Sue and Zelador “discussing” life.

Sue and Zelador “discussing” life.

Our second fundraiser for Silver Willow Farm Rescue brought the total raised to around $1,500. Turns out a monthly hay bill for Silver Willow in the winter is $2,800.

Moving right along…

For the first time ever we had a loose horse galloping around the arena while another horse was attempting to perform at liberty inside the arena. Pax was inside trying really hard to listen to his owner, Ron. Zelador was NOT patiently waiting for his appearance in the next act. I was in the arena so I wasn’t part of the round-up. Once they got their hands on Zelador, I told them to place him in a stall in the upper barn which is attached to the arena. I figured if he escaped once he’d be more than happy to escape again. (A note on the weather: it was windy AND spring time. However, that’s no excuse for an 11-year-old horse to act like a youngster, but just might put Zelador’s high-jinks into perspective.)

I was standing near the arena door when Sue came up the driveway with Zelador’s tack. After the next act when he would be performing at liberty he had an act to rest, then was to appear under tack for the final act. She suggested it might be easier to return him to the stall in the upper barn and tack him up there as opposed to leading him back to the lower barn, which is about 80 metres from the arena. I agreed.

Even though I was concentrating on what Ron and Pax were doing I think I heard Zelador calling once or twice from the strange stall.

Pax exited the arena and Zelador entered.

He stood up on his pedestal and I asked him, “Are you all right?” He looked me in the eye and appeared calm.

He proceeded to do the BEST he’s has ever done in his life. He was superb at fetching the mail and delivering it. He jumped, retrieved, jumped and returned to his pedestal. He caught the towel. He held the badminton racket and hit the tiny soft balls. He went up on the rotating top pedestal, placing his hooves in the centre with incredible accuracy and rotated 360 degrees to the right, then to the left. He could not have done anything better. He did not put a hoof wrong.

It was time for him to leave. I needed to stay in the arena and handed him to Sue. I told her, “Take him back to the lower barn. Tack him up there. He did such an incredible job here. If we put him in a stall in the upper barn he’ll think he’s being punished.” She led our little runaway back to his stall in the lower barn.

Dominique Maida on Zeloso, Winnie on Zelador, waiting for the cue to start their garrocha pole routine to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”.

Dominique Maida on Zeloso, Winnie on Zelador, waiting for the cue to start their garrocha pole routine to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”.

Another act featured Trooper, our vizsla, contesting with Spring Song in “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better”. Usually Cassie and her fabulous Border Collie, “K-8” are in this act, but Sunday Cassie was at dog tests so substituted Trooper. He performed once before in a fundraiser and even though the weather leading up to Sunday was cold, windy and wet we did get him and Spring Song to the arena for a practice. Everything went well. The day of the show Trooper had a wonderful time! He explored every inch of the arena even though I was hoping he’d retrieve his favourite toy. Bill later explained that between the practice session and the event the arena footing had been turned over releasing/exposing some delightful smells for the almost three-year-old vizsla to check out. Trooper disappeared into the audience and made some friends. Bill fetched him for me while Spring Song took in all these shenanigans while standing politely on her pedestal.

Trooper DID do quite a few of the challenges really well. He went through the tunnel, then jumped it. He jumped through a hula-hoop from one mini-tramp to the other. He pushed the big ball which is taller than he is. All in all, he did a good job. But that good job will not be first thing that comes to mind when audience members think about Trooper. What they’ll remember is that sweet vizsla having the time of his life zooming around the arena and meeting new friends.

Before Trooper joined her Spring Song played with me in the arena. Her music was “Ho! Hey!” by the Lumineers. Spring Song did everything at liberty. She followed me when I asked her to. She went over the bridge. She walked and trotted around me, changed direction and came in when asked. She performed over a dozen lovely steps of the Spanish Walk. She’s a joy to play with. She’s always attentive and eager to please. She loves doing things with me.

The grand finale of the show was the three horses sitting: Pax, Zelador and Zeloso. They’ve got this routine down pat. Just get out of their way. They know it’s time to SIT. Bill and I take the boys out of the arena and leave Pax and Ron to prepare the audience for THE REAR. Ron asks everyone to help Pax by yelling, “UP!!!!” on the count of three. Usually the audience needs a few trial runs before Pax flicks an ear in their direction. From Pax’s point of view getting up on those hind legs takes effort and he’d like the audience to match his expenditure of energy.

In the next few days I should be receiving a few more photos of the fundraiser from Ellen Cameron. There’s one that we’ve been told in advance that we cannot show! Ellen got a photo of Zelador disappearing in the distance with his handler standing there with outstretched arms.