Sunday, 22 April 2012

Spring Demo Tour with Hannah Dawson Equine

Casper and I have recently done three little shows as part of Hannah Dawson Equine's Spring Demo Tour.  We visited three venues in Yorkshire and Northumberland, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!  Hannah did an informative display using her two horses, Toby and India, all about clicker training and the benefits of positive reinforcement techniques.  Galloping Acrobatics were then the 'Special Guests', and Casper and I took to the floor to perform one of our shows.  Here's what happened!

Richmond Equestrian Centre - Tuesday 27th March
The first demo was the most local one to me, so there were quite a few people in the audience that I knew - no pressure then!  Having arrived and given Casper a run through we waited backstage for our turn.  Finally the music came on and we were in!  Despite a slightly iffy first circle or so where Casper was busy looking at himself in the mirror, he settled brilliantly and did a fantastic show.  He chased me like a superstar and did the biggest rear yet!  The show ran exactly to plan and I was so pleased with Casper - he's never gone better!

Pegasus Equestrian Center, Morpeth - Monday 2nd April
The second demo was quite a way away, and unfortunately the weather was miserable.  I was warming up (if you can call it that!) in the freezing rain for what seemed like hours, and couldn't wait to get started.  Thankfully once we got in and got going Casper and I soon both thawed out and dried off, and the show went perfectly!  The only thing we messed up on was Casper's catch, and it was entirely my fault - I threw my cardigan right past his face so even though he tried to catch it he couldn't help but miss it!  I do throw like a proper girl... 

Ledston Equine Centre - Thursday 5th April
Our third and final venue was at Ledson Equine Centre, and we had the biggest audience yet.  Once again I was warming up outside but this time with no lights!  Luckily it was a very bright full moon and riding Casper was just beautiful - I was feeling really privileged and confident.  However, just as we were about to go in Casper saw something (I have no idea what - a horse savaging rabbit perhaps?) which really frightened himHe then proceeded to stamp about snorting and being ridiculous, to the point where I didn't think I'd even get him in the arena!  Hey ho, on came the music and on with the show.  He did two circles being a bit silly but then settled down as if nothing had happened!  Unfortunately the music also went wrong, being either non-existent or horribly jumpy.  That makes life quite difficult when your entire performance is strictly choreographed!  Thankfully the last track played through so we were able to finish on a high - PHEW!

Doing the demos was lots of fun, I met many lovely enthusiastic people and Casper was an absolute pleasure the entire time (bar about ten minutes at Ledston!).  Big thank you's to Hannah, Rachel and Willie - and of course the lovely Helen, who not only helped Hannah throughout but was a brilliant commentator and helper to me.  Hannah has put together a little video of the demos, it's mostly of the clicker work but there's a bit of Casper and me at the very start and the very end - enjoy!

The shows were brilliant to get Casper out and about again, and for him to perform in front of an audience which he hasn't done since last summer.  I now can't wait for the show season to start!  Our first show is a bit of a special one, it's at a friend's wedding and we've put together a special two horse show.  It'll have skipping horses, dances, roman riding, vaulting and all sorts thrown in!  I'll let you know how it all goes!