Art Presentation to the Mounted Unit and Equestrian Demonstrations

This event is geared to “Accentuate the Positive with Horses in the City” and will take place in the indoor warm up ring at the Horse Palace. View Full Media Release here

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  • 044Ann Clifford who happily presented her Police Horse Appreciation Sculpture to Staff Inspector Bill Wardle of The Toronto Mounted Police Unit on behalf of the Community Association for Riding for Disabled.
  • 045“It was a joy organizing this adventure linking good people together and getting the Liberty Horses downtown!”
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  • 024These boys can MOVE! When we arrived at Horses in the City the police allowed the boys a few minutes to acquaint themselves with the arena.
  • 036Zelador jumping to retrieve an object, then jumping on his way back to give me the object. He is doing this in a new place with total focus on the game.
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  • 013For a horse to lie down exhibits tremendous trust. Here Zelador is not at home, safe in our arena. He decided to lie down right in front of the policemen and as close to them as he could get.
  • 014Someone mentioned to me after, that a few policemen commented that there was no way a horse would lie down in that atmosphere. I think Zelador read their minds and said, “Just watch ME.”
  • 016Zelador is getting his “Alice the Camel” costume placed on him.
  • 017Zelador and the rotating top pedestal. At an early age (four) Zelador was able to listen patiently to me and place one foot after the other on this pedestal.
  • 018 We slow down the rotation of the top so that when he places a hoof on it the top doesn’t move and frighten him.
  • 019His brother didn’t have this level of focus for many years. It wasn’t till Zeloso was eight-years-old that we cautiously introduced him to this game.
  • 020Now we have two rotating top pedestals and they perform the rotating in tandem.
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  • 023Here’s Ron Marino helping us with the boys. Ron’s an excellent horseman, always watching the horse and analyzing its body language. In this photo he’s helping Zeloso stay focused with all of the distractions of the new location. Ron cued Zeloso for a salute. Zeloso loves any game that involves raising his front leg (or legs).
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  • 027Here’s our hula hoop routine with Allen Kalpin playing “Catch a Falling Star”. We’ve learned that as we get older our ability to catch flying hoops is no longer a one-handed feat.
  • 028Out of necessity we loop the reins on the horse’s neck and use both hands to snag the hoops.
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  • 032When I think about it it’s quite amazing that Zelador and Zeloso can walk calmly in a new place with many distractions while we “Catch a Falling Star”.
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The day’s program went something like this:

1. Roll out the carpet:

Here we have Zelador with Winnie and Zeloso with Bill. This is the first time that the horses have rolled out the carpet under saddle. So, it should be interesting! Congratulations Zelador! It’s not easy to balance a rider and push something on the ground with your nose. Now it’s Zeloso’s turn. He’s been practicing the Spanish Walk. This high lift of the front legs was created centuries ago for War Horses to scare the soldiers on foot. Believe me, I’d get out of that horse’s way!

(If Zelador gets going too fast with the rolling I’ll circle him and come back on the carpet so he can continue rolling it. We help the horses do things. He enjoys rolling out the carpet and sometimes gets excited about it. Zeloso adores the Spanish Walk. Bill will circle him and re-establish the walk if Zeloso needs help with it.)

2. We’d like to introduce Allen Kalpin. He’s our musician playing the guitar and harmonica AND singing some very interesting versions of songs you’ll recognize. With him is Jorge on the drum. The horses love music and we love our musicians!

Now Winnie and Bill are getting in a few practice throws with the hula hoops while standing on the pedestals. As you can see, they’re tossing hula hoops and the boys (Zelador and Zeloso) are perfectly happy with all these goings on.

3. Jump Rope

Winnie and Bill are often asked, “How did you dream up these things to do with the horses?” The answers are as varied as the activities. The jump rope idea came out of the blue. Winnie and Bill tried using a long rope, but the rope was too wobbly and very hard to control. They got some sticks and attached the rope to it and things got a lot easier. The BIG challenge is to know WHEN the horse’s hind feet are CLEAR of the rope. So, could you help us? Winnie and Zelador are going first. Please help me say “Clear” when the rope is safely behind Zelador’s back feet. Let’s practice together BEFORE they do it. Good, now, here they go!

Now it’s Bill and Zeloso’s turn. Bill prefers the word “NOW”. Let’s do a practice run for Zeloso. On my count of “three” let’s say “now”. Good, here we go. Let’s call out “NOW” when Zeloso’s back feet are safe.

4. Mail Box

That’s enough riding! We’ll remove the saddles and show you some of the games the horses love to play. While that’s happening I’ll tell you a little bit about these two horses. They are Lusitanos. The breed originated in Portugal. The boys were born in 2004. Zelador celebrated his birthday March 16 and Zeloso turns eight years old June 30. You might wonder why the horses have names that start with the letter Zed. With Lusitanos each year is assigned a letter of the alphabet. 2004 was the Zed year and the boys were named by their breeder. Winnie often says, “Perhaps I should have waited till 2005. It was the ‘A’ year. Maybe their names would have been easier to pronounce!”

The word Zelador means “caretaker” and the word Zeloso means “zealous defender”.

Ah, the horses are ready. We’ll spend a few minutes with Zelador. First of all, Winnie, it looks like the flag is up on the mail box. We forgot to check it today. Could Zelador fetch the mail for us?

5. Last year Winnie and Bill learned about a horse that was alive over 120 years ago. He was named the Beautiful Jim Key. Legend has it that the Beautiful Jim Key could read and write. Winnie was wondering if Zelador could learn some of these things. She started with the saying that the Beautiful Jim Key made popular, “Be Kind to Animals”. As you can see, we’ve hung this sign on the arena wall.

(Zelador goes to the sign.)

Zelador certainly enjoys that sign. The next thing Winnie tried was: can Zelador tell the difference between objects. Here she is with the bunny and the ball. If Zelador picks up the one she doesn’t ask for, she’ll help him find the one she wants. Winnie accentuates the positive. She tries to eliminate the negative. You and I also like to learn new things in a positive environment.

Well, Zelador can tell the difference! Next step was writing words that he hears often. Winnie is holding up two cards: the Winnie card and the Zelador card. She’ll ask the horse to pick up one of the cards.

6. Now we’ll see Zelador playing some of his favourite games. No problem if he doesn’t get something exactly right. Winnie will help him. And, the interesting thing about allowing Zelador the freedom to do things is he often dreams up some really interesting variations. Here we go: First, Winnie throws a toy over a low jump. Zelador jumps, fetches the toy and jumps again when he retrieves the toy and gives it to Winnie. A second favourite is lying.

Now for a special treat. Zelador can do the piaffe at liberty. The piaffe is a trot that is almost on the spot. You’ll see this performed at the Olympics in London, England this summer.

7. It’s Zeloso’s turn to play. He loves travelling at liberty.

8. Now both boys will work at liberty. You can see that we’ve positioned people across the arena to limit the area of play. We have a short time to present things today so a smaller area helps us keep on schedule.

9. That was fun! As I mentioned earlier, horses enjoy music. We’ll start with Zelador. He loves his piano lessons. Bill made a horse-sensitive piano. You might be able to see that one of the notes has a strange looking disc on it. Well, half of a disc. Zeloso got a bit over zealous and removed part of it!

Winnie’s thinking that in the future the boys will learn the first few notes of several songs and everyone can play “Name that TUNE!” Right now Zelador will play the first three notes of a nursery rhyme. Can you figure out what it is? You guessed it! “Three Blind Mice.” The piano notes are: middle C, D and E. Zelador just played E, D and C. These are the first three notes in “Three Blind Mice”. If you get a moment, sit down at a piano and see how many nursery rhymes you can come up with that use these three notes.

It’s Zeloso’s turn. He’s going to the other piano to pick out a note for Allen to tune his guitar.

10. The boys love it when people laugh and when people join in and sing along. In preparation for the songs, the boys learn movements. For example: here’s Zelador demonstrating some of the moves for the Hokey Pokey. (raise your knee, big smile, move your tail, tongue)

Now Zelador and Zeloso are going to get into costume! This is the first time ever that they’ve done this song. We’ll turn the program over to Allen and Jorge. Allen will teach you the first song we’re going to sing, “Alice the Camel”.

11. Are you ready! Here’s the debut of “Alice the Camel”!!!! This song starts with Alice the Camel having five humps. In the next verse she has four humps. Finally she has no humps and “Alice is a HORSE”. The costume being worn goes over the horse’s back. On each side of the horse you’ll see the words “Alice the Camel”. On the horse’s back there are three balloons along the spine. Allen taught and sang the first two verses with the audience (five humps and four humps) while the costumes were being put on Zelador and Zeloso. For the remaining humps (three humps, two humps and one hump) a balloon was popped at the appropriate time. For the final verse the costume was removed and there was the horse.

12. And, this is the debut for the Hokey Pokey. The verses are: Put your head in. Put your tongue in. Put your foot in.

13. The last song is an old favourite of Z and Z. It’s “When You’re Happy and You Know It”. The verses are: When You’re Happy and You know it Hit the Ball, Catch the towel, Big Smile and Salute

14. Thank you for helping us today. The boys loved being here with you!!! (Zelador and Zeloso are on the pedestals and push the EASY button. They step off the pedestals and bow.)

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