Week 4 covers Day 22 (Sunday 4th February) to Day 28 (Saturday 10th February):-

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Sunday: OMG! we had SUCH a break through today. I caught Olly lovely, I fed Eddie and we walked down to the stable block. He was really chilled this time. I fed him there again and checked him over. I took down his neck on his rug for a bit and picked out his feet which he stood lovely and still for me. He just ate his feed.

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My son, Xander had come to the stables with me and I had asked him to go and sit on the bench out the way whilst Olly eats which he did but he got so cold he blew into his hands for warmth, this distracted Olly so he became fidgety, but not anxious. When Olly finished most of his food there was some left, so I hand fed him using the clicker technique (I remember being told he was taught this at Blue Cross and it worked. He finished all his food off so I washed my hands at the tap which was a new distraction for him he stood and watched me so I washed his bowl; he just stood still and watched.

Then I untied him (and with parsnip slices in my pocket) we walked into the stable. He stood in the middle lovely so I clicked and he took his parsnip treat. I did this a couple of times and he responded really well. We then walked out of the stable and stood outside still, then I took him off down the other way towards the paddock and he was fine. We did our stop/start exercise lovely. Came back on ourselves and went back into the stable but this time all the parsnip pieces were gone. I praised him instead. Walking back to the field we did our stop/start exercises again perfect. Then at the gate we did some stretching exercises (without treats – just lots of fun and he was able to stretch both sides and down to the floor perfectly. I will investigate this further.

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When we finally got into the field he dropped his head and I took off his headcollar and he just stood there till I moved and said ‘go on’. I cannot describe how happy this made me feel.

Monday: was a busy day for me so I had to feed them in the field and go back to work.

Tuesday: Hubby Lyndon came with me for a change. Olly was fine. He know’s hubby so was more inquisitive to know why he was there and without treats too. We did the usual routine of bringing him down to the stable block, fed outside, walked into the stable and did out stop/start exercises. He was very good for me.

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The rest of the week except for Friday I had to feed and run as I was busy in the studio and needed to get some leather work done.

On Friday however, Eddie and Toffee were having a visit from the farrier and so Eddie’s owner asked me if it was alright to bring Olly in with them to the stable block so not to cause separation anxiety for any of them. I was happy with that arrangement and it helped me out being as I was on the road most of the day measuring for bespoke bridle quotes etc. Olly was good to come in and he listened to her voice commands but as soon as he was put in to the stable and the door closed he became restless.

Apparently he was kicking at the door terribly (something he hadn’t done before when I owned him) so it’s a habit he has picked up over the last 4 years. We are reluctant to tell Olly off for it whilst he’s in the stable being as he has anxiety in the stable anyway but how else can you stop this habit happening?

Other than use a rubber coated stable chain and leave the door open whilst he’s temporarily in the stable I don’t know what else to do. It’s being put to the stable owners if I can have a stable chain put in but it may be a no so then I will just have to get on with it. Anyone got any ideas? Would a full face grill on the stable door be too much? I very doubt that would be allowed if a stable chain isn’t so forget that idea 🙁

Any way his manners were good so we have to take that as a positive. It just means I have to now start feeding in the stable I think…what do you think?