I introduced Zelador to bubble blowing in his stall. When he first saw bubbles a few years ago he turned and left me. He went to the far side of the stall and put his head to the wall. He was genuinely frightened, but trying ever so hard to control his fear and not become dangerous to me. When I approached him he made sure I couldn’t get near his head. I figured that he was not amused when the bubbles defied gravity and floated above the ground with many of them going upwards. I was quite surprised at his response. Zelador is incredibly brave and he is very proud of this trait. All the other horses in the barn stood quietly when I placed the wand in the best position to receive the air flow from the nostril. Zelador had spun and left me. Unbelievable.
Time passed. I learned that blowing at the liquid in the wand was way too difficult for Zelador. To facilitate his learning I blew at the wand, created many bubbles and caught one on the wand. I presented the wand with the bubble to Zelador. He was able to blow the bubble off the wand. All of this was done with a halter on his head. I held onto it to help him stay with me during this bubble-blowing business (or was it “torture”?). More time passed. Every once in a while Zelador didn’t need to have a bubble sitting on the wand. He could create a bubble by blowing at the liquid in the wand. He also learned that the bubbles weren’t life-threatening. He no longer needed to wear his halter for this game.
A month or so ago he got very good at blowing and creating bubbles. However, occasionally I could see him blowing, but no bubbles appeared. I’m guessing that I didn’t have the wand in the correct spot. A few days ago I noticed that when I placed the wand in what I hoped was the correct position he actually moved his nose ever so slowly, placing it against one of my fingers on the hand holding the wand. When Zelador had everything precisely lined up he exhaled softly. With little effort on his part the bubbles streamed down and away from his nostril. On subsequent days I noticed that Zelador did this two more times. Hmmm…Today I positioned my hand so that a finger rested against his nostril. He blew a stream of bubbles! What a guy! Without too much hassle he was able to teach me how to help him create bubbles.