Ollie helps ILES anti-bullying effort

LEWISTOWN — Ollie the Miniature Horse is helping Indian Lake Elementary students be themselves and appreciate each other’s differences. Ollie and his owner, Jolene Buchenroth of Hardin County, recently presented Ollie’s story to ILES second graders.

Buchenroth told the students that when Ollie came to her farm, he felt different because he is so much smaller and looks different from her other full-sized horses, cattle and donkeys. To feel more accepted Ollie pretended to be a cow, Buchenroth explained. The students helped the mini-horse put on his costume including a spotted cape, cowbell, ears and a tail wrap. But they learned that the costume did not make the other animals believe Ollie was a cow, so he decided to just be himself.

“It’s okay to be different. Ollie made lots of friends in the barn!” Buchenroth told them.

Second grade teacher Jill Young said, “The moral of Ollie’s story is to help kids understand that they don’t have to change so somebody else will like them. We want our students to embrace the characteristics that make them special.”

Ollie’s visit is part of an ongoing effort to prevent bullying at Indian Lake Elementary.

Photo 1: ILES students Jace Harpst, Aiden Todd and Kiylee Haude pet Ollie the Miniature Horse during his visit with owner Jolene Buchenroth.

Photo 2: Jolene Buchenroth helps second grader Riley Ross put a cowbell on Ollie the miniature horse. Teacher Jill Young and student Michael Godfrey watch.