Mustangs 4 Us
JUNE 10, 2006 is Lewis and Clark Go Free!
Something about Lewis and Clark that totally surprised us is how docile they are around our other horses. Seeing the photos of them on the range, and just knowing that they spent nearly 20 years as wild stallions, made us fear that they would beat up on our young horses. Not so. In fact, it is sad how very submissive they are, even to a bottom-of-the-order fellow like Sparky. For the most part they just stick together, avoid the others, and do not really seem to consider our young mustangs to be the same species!
Silver is far too old to care about such pecking order shenanigans, and he does well with Lewis and Clark. In fact, he is our only horse that they will actually mix with. They are frequently seen hanging out together.
LEWIS AND CLARK GO TO THE BORN TO BE WILD SANCTUARY
We stressed heavily about whether or not loading would be a problem. We assembled a pipe panel alleyway that led from their pen to the trailer. Then we tied a rope to the trailer door, let it drop and buried it under some hay where it crossed the path, and then Saanen & Cubby waited on the other side. Mike carefully walked behind them to drive them into the alleyway, and then we closed it off with another panel so that they could not go back into their pen. Then Mike walked along the outside, applying just a tiny bit of pressure when needed with a flag stick. It really went very smoothly. There was a moment of balkiness, and then Lewis turned around and looked into the trailer and sniffed it. We gave him that moment, without any pressure. Then Mike asked again and they hopped right in. As soon as they were inside, Saanen & Cubby ran with the rope to take out the slack and pull the trailer door shut. Voila! a well-oiled machine!
For the long ride down the Bakersfield, Lewis and Clark traveled very well. So different from their trip home from Burns! Whenever we checked on them they were calm, with soft eyes. At a rest stop a lady and a little girl went up to the trailer to see the horsies. Mike started to run over to tell them to stand back, but there was no need. Lewis and Clark just looked at them calmly - no problems.
I was so impressed with Jill's facility - very well-planned - her hubby Dave really outdid himself, fencing solid rock almost vertical hills, and installing wells in the right places.
When it came time to open the gate into the sanctuary, it was like they knew, because they waited as close to that gate as they could, given that there were people on the other side.
Out the gate - they're thinking "Oh Boy!"
"Hmmm... They can't have meant it - are they coming after us?"
Trotting up the trail, checking it out. At this point Mike felt overcome with emotion, seeing them trot so lightly. It was wonderful - Lewis and Clark had not moved that lightly since their capture. At the BLM facility and at our house, they only walked - or ran frantically if they were scared. But that nice, light trot - we never saw it before this moment as they trotted up the trail into the sanctuary.
Lewis and Clark went up to a high vantage point on the hill and stopped. Then they just stood there, looking back at us, hardly moving at all, for about an hour (a very LONG hour to watch) They just looked totally stunned and confused. I worried if we'd done the right thing.
Then they shook it off and trotted over the ridge. By morning they were lightly trotting all over, checking things out, and the amazing thing was the change in their demeanor. Clark was no longer hiding behind Lewis with his tail between his legs and a haunted look in his eyes. He was looking confident and strong, and in fact, at one point, we saw him take the lead and tell Lewis it was time to move up the trail.
Sunday morning they showed up down in the flat across from the mares, at the far end of the sanctuary, looking happy and confident. When they saw us Clark walked toward me about 10 feet, stopped, looked awhile, and then turned around and trotted up the hill into the brush. It was like, "Well, I would stay and visit, but really, we're kinda busy. Good-bye!"
Thanks to Jill Starr for providing this wonderful new life for Lewis and Clark, and to photographer Lisa Kincaid for sharing these photos: