Walking

file-sep-15-10-23-56-pmI have had to walk Mr. Atticus twice a day since about May because of a laminitic episode. It has been an interesting journey and we’re still on it.

I’ve also had to really watch what I feed him and how much. I’ve always used Alam cubes but now I can’t and we have to get used to feeding TC Lite. I have to figure out how to pick them up and hold them so he can get them and he has to figure out how to get them when there are several small pellets instead of just one large one.

But the walking has been interesting, too. I’ve worked on both sides of him and gone in both directions. He sometimes likes to change sides. When he does we also change directions so that I’m next to the fence. He sometimes gets squirrelly and I’d rather he have the open space to buck and bolt in – away from me!

We’ve now worked up to as many as 35 steps in a row before CT and I alternate between a small handful of Lite and scratching. It helps that he is rather itchy!

When we stop and I’m going to scratch him, I put my hand up near his withers and he keeps walking until my hand is at his tail head. Then I scratch. This morning he adjusted where he was in relation to my hand and he moved side to side and forward and back to help me scratch. 🙂

One of the benefits of this is being able to then just walk into the barn and back to his stall. In the past he as gotten sticky about that and didn’t want to go back. It also helps that I give him two handfuls of Lite in his pan in the stall.

All behaviors we teach will come in handy in some other form or in some other way whether we thought about that first or not.

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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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