Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fly Spray Success!

Poor Chrome has been miserable with these horrible flies. It's the regular house flies (don't think they bite, but they do tickle) that have been driving him insane, although the green headed ones are just now coming out and I know those have a painful bite. The poor colt has been standing out in the barn stomping, twitching, shaking and sweating. After a long day of torture I finally took my water bottle out and started spraying it in the air as I walked a slow circle around the paddock.

When Chrome started following me I would click, stop and wait for him to catch up and give him his carrot. After doing that a while I stood still and sprayed water, just waiting. He finally came up beside me where the water wouldn't touch him and I clicked/treat. Eventually I grew bored . . .

So I haltered him and let him to his stall. I tried spraying him with it while clicking at the same time, but again realized I was rewarding him jumping away. I decided to use the old method of desensitization because I just couldn't figure it out with the clicker (and was being impatient lol). So I positioned him but the fence and started spraying his chest, really close and softly so it wasn't hitting a big area. As soon as he stopped moving I gave him a carrot. After one more time of doing that I was able to spray him seven or eight times, give a carrot, spray seven or eight times in another spot, give carrot and he never moved!!

After soaking his chest, front legs and shoulders in water I went inside, got the fly spray and a pocket full of sugar cubes. Then I went out and fly sprayed him all over with not a single problem. I was able to do his entire neck and chest for a sugar cube, one shoulder and front leg for a sugar cube, the other shoulder and leg for a sugar cube, his back and rib cage on one side, then the other, then his haunches and one rear leg, then the other rear leg, so it only took seven sugar cubes and the whole process took about three minutes!

I was so proud of him (while secretly annoyed that he'd made such a big deal out of it before lol)! I swear the little turd was testing me because by the end he didn't act in the least bit scared of it. Chrome is going to be such a fun horse to work with because he likes to act like a spaz but I really don't think much scares him. :) Anyway I really need to go to bed, but just had to share. :)


  1. Well done to you and Chrome, hopefully he'll be fly free now :)

  2. Success! That is good.

    Here is a neat sight I think you might like. http://www.horsemansarts.com/

  3. Hurray for Chrome! But here's the real question--how did the fly spray work? It seems like we can't get anything to work on the flies over here. Even if they don't land, they still swarm and irritate them that way.

    I'm glad you think Cole is handsome. He seems as beautiful inside as outside, too. I am so happy to have him. Finally the bad economy paid off for me. After a year of paycuts and watching my retirement dwindle, I got a good deal on a horse that would have been sold a long time ago if it wasn't such a lousy economy.

    Feel free to learn whatever you can from my adventures--I've been learning from yours. I am still fairly new with clicker, but you have all the dog experience on your side.

    Cole is starting to like carrots, so that is a relief. I decided to plant extra green beans for clicker use with him. He might like them more. He never had treats, before.

    My book would be very helpful for you starting a young horse on the trail. I have a large section on young horses, and of course the sections for older horses is helpful, too. Trail riding is very beneficial for dressage horses.

  4. I think you must be right. There is something that Cole is seeing that he doesn't like. I will stoop down to his eye level and see what it looks like from there.

    You also gave me an idea. If he likes carrots tonight, I can take him out and practice following the target. When he understands, I can try to lead him in the barn that way. That way he will be in "seek" mode instead of "Fear" mode.

    Have you ever read any Temple Grandin? Her book, "Animals make us Human" changed my whole view of animals, and it is what got me started on clicker. She is the one that made me understand the "seek" emotion. That's when I started clicker with my cat to enrich his life, and then I started to play with it with Mingo.

    Seek is a very powerful emotion, and it is what drives us to keep checking our favorite blogs to see if anything new is posted.

  5. Sugar cubes, fly spray, sounds like it works to me.



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