Ollie Has a Happy Spot, 4-21-14

Kelsey on Ollie Summer 2008I started Ollie with some applesauce in my palm next to the dosing (big) syringe and kept squirting more applesauce in my palm a little at a time.  A couple of times I was able to squirt applesauce into his mouth.  Soon I’ll start adding some wormer to the mix.  Ollie eagerly lapped up the applesauce.

On to the wash stall.  Ollie followed me out and set himself up in the wash stall.  I asked for a couple of hoof lifts of the right front foot.  Then I went to asking for and holding the hoof and I got ten in a row.  Then I went to the right hind, got a hoof lift, cleaned it out, set it down, and then treated it, and gave Ollie three treats (after clicking of course).  Then on the left front where I asked for a couple of hoof lifts, then cleaned it out, put it down, and then treated it.  I moved on to the left hind and repeated – hoof lift, hoof hold, cleaned it out, set it down, and then up again to treat.

Then I went back to the right front, asked for a lift to hold, and cleaned it out and set it down.  Then another lift and hold to treat it.

From here we went on to grooming using my jelly mitt, which he prefers to any other brush or grooming tool.  A few swipes, click and treat.  When I finished with the nubbly side to loosen the hair, I switched to the softer side to remove the loose hair.  We did both sides.  As I now recall, he walked off may 1/2 time (three feet) but came right back.  Then on his left side, he walked off about ten feet but came right back.

In the middle of the grooming of each side, I threw in ten trials of sliding my hand along his underside to reach the sheath.  My goal is to be able to touch him and he leaves his hind feet firmly attached to the ground.  This went well and it was our second attempt this year.  The first was a few weeks ago.

Then I sprayed his mane and tail with a detangler and I started combing his mane.  I start at the bottom of the mane (the very ends of the hair) and gradually work up to the roots.  A couple of strokes with the comb and then CT.  We’ve worked on the mane a couple of times before.  Then I went back to the tail for the first time this year.  Again, starting three inches from the ends of the hair, I combed through a couple of strokes, CT.  This way I worked up to the top of the tail.

Throughout all this Ollie was a champ.  This is absolutely the best he’s ever done at liberty in the wash stall.  This is not his favorite place at all.

At some point (while I was working on the mane?), he walked off completely, all the way to the trough, got a drink, and came straight back on his own.  That was really cool.  Especially for him.

Now at another point,I needed to get more treats.  I also wanted to get Atty’s saddle out and try it on Ollie to see if it would fit.  So I went off to the tack room to get both.  I gave Ollie a couple of treats and left.  I think he followed, but I didn’t watch him.

When I came out of the tack room and seeing him standing in the middle of the wash rack ready and waiting for me in his “Happy Spot”!  Absolutely amazing!  He’s never done that before!  I’m thrilled.  🙂  That was the best part of today’s work with Ollie!  I guess I should have taken a picture, but I didn’t.  I’ll have to commemorate this with a video or something.

And I suppose the saddle fits him.  Kinda.  The problem is that he has shark-fin withers that are very high, very narrow, and go waaayyyy back into his back.  The saddle fits for narrowness, but I wouldn’t sit in it on him because there’s just not enough clearance above his withers back under the saddle where I sit.  Maybe if he puts on more weight behind the shoulder or if I can figure out how to pad it up.  Saddle fit is so tricky.

About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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1 Response to Ollie Has a Happy Spot, 4-21-14

  1. meadowmice says:

    Hey! Great idea with the applesauce in your hand! I’m going to try that with Paco!


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