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Lewis & Clark, part 3

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September 9, 2005: Lewis and Clark Update

So many people have been asking for updates of Lewis and Clark's progress. Truth is, it's very slow - although real. But not nearly as fast as we normally see with younger wild horses. Also, we really haven't worked real hard or consistently with them through the summer - too busy with other things going on, and we've been away a lot. That turned out to be just fine, though, as it gave Lewis and Clark much-needed "soak time" and we've noticed that they are definitely more comfortable here now. They call to us when they hear the front porch door open at feeding time. They only step a few feet away when someone passes near them, instead of racing to the far corner as they once did. We let them stay together most of the time, and they are getting to be pretty well trained with allowing us to separate them when we need to.


Something that has been very much on my mind has been the need to update their vaccinations. Their last West Nile Virus shot was given in November at Burns BLM Corrals. West Nile has been working its way closer and closer to our area, and is now in our county. We tried to give them a booster last month, but at that time our vet advised us to wait - the trauma to the boyz would be worse than the risk (at that time) of contracting the disease. That has changed, however., with WNV being now very near us.

At the time of our first attempt in August, our vet helped us devise a plan: We started to feed them treats, which could then be laced with tranquilizer on the morning of our next attempt. So we got them two feed pans and a bag of sweet feed. Of course, the feed pans really set them off - ALIEN OBJECTS in their pen - COULD BE DANGER!

Lewis and Clark snorted and jumped back away from the pans, and approached them as though they expected the pans to explode at any moment. While they were getting used to the pans, we sprinkled the sweet feed over their hay, to get them used to the taste. It really didn't take long, and they started to look forward to their treat each day.

Today was the day - so the vet called when she was 1/2 hour away, and we administered the ACE-laced treats. Then when she arrived, we moved first Lewis and then Clark into the makeshift squeeze chute that we had used for Lewis' hoof trimming.

Everything worked perfectly. Lewis and Clark got all their shots, as did all the other horses and donkeys and the mule. I feel very relieved.

November 2005:

We enlarged Lewis and Clark's pen so that they now have more room to exercise and play. They are getting much less skittish, although with setbacks. With the coming of winter rains, we found that cramming all the other horses on the other side of the barn was too crowded, plus we thought it was "about time" - so we started introducing our other horses into their pen = they have known each other over the fence but have not been together. We started with 30-year-old Silver and 3-year-old Eleanor the Mule. Everyone gets along well, although Eleanor currently rules with "iron hooves." Lewis and Clark have never had any trouble sharing their feed pile. Eleanor, on the other hand, is very possessive and won't let them near her at feeding time. So I take Lewis and Clark's feed into the middle of the pen for them. This is working out well in terms of their looking forward to having me in their pen.

FEBRUARY 28, 2006: Lewis and Clark get all 4 feet trimmed and vaccinations.

Hoof care is the number one problem of all newly adopted wild horses, and for 17 and 22 year olds who were living free in the wild until a year ago, it is really problematic. 'It takes a Village." Well, it at least takes a whole lot of friends!

First Lewis

Just like in July, Jerry starts by moving Lewis and getting him mentally ready to accept the squeeze chute.

The hind feet are the scariest - especially with Lewis - he is powerful and lightning quick with them!

Mission Accomplished! - on Lewis

Clark can't watch. But now it's his turn:

While Lewis was still drugged, I was able to pet him and brush him - which he needs badly.


Little by little, the panel is moved in toward Clark - but only as fast as he can handle it - we don't want him jumping over the top or hurting himself or one of us.

Aww... ain't it sweet?

Poling Clark

Dr. Claudia Sonder administers a muscle relaxant to Clark while Jerry Tindell distracts him by stroking him with the pole.

Front left gets trimmed

While Dr. Sonder was here, she also administered West Nile and 4-Way vaccines to them. So now they are trimmed, vetted, and back together. What an ordeal, though! Thanks so much to Jerry Tindell, Dr. Sonder, her assistant, Miguel, Michael Kerson, and our daughter Saanen, who all helped get the job done!




Next day: March 1: Clark, on all four newly trimmed feet, is actually stepping forward toward me when I go in his pen. He only takes a few steps, but seems to want to do that.



Ruby with Lewis & Clark at home after a heavy rain in March, 2006

Ruby has the strangest ritual. When the trailer is hitched to the truck and the motor starts, and she guesses (correctly) that Mike will be coming to get her to go riding, she starts chasing Lewis and Clark around. She knows full well what Michael wants, and she actually intends to go over to him to be haltered at some point. But first she has to run Lewis and Clark around the yard four or five times. Finally she corrals them in the far corner, away from us, and then she calmly walks over to Michael to be haltered. I really wonder what's going on in her head!

Click here for Part 4: Lewis and Clark, Born to Be Wild, after all