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Lewis & Clark, part 2

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July 1 - 3, LEWIS MEETS JERRY TINDELL, Gets his feet trimmed, halter removed, fly-sprayed, and hair brushed

Jerry Tindell was in town for some clinics he was doing in the area. Wednesday night, he came by our house and while here, he checked out Lewis and Clark.

He watched Mike work with Clark and gave him some good pointers on how to be more effective with him.

He was very concerned about Lewis' terrible, over-grown feet - which we have been, also - and he generously offered to help us with him.

So we made a plan to trim Lewis' feet with Lewis caught in a squeeze between two sets of pipe panels.


Lewis' front feet were about 3 - 4 inches too long, seriously restricting his movements, and just HAD to hurt!
STEP ONE: General Pressure and Release Work
(Thanks to Maureen Wendle for some of these photos)
But before Lewis could tolerate being in a squeeze chute and having his feet trimmed, he had to be taught how to accept being so confined, even temporarily, and to become more able to handle people being close to him and touching him.
So Friday Jerry worked with Lewis, moving him around, de-sensitizing him to being touched by ropes and poles, softening his hindquarters, and "hooking on" to pay attention to Jerry.


Saturday Jerry came back and did some more prep work with Lewis.
STEP TWO: BEGIN THE SQUEEZE CHUTE
When Jerry felt Lewis was ready, a group of friends helped us bring the panels in and Jerry began moving Lewis into a more and more restricted space, all the while working with him, helping him tolerate the banging of objects on the panels, having ropes and poles and sticks touch him, etc.

Phase One of Squeeze Chute - a small pen, but not too confining, continuing to do the de-sensitizing work with Lewis, touching him with ropes and poles


Phase Three: When the Squeeze chute was done it looked like this


Jerry looped a soft cotton rope around one front ankle, and, through, pressure and release, taught Lewis to hold his foot up and to tolerate having the bottom of his hoof touched and tapped with farrier tools.


Phase Two: As Jerry decided Lewis was ready, volunteers moved the panels closer until they touched Lewis on both sides. Lewis was held almost stationary - he could move forward or backward slightly, and of course, he COULD try to jump up and out - but the idea was that Jerry had prepared Lewis well enough that he wouldn't do that, and indeed he did not.


Lewis is QUICK with those hind feet - he could take someone out in a nano-second.


Here, Jerry has maneuvered Lewis front foot through the panel bars - this allows easier access and also provides leverage to hold the foot stationary for the trimming process. Mike is holding the rope taut, to increase the stability of the foot.


Teaching Lewis to lift his front foot

One foot done, one to go

After all that was working well, Jerry held the foot and trimmed it - very rapidly. Then side two. It was amazing!

Positioning the other foot


tapping the bottom of the foot to get Lewis accustomed to the feel of tools around his foot

 


 

After the feet were trimmed, Jerry removed Lewis' halter, and showed us how to flyspray and pet Lewis.

 JERRY REMOVES LEWIS' HALTER

This looks so easy, but trust me, it isn't!  
PETTING LEWIS

Jerry explains how to start stroking Lewis with the stick he already knows, and then work my hand up the stick, blending it in with the motion of the stick.
To just go up and touch Lewis would have been too much for him and he would have panicked.
FLY SPRAY

Fly spray procedure: First spray near him, then spray his shoulder, then gradually work down to the front legs, and last, the hindquarters.

Normally one would avoid the face altogether for the first few experiences. Lewis hasn't been around people long enough to know he is SUPPOSED to be afraid of flyspray, so he didn't mind

Then we carefully and gradually released Lewis and dismantled the squeeze. Then Jerry worked him a little more, making sure he was moving well on his "new" feet, and still able to yield his hindquarters and face up. Lewis was licking and chewing and looking softer than he has since we got him.

Today he looks 10 years younger, with his nice, upright feet.

 

JULY 5 - Mike and I continue to work with Lewis and Clark

Clark is learning to move freely and softly, and to accept touching with the rope

Inside turn, crossing under with the hind foot
 

Note the right hind foot crossing under the left - this is when the hindquarters dis-engage and the horse is able to soften

Look at Lewis moving on his "new" feet!

Mike took these two pics standing about 3 feet away from Lewis. Lewis remains the Sphinx - strong, self-contained, self-assured, and silent. But getting a LITTLE more tolerant of people.

7-15-05 CLARK MAKES CONTACT

 
Using the stick as an extension of the arm, and as a route for the hand to move up toward Clark. Note Clark leaning toward Mike, instead of backward. Clark is still so scared, but also trying so hard.
 
getting closer

We Have Contact!

Another sniff

Touching/carressing all over with the lungewhip

Another sniff

Wow - stop and breathe, lick and chew - it blew them both out!

Come with me, buddy

Sniffing again

Mike says, "Just being with these guys is such an incredible experience. I really feel for them and what they have been through.

We have a long way to go until they can let down and be out with the other horses but they really haven't been here that long. What I really appreciate is that we have time to do this at a pace that they can accept. We really don't work with them that much.

But life goes on around them - they get fed, they communicate with the other animals and us (Clark actually calls to us at feeding time - same as the donkeys and mule) we clean out their pens - and
then we go in sometimes and move them around, have them release their back feet, and lately I have Clark turn and face me and ask him to move towards me. If he moves away I make it look like that was my idea and I move him. He's starting to learn that it's easier to come to me and eventually with me. It's actually a safe comfortable place. Of course it's not been easy convincing him.

And then last night.
As I was moving him I put the lunge whip string on his back and it was just there dangling as he moved. At first it just made him move faster. I'd stop him and with the string still draped over his back try to rub him with the handle. He wasn't too interested in this
and I stayed with it and he gradually let down and I could stratch him on his back, and for the first time on his chest and front legs.

Gradually I moved my hand up the whip handle (basically this was an extension of my arm) and he leaned over and sniffed and touched my hand. He did it - I didn't force it. His nose was soft and I just thanked him, backed up, and we looked at each other and we were both kind of mindblown.

This is one of the most powerful experiences of my life."


Sniff with touching
That's enough for one night! Snack time!
NEXT: PART 3