Of Horse

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De-worming Drama
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De-worming Drama

I try to be vigilant about de-worming my horses on a regular basis but I often find myself putting it off just because of one horse and the drama involved. Little Bud, my miniature donkey, is so easy to give the de-worming paste to; I don't even need a halter. I walk up to him, put my arm around his neck and stick the tube in his mouth. He always steps back after I am done and gives me the funniest look, as if to say "mom, you tricked me, that wasn't a cookie". Peanut, my Peruvian Paso, will normally try to avoid being haltered but once I catch him he takes the de-worming paste easily. Harvey, my appaloosa, will fight a little bit but I can give him a look to let him know that I am not in the mood and he will drop his head and take the paste. Sierra, my draft cross mare.... drama, drama, drama!!!

Sierra sees me coming with the tube of paste de-wormer and she runs. Sierra normally doesn't run, she doesn't like to burn calories. When I catch her she immediately throws her head up in the air. I have worked with her on lowering her head. I lightly tug on the lead rope and she will lower her head, I can actually get her to touch her nose the ground with just the lightest touch of the lead rope. I have also tried making her move her feet every time she throws her head up, that doesn't work either. As soon as the tube gets near her mouth the head goes right back up. I have tried rubbing her with the tube, thinking maybe the tube was scary, I can rub her entire body with it, even her head and ears, but about one inch from the corner of her mouth the head goes up. Normally Sierra is my dream horse; she will go anywhere and do anything. She doesn't spook, she is great on trails, and she is the perfect husband horse. I dread de-worming her though. I always manage to get it done but it's always a struggle.

Instead of giving advice in this blog, I am asking for advice. I will try anything to make de-worming Sierra easier for both of us. Any suggestions???

Be safe, have fun, and ride on... (Don't forget to vote if you enjoyed my blog.)

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  1. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted. Great blog. Sorry, I only know about de-worming cats! You might be interested in my latest blog, Please, No Horses For Courses. Check it out, and please vote if you like it! :-)
  2. spirithorserider
    I also have a draft cross mare and when she was very young, to get her used to worming before it was time to actually worm, I would give her a tube of apple sauce. I did this a few times, so that by the time we got to the worming, she took the tube just fine, though she was a little disturbed it didn't taste like apple sauce. But she's almost 16 now and I have no problems giving her paste medications. It might take a little convincing on your mare's part, but you could try the tube of apple sauce (or something else she finds tasty that would go easily in a tube), say every day for a few days and then maybe once a week until it is time to worm again. Good luck!
  3. PonyGirl
    Okay. I have been highly successful at getting reluctant horses to accept their wormer using one of two methods. I have just tried to explain the first method and found I was writing a book, which is frustrating, since I could show you in 5 minutes. So I will try again. Mostly what happens when a horse is silly about worming, is that they have made the experience a big deal in their mind. It's the anticipation that freaks them out more than the actual event. So you need to go into this when you are relaxed and have plenty of time. If it's a big deal to you, it's going to be that much more of a big deal to her. So try to look at this as "an interesting challenge" if you can. :D The basic method is simple. Stand on her left side, facing the same direction as your mare. Hold her head lightly with your right hand and run your thumb up along the inside of her mouth several times until she relaxes and then use the wormer instead of your thumb. Since I've used this method so much, it only takes me a couple of tries with my thumb before I can use the wormer. Since you haven't practiced this before, it may initially take you longer. I would suggest trying with your thumb for a few days in a row to get her used to it before you try the wormer. On the day of the worming, don't let her see the wormer before you're ready to use it and don't worm the other horses first, as this will increase her anxiety and anticipation. The tricky part of this method is that you are trying to restrict the horse as little as possible, and are trying to not force anything on her. If she resists you, let her. As long as she's not trying to pull away from you, dragging you around, or being rough in any way, leave her alone. When you go to put your thumb in her mouth, if she puts her head up, stop what you're doing, and let her put her head up. Talk to her calmly as long as she's not being rough with you and let her put her head down on her own, then try again. If you're calm and persistent, she will eventually decide it's too much trouble to resist, since you aren't forcing her, and let you touch her. The more anxiety the horse displays, the smaller each step you take should be. She's been thinking, "OMG this is a big deal, it's horrible! (or the horse equivalent) and you want her to think, "Wow, that was easy." It sounds like you've got your other horses figured out, so I think you probably know better than I can tell you, how to go with your mare. If the thumb part goes well, and the jump to the wormer is a big deal, practice with an old tube, and after the thumb, just work on touching the corner of her mouth for a split second with the tube. If she complies with this, immediately praise her and let her go. She'll be thinking, "Wow, that was nothing". and that's what you want. Do the same thing the next day. Once she accepts that, move on to the next step. As long as you don't make it a big deal, take small steps forward, and give her the opportunity to protest and then accept without pushing her, you should have success. If any of this is unclear or if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I think once you get the hang of this, it will be easy for you.
  4. Rene Wright
    Rene Wright
    This will save you ALL drama. I have been using Food grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth) to de-worm Cookie. I used it the whole month of Feb & just did a fecal March 1st. Negative for worms. Check out my blog: Update on DE & Cookie's Latest. It also has a link to a website that has a ton of information on DE. You can't go wrong with DE. It's not a chemical so the parasites can't build resistance to it. Mix it in with some feed & no more drama. I won't buy anything else to de-worm with. Voted! :)
    1. PonyGirl
      Rene,I am interested in trying the DE. I had never heard of it being used as a wormer before, but it was one of the things suggested to me to use as a natural pesticide, since I have multiple chemical sensitivities. At the time, I didn't know where to find it, so I just used boric acid. There's a Tractor Supply just down the road from me, so I definitely plan on getting some. Thanks for the info.
      1. Rene Wright
        Rene Wright
        You're welcome! You won't have to worry about any pesticides or boric acid again. DE won't work as fast as a chemical & you'll have to re-apply from time to time, but it does work.
  5. Andreana Dorrs
    Andreana Dorrs
    I use herbal wormers that the horses love and take them as a treat; if I do have to do a chemical worm then I use worming tablets that I hide inside pieces of carrot. All my horses will accept being wormed through using tube wormers but they don't enjoy it so I found ways to work round it.
  6. naturegirl
    Great post. Voted! Please come read my new post, For Bugs and Parasites, and vote if you like it.

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