Although she was a capable rider, she was very timid and chose to enter with somebody leading her pony. As she was small of stature her pony, Candy, wasn’t very big, which meant as we trained she could easily lip-read – a necessity, as she was hard of hearing.
She was a super little rider at the walk and trot so we were fortunate to have a ‘test’ to teach her which was not too demanding.
Week after week we practiced until we were foot perfect…synchronised, and Carol no longer needed any instructions from me. Finally, our dress code was co-ordinated. I would don my felt ‘showing’ hat, and the whole thing would be complete. Candy’s tack would shine like new, and our leather lead rein would glisten in the autumn sun-light as we daintily made our way around the designated area.
An extra special final lesson the night preceding our departure was organised. All was going smoothly, until to my complete and utter horror…idiot, idiot, idiot that I was….I realised that I had taught Carol the wrong test! I tried not to let the panic show in my face, as I uttered in subdued tones to my husband what I had just discovered. “I’ve taught Carol the wrong test”.
“What”, snapped Carol, from a distance of 10 metres. “The wrong test”? Oh no, she’d just lip-read the conversation!
Naturally, I reassured Carol that I would learn the new test overnight and all would be well. Honestly. And pale-faced and anxious she was taken home. My insides were knotted knowing that through my negligence Carol was now worrying about her big day. And so was I!
The competition site was set on a wet and very windy hill-side. The rules dictated that the lead-rein had to stay reasonably slack, our shoulders parallel and we were both to look forward all the time. The rules dictated that she learn the test off by heart, with no prompts from me….ahem. But, I had to rely on her hearing me…. ahem. So, this was my first shot at being a ventriloquist.
“Gork on”, I try, hoping that that would be just loud enough for Carol to hear and she would nudge Candy into the gork/walk as I had indicated, whilst not loud enough for the judges to hear. I tried then with my body to suggest that Candy turned to the right and then I proferred “ And chwot”… ‘trot’. And later we had “shirkles” and “shtand”. And a final “shalute”. Well, no glaring faults. Carol was smiling.
What a surprise to be given a ‘shecond” prize!