Hombre is an off-the-track Thoroughbred who is living at Winsong Farm. I’m working with him at liberty and with games and tricks. This evening was my 14th day with him (fourteen days in a row).
A little history on his rolling out the carpet:
- the first time I showed it to him he was worried
- the second time he saw the carpet he was able to eat treats off of it
- the third time he nudged the rolled-up section about an inch and found a treat
- the fourth time he nudged it and actually placed a hoof on the carpet
- the fifth time he rolled out the carpet three feet and placed a hoof on it
- the sixth time a repeat of the fifth
- the seventh time he wanted nothing to do with the carpet, but after patiently playing with him he was able to nudge it about twelve inches and eat treats
- the eighth time I placed another carpet, a bit more red in colour, beside his carpet and he abandoned both of them
- the ninth time initially he didn’t want to go near the carpet, but he allowed me to lead him over the original carpet and he was able to walk across it circling to the left, but not to the right. To the right we were heading into the south with light shining through the windows, perhaps this upset him because he walked with me until we were a few feet from the carpet.
- tonight I brought out the “demon” red carpet and placed two small cones on it (he likes cones) and tons of treats and carrots. He didn’t want to go near it. His posture showed he was afraid of it. He was at liberty and I kept adding treats to the carpet and continued to allow him to figure it out. Thirty minutes passed before he got up the nerve to take a treat off the edge of the carpet. Within five minutes he’d eaten all of the treats. Bill came into the arena riding Spring Song. I put Hombre on a lead line and let him watch Spring walk over the carpet, eat treats, walk onto pedestals, etc. She repeated this routine at least six times. The final time she ate the last treat from the carpet and proceeded to KILL it. She stomped on it, pawed it many times, scrunched it up and left it, dead.
A minute or so later I realized what I’d witnessed. Hombre had warned Spring Song that the carpet was incredibly dangerous and would kill her. She told him the carpet was not a problem and she would demonstrate how sweet the carpet was by eating off it and walking on it WITHOUT being injured. Finally she silenced his ongoing comments by stomping on the carpet, pawing it, etc.
It will be very interesting to see how Hombre approaches this carpet tomorrow.