumpkin, blowing bubbles and strolling around at liberty. Winnie’s costume included a sign on her shirt: “I teach horses to eat treats”.
Act two: The second act’s music was provided by Allen Kalpin. He played the guitar and sang his original words to, “O, Lord, won’t you buy me a clicker-trained horse.” Spring Song, the Night Mare, worked at liberty doing the Spanish Walk, retrieving toys, stepping in the middle of a tub and rotating on the rotating top pedestal. She was able to do this with no halter or lead line. This is the only horse at Winsong Farm who was able to learn this movement totally at liberty. She is super soft with people and equipment and she pays close attention to what she’s being asked to do.
Act three: Marie-Lynn Hammond was the show’s MC. She sang “The Naughty Pony”, an audience participation song that she wrote.
Act four: Bill Stott and Allen Kalpin introduced a routine, “The Invisible Horse”. Here’s a snippet of the act:
Bill enters the arena holding onto a horse’s halter.
The MC goes to Bill and asks, “Where’s your horse.”
Bill says, “Phantom is right here.”
During their conversation Bill discusses the attributes of the invisible horse: easy to groom, no vet bills, no problems cleaning the stall and no monthly board bills.
The MC asks, “What’s not so great.”
Bill points out, “As you know, horses love to play games. This horse is always sneaking off and hiding. I can’t find him! Gotta keep my hands on him or he vanishes.”
Allen comes in leading a REALLY tall invisible horse. The horse gets too close to Phantom and there’s a bit of a ruckus. The MC finds out the name of horse number two, Ghost.
The MC comments, “Until today I’ve never met an invisible horse, now there are two. Is this a breed?”
Allen says, “OH, Yes. I researched it carefully. These horses are non-allergenic, come in every possible colour, love people, can jump, do dressage, pull carriages, you name it.”
The MC says, “Yours appears to be quite tall. Is that a problem?”
“It is challenging to get on him. I taught him to lie down so that I can get on his back easily. I’ll show you.” He asks the horse to lie down, gets on him, waves to the audience from the horse’s back, then dismounts.
The MC says, “Well, it’s amazing and an honour to have these gorgeous specimens here today. Is there a chance that you could show us what these horses can do?” The men huddle together while trying to keep their invisible horses calm. The men turn to their horses and ask them if they’d like to perform. The answer, “Yes.”
To see the entire routine you need to come to one of our fundraisers!
Act five: Zelador, the Clothes Horse, fetched the mail, selected the envelope I asked for and delivered it across the arena to the correct person. He sat on the bean bag, did the rotating top pedestal and retrieved the toy over a jump. A new game is: Zelador is on his pedestal and I ask him to “not look, no cheating!” I walk around with the Mickey Mouse toy hidden behind me. I walk in and out among the other two pedestals and sneakily hide Mickey Mouse from Zelador. I return to him and say, “Where’s Mickey Mouse?” And, wouldn’t you know, he finds it!
Act six: Marie-Lynn sang the song she wrote about Canada’s National Horse, the Canadian.
Act seven: Cassie Levy presented her dog, K-8. This Border Collie is amazing. I can’t possibly list the many tricks and games she excels at.
Act eight: Bill and I jumped rope while riding the horses. This was Zeloso’s first appearance in the arena. He had on a quarter sheet with the words, “Smart Ass” across his rump. Sure enough he did not disappoint! When it was his turn to walk the length of the arena while Bill handled the jump rope Zeloso took off at a trot and successfully got two swings of the rope in before the quarter sheet and jump rope got tangled up. IF Zeloso had walked (like his brother did) there would have been no problem, but the costume really “said it all”.
We followed the jump rope with our Hula Hoop routine. The music we ride to is Perry Como’s “Catch a Falling Star”. A helper hands us four hoops. We put them around our waists and hope that we don’t drop all of them during the routine! We toss the hoops at a walk and a trot as we approach each other. We try to get one toss when we’re really far apart (without hitting the arena ceiling). At one point Bill follows me and I toss it over my head back to him and then he tosses it forward to me. One movement the horses love is when Bill and I are both holding the same hoop which is horizontal to the ground. I stop and Bill and Zeloso do a very tight turn under the hoop, then he stops and Zelador and I do the turn. We finish the routine facing the audience. We’re not side by side. We’re probably ten feet apart. I start tossing one hoop after another towards Bill, above his head with the hope that it’ll land around his waist. For this particular show I had four hoops and four ringers! My best ever.
Act nine: “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”. Dominique Maida rides Zeloso and I ride Zelador. We have 12’ long garrocha poles and perform a series of movements with them. The final movement is the Spanish Walk from the far end of the arena onto the pedestals near the audience. While Dominique and I were outside waiting for our act we talked about the movements. We repeated the sequence several times until we were pretty sure we wouldn’t forget anything. Turns out we were spot on, but the horses had a few choreographic changes. You see, Zelador and Zeloso LOVE the Spanish Walk. Those two Lusitanos had listened carefully while Dominique and I discussed the routine. They heard “Spanish Walk” several times and that’s what they proceeded to do. Zeloso threw in the Spanish Walk when he was walking the length of the teeter-totter (pretty impressive, actually). He added it when he was doing a tight circle around the garrocha pole. He substituted it for the canter AND when it was finally time to DO the Spanish Walk to the pedestal he nailed it
Act ten: Ron Marino and his Canadian, Pax, wrapped up the show. Pax sits on the bean bag, he pushes the big ball (pumpkin), he fetches a toy AND he does a spectacular rear on command.
Special Note: Our arena had eight pumpkins strategically placed. Turns out horses really LIKE pumpkins and being at liberty makes for great fun and a snack or two. Kye tried to eat the stalk on one. Spring Song got a bite out of another. In fact when she was performing she was able to bite into the sides of a 10” round pumpkin and carry it. In order to help her focus on things I wanted her to do we placed the remaining three pumpkins that were on top of the tall pedestal onto the floor. When Zelador spotted the pumpkins near the tall pedestal I knew we were doomed. You know, I really can’t remember what he tried to do with them, but it was obvious that they needed to be removed and placed out of sight.