I’ve been working on “toss the toy” and the boys are getting the toys further and further from them, however, they’re landing a mere twelve inches away. I was thinking it’d be great fun if the toy flew into the audience. Then I thought, “Perhaps a ping pong paddle held in the horse’s mouth with me tossing a ball to it…hitting the paddle…then the ball would sail into the audience?” I went to Walmart yesterday and found a ping pong paddle. The more I studied the size of the paddle the more I realized I probably needed something a bit larger to throw at. I also bought a light-weight badminton racket.

I purchased two types of balls: ping pong balls and foam golf balls. Both are yellow so we should be able to find them. The paddle and racket are light-weight so the boys shouldn’t have trouble holding either one in their mouths. When Bill got home from work he rolled his eyes when I showed him my purchases. I opened the wrapping for the two types of balls and started batting them. Within seconds Check was under foot, leaping about and almost catching the small yellow balls!

Later that night when a commercial came on the TV I practiced tossing the balls to the rackets (Bill was sitting in his chair holding them). When I tossed softly, sort of lofting the ball towards the paddle, I missed! But when I put some speed into the toss I hit the paddle or racket over 90% of the time. Of course Bill was sitting and almost cooperating. A horse on a pedestal with the object in its mouth could be another challenge altogether! I’m guessing we’ll be creating a very large, light-weight paddle for the horse to hold. Just might need a bigger target!

The day dawned chilly and cloudy. I placed the special cloth bag containing the balls and rackets in the car (along with the horses’ breakfasts) and headed to the barn. I am very pleased (and a bit astonished) to announce that both horses were able to hold each racket and I was able to get both types of balls to land on the correct spot. Twice Zeloso dropped the paddle as I was throwing the ball. The ball went through his front legs and landed behind the pedestal. Zelador, on the other hand, thought it was high time for him to show me he could “toss” something. Turns out he is an expert at tossing the badminton racket and the ping pong paddle.

I haven’t quite communicated to the boys that it’d be just great if they’d stand STILL and not wiggle the racket. Zeloso moves his head all over the place! The good news is: three or four times he stood quietly for one second. I was able to launch the ball and hit the target. He continued to stay still. Amazing…

I was finally able to encourage each horse to “hold it” long enough for me to throw a ball. They both prefer the badminton racket because the strings on it create a softer sound when the ball hits. The ping pong paddle makes a sharper sound upon impact.

When I purchased the rackets and balls I also bought a CD with children’s songs. One is a hoot! It’s “Alice the camel has five humps.” The song changes with each verse, taking away one hump each time. The final verse is “Alice the camel has no humps, Alice is a horse.” Well, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture our next fundraiser and one horse appearing with a blanket on its back, sporting five humps (which can be removed easily and quickly)!