by Lindy Dekker
A Success Story
Horse: Winston – an 8-year-old warm blood gelding 17.1 hh.
History: This horse was born on the farm he lives on and has been brought on slowly – only really starting work when he was 6 years old.
Winston came on a recent 5 day TTEAM workshop, as he tends to be bargey and run over his groom when he decides to go places.
Session Descriptions: We started Winston in homing pigeon doing labyrinth work. When doing some bodywork we discovered that he was tight in the semitendinosus muscle. When we tried doing touches on this part of his leg he started to kick out. With slow deliberate work we managed to get some touches in on these muscles. We did some leg circles – but he found that quite hard as he battles with his balance. Winston’s back was also a little sore , but some clouded leopard touches, as well as a bit of abalone really helped that.
We had Winston in a body wrap without a problem and it seemed to help him get his hind legs under him a bit. Jodi noticed that he was standing on his toes at the back. This lead to discussion with his owner and a subsequent visit from his farrier. The farrier gave us a long explanation as to why Winston’s feet were as they were and what he had been doing to correct the problems he was born with. This was a great object lesson in not making judgements before hearing the full story !
The farrier was very impressed with how still Winston was standing while we talked, and he explained how they had to keep him in his stall when trying to shoe him and how he ran all over everyone during this process. He stayed and watched a bit of demo and Jodi showed him leg circles to explain how we help the horses to relax their muscles during this process.
5 days after the end of the workshop the farrier came to shoe the horses. They brought Winston out of the stable and at the first sniff of a horseshoe – he was off into the green yonder! Luckily he stood on his own lead and stopped himself and he was then brought back with the chain lead on his halter. The farrier then helped soothe him and his workers started by doing little leg circles and ‘jiggling’ the leg until the horse really relaxed his leg and stood still. Apart from a few twists and turns Winston stood still to have all his shoes replaced and the farrier was thrilled. Not only were they able to take him out of the stable, but also they achieved the work (despite taking it slowly) in about a quarter of the time and far less effort than normally required !
Conclusion: It is so rewarding to see how a little can go such a long way towards making everyone’s life happier and safer. The farrier is thrilled with the new ‘tool’ in his toolbox and he explained how he is using the leg circles and patience on all his customer’s horses – with great results. He has shown all his workers how to do a leg circle (it is not what we exactly learned on the workshop – but it is close enough to do the trick !) and now when they start a horse they first make sure by doing some circles that the horse is relaxed in the leg muscles and has found its balance. This then makes the further shoeing process a pleasure for both horse and farrier.
Winston has now discovered that by standing still easily the job gets done much faster – and with a lot less trauma, and the farrier is happy as he can get a lot more done in a shorter time and a lot safer. All in all, a win-win situation!
Go TTEAM GO!