A couple of acts are returning to the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition (ENSE) after successful shows in past years.
The K-9 Hi-Flyers Agility Dog Show will be doing two performances on Saturday (Sept. 2 – 1:15 p.m. and 5 p.m.) while hypnotist Ian Stewart will be showcased during the exhibition’s opening (Wednesday, Aug. 30) night, at 8 p.m.
“This will be two years in succession and we did it once before, years ago, I couldn’t tell you exactly when,” Lisa Matthews, assistant manager for the dog show, said.
“We’ve always had a full house, or close to a full house, on any of the shows we do.”
Matthews noted there are, currenly, 13 or 14 dogs in the show and 15 handlers.
“Basically, they just give us a call and we practice when the weather gets nice because we don’t have an indoor facility,” she said of how the handlers and dogs have come to join their group.
“We’re 100 per cent non-profit, we don’t have money to put towards an indoor facility or access to one, so we practice outside in the manager’s backyard, so to speak. We just get together once or twice a week and for anyone who wants to join, they can give us a call or look us up on Facebook and we’ll tell you how to get to us, to show up for practices. And if you want to go to a show, we’ll tell you how to get there.”
She noted no breed of dog is denied.
“As long as the dog has basic obedience, we can work with them,” she said of her group which is based in Colchester County.
Matthews noted their shows are, roughly, an hour long but that their second one Saturday could run a little longer because it also involves horses.
“Depending on how many horse people we have who want to run with us,” she said of the horse and dog relay.
For that show, she noted, typically, the horse course is in a ‘u’ shape with the dog’s obstacle course more in the middle.
“So the horse does their thing, gets their time, and then our dog comes in and does its course which is, typically, set up in the middle,” she said.
“In our case, we’ve done a figure eight while the horses have their ‘u.’ They don’t run at the same time, but it’s timed and whomever has the fastest time is placed from first to how many participants there are.
“It’s 100 per cent fun; it’s not anything you could earn points for. I design our own ribbons and give those out. And if we receive enough donations, have enough funds saved, we’ll go and buy prizes … but it’s all just for fun.”
Matthews said their shows are for everybody and so is the group with handlers ranging from five-years-old – her son when he started – to 77, which is another family member – her grandmother.
She also talked about a member with diabetes who had troubling keeping up with their dog as it did the course.
“So we’re teaching them how to work with the dog away from them,” she said. “Basically, so they don’t have to move far while instructing the dog around the course. Our member has severe mobility issues so this is something we’re teaching her and her dog to do, so she can still participate.”
Hypnotist Stewart said this will be his first time back at the ENSE, “in a few years.”
“It has been busy,” he said of his spring/summer schedule.
“I just came back from doing a show in Germany; that was pretty fun, I had never been to Germany before, so that was really cool. Now I’m back in the Maritimes but I’m leaving to go to Chicago, just before your show, but I’ll be back the day before … in plenty of time to be there.”
Stewart was asked about a hypnotist’s show never being the same because it’s hard to predict how the volunteers will act out on stage.
“That’s completely accurate,” he said. “I know the framework of what is going to happen but that’s about it. I can’t tell you, on top of that, exactly how it’s going to go down.
“I know, roughly, what I’m going to do every show, but if I see a volunteer that looks particularly suited for something, I might vary from what my plan is. So, for the most part, I know roughly what routines I’m going to do, but you never know what people are going to take from the routine and do with it.”
Stewart said it’s usually younger folks who are willing to join him on stage but he would love to see more adults volunteer.
“It’s great when you can get the adults involved in it but, quite often, they’re a little shy and are happy to let the kids up to take part,” he said, noting no one under the age of 13 can volunteer.
“But I certainly love when the adults get up there and, really, the show is good for watching for any age.”
He talked about performing in an exhibition setting.
“I’ve performed it in pretty much every environment possible; I haven’t really found a bad environment for it yet,” Stewart said. “The exhibitions seem to go fine; I don’t really think about it.
“As long as I have a group of people there who want to have a good time, I’m going to give them one.”