Mustangs 4 Us
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 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.
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|
|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!|
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 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.
We Have Contact!
Touching/carressing all over with the lungewhip
Wow - stop and breathe, lick and chew - it blew them both out!
Come with me, buddy
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
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.
Sniff with touching
That's enough for one night! Snack time!
|NEXT: PART 3|