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I was not sure where to post this as this does not specifically have to do with training or health, so I decided to post it here.

How do you worm a hard-to-worm horse?

I have tried the (unsweetened) applesauce-in-a-syringe training but my horse just spits it back out. I think that my horse does not like to be force-fed anything because she will happily eat applesauce otherwise.

Training-wise, she is easy to catch, knows how to give to pressure, and stands like a statue. However, when I go to worm her, she runs away, giraffes, refuses to give to pressure, throws her head everywhere, and dances.

Health-wise, she is on a low carb/starch/sugar/calorie diet and is wormed either once a year or whenever the fecal sample tells us to. I am willing to try other foods besides applesauce, but they must be low carb/starch/sugar/calorie. This means that foods that contain honey, molasses, sugar, and syrup will not be fed. Since I am only worming approximately once a year, I can just bite the bullet, force the worming, and tell her to suck it up. Although I (we) do not want to do that, not worming is not an option either.

I have heard that there are other forms of worming besides paste. Has anyone tried these "other forms"?

I need to worm her again in a few months. What should I do? Any replies are appreciated.

Thank you.
 

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Wow, 61 hits and not one person has replied:think:

My reply is you are going to have to grow two more arms and sort of strong arm your horse:):)

When I rescued my Arab, in the early 90’s, the lad flat out refused to open his mouth for the wormer, even half heartedly threatening to rear up.

Once I did get the tube in the corner of his mouth, the rascal refused to swallow and spit the meds out when I turned my back - he was one very clever 13.3H fella:love:

1. I hope you have strong hands, wrists, and arms because you will need to halter your horse and hold him securely; do NOT tie the horse, even if it means you have to walk a few steps with him.

1.1. In advance, have the tube uncapped and set at the weight you want. FWIW, if your horse weighs 1,000 pounds or more, and is current on de-worming, you can give it the entire tube, unless your vet has given you a reason why you should not.

Also, in advance, have a place to quickly place the empty syringe, a deep jacket pocket would work. No dropping the syringe on the ground as you don’t want dogs or cats licking the syringe- some horse wormers are deadly to them.

1.1.1. You’re firmly holding the horse while you are standing beside him, NOT in front of him.

Quickly put the tube in the corner of the mouth, aimed at the back of the mouth, and push the plunger.

Start walking your horse, while keeping his head up AND massaging his throat to get him to swallow. My Arab could hold out so long, I thought he would fall over from not breathing, but I outlasted him until he finally swallowed the meds:cool:

He was so mad at me, he wouldn’t even take his treat afterward, he made great monkey faces when he was insulted:smile:

I had to use this method for quite a few years but, over time, he got less and less argumentative, until he reached the point that I could walk up to him in the pasture, put my one hand under/around his throat, worm him, and he would vet take his treat:). RIP Streeter:gallop:

****
You have to be very firm, while being fair minded, and you have to have some physical strength in order to hold the horse with one hand and get the tube in the corner of his mouth with the other.

I am only 5’2”, so it can be done, even if you’re short:cowboy:
 

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I had to "trick" my one horse for a while. My Appy will slurp wormer up and come back for more but my quarter horse will turn to the corner and "hide" or he will giraffe neck and back himself away as fast as possible. A few years ago I started "tricking" him and it has worked AMAZING. He will still try to "hide" sometimes but no more backing up.

I always have him in a stall when I worm him to discourage the backing. I have a halter on him and will have the wormer situated like I am going to put it into his mouth but instead I put my thumb into the corner of his mouth, wiggle it, then remove. I do that a few times and eventually he relaxes and just lets me do it because "Oh it's just mom's finger and not the gross wormer tube." Then when he's least expecting it I put the wormer tube in and shoot the wormer to the back of his mouth and before he realizes what happened I'm done haha. Then he gets all of the loves (throat rubs) and a treat.

The first time I did this it took about 5 mins of patience and convincing now I don't even have to put my thumb in his mouth just boom worm him and done.
 

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I think there were no replies because this problem is difficult to overcome. Sure, you can do it the hard way -- and I have. You can halter the horse, have help, force it down the best you can while hanging onto the side of his face with all your strength and hope that enough went down to do the job. But then you have a horse that won't trust you next time because he thinks you just tried to poison him, and the fight is even bigger. You might even struggle to halter the horse next time.

I don't like it either. I have done it, but also feel there has to be a better way. So hopefully this reply, along with @walkinthewalk's, will generate more suggestions. I'm surprised no one in the horse industry has figured out a way to make a dewormer that tastes good and can be added to feed.
 

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I've got to worm mine as soon as my wormer comes, but I've been working on my horse Teddy and he's gone from "Nothing goes near my mouth" to taking the tube all the way in his mouth and clamping down on it, and allowing a little bit of stuff to be squeezed in (I haven't tried getting all of the de-wormer in yet, since I don't have any, so he may not be 100% solid there). He was a head-tosser too, and would actually do mini-rears (this is his standard way to get away from pressure he doesn't like). He's also a very anxious and worried horse. I tried forcing him one time and although I got most of it in, it was an unpleasant experience for both of us.

Anyways, I just took a lot of time. I mean, a lot of time. Every time I went to see him, I'd do two things where he would get rewards (if your horse is on a low-carb diet, they have fake sugar cookies, which I wouldn't use, or you can use alfalfa pellets): get sunscreen on his nose (he gets sunburns) and take a medicine tube. He hated the sunscreen, too. But he was borderline willing to stand there for it. So I'd put on some sunscreen, say "Good boy" and give him a cookie. Repeat. Repeat. Now he was mentally in a place where he was working for treats, plus he was opening his mouth for the cookies. So I got out the medicine tube. Like I said, he wouldn't even let it near his mouth at first. So I just took it really slowly. If he let me approach his mouth just a little, he got a "Good Boy" and treat. Over months and months, we kept working on it. When I thought he should be able to take the next step (e.g. him approaching the tube with his mouth rather than me approaching him with it) I stopped rewarding his current behavior and didn't reward until the "step up" behavior: I approach him with tube; he approaches tube; he sniffs tube; tube touches nose; he lets tube touch his mouth; he moves toward tube until it's touching his mouth; he opens mouth for tube; he allows tube to go into his mouth; he draws tube into his mouth himself; he draws tube into his mouth and clamps down; he allows a small amount (all I have) of goop into his mouth. Oh, and Teddy is kind of a slow learner, too. After many months of this, I think he got confused one day and thought I was giving him a cookie, so he opened his mouth and took the tube into his mouth. I praised him lavishly and gave him lots of treats.

I never put anything in the tube. I guess I'm lazy and feel like that would be a lot of work. Where we are now, I ask him every time to put the tube in his mouth and clamp down on it. Then I say "good boy", take it out, and reward.

Like I said, we'll see what happens when I try to actually worm him. I'm guessing he is going to be unpleasantly surprised, because he also hates the taste of medicine. But at least I have gotten him from not letting the tube near his mouth to taking it in willingly, so that's a start. I just took it super slow and rewarded every step.
 

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Oh, I missed my editing window. I did want to say, I presented what I did in a linear fashion. That's the path that ultimately worked. But we had a LOT of starts and stops along the way, dead ends, things I tried that didn't work at all. There was a fair amount of frustration involved. In reality, it wasn't as straightforward as the steps I presented. It's like, if you can imagine a maze you are trying to get through, and sometimes you end up going to a dead end and you have to retrace your steps and try a new path. Looking back, you can say "this is the path that I took." But when you were actually doing the maze, there were many dead ends and false paths that didn't end up taking you where you wanted to go.
 
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Alternatively, if you are not at a boarding barn that requires specific worming, there are 'natural' powders you can get. A woman I used to work for used them on her horses, and would fecal test them after worming - all four horses had great success on this powder, and the fecal test company was surprised when they heard what product was used.

Here is the link to the product on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/294608243/3lb-diatomaceous-earth-herbal-blend-no?ref=shop_home_active_4&crt=1

I couldn't find the actual website that this seller actually uses, but if you contact her directly, she will tell you the dosing for horses/ponies. Once my horses are on my own property one day, I'm interested in trying this product out myself, because as far as I can see, it works.
 

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Oh, I missed my editing window. I did want to say, I presented what I did in a linear fashion. That's the path that ultimately worked. But we had a LOT of starts and stops along the way, dead ends, things I tried that didn't work at all. There was a fair amount of frustration involved. In reality, it wasn't as straightforward as the steps I presented. It's like, if you can imagine a maze you are trying to get through, and sometimes you end up going to a dead end and you have to retrace your steps and try a new path. Looking back, you can say "this is the path that I took." But when you were actually doing the maze, there were many dead ends and false paths that didn't end up taking you where you wanted to go.
Best description of horse training I've ever read. :rofl:
 

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Warwick Schiller has an excellent video on you-tube on training your horse to accept the wormer. When you get him to the point of allowing the tube in his mouth slide the tube between the cheek and teeth. If you keep it to the cheek side he will not be able to bite the syringe. Be sure you get the syringe in as far as possible so he can't spit it out. If applied correctly after you push in the plunger he will lift his head, begin Fleming and swallow. Use Warwick's instruction and do it in the small training steps he shows and soon it will be easy to worm.
 

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My approach is much like a dentist I went to years ago. During the exam he noted I had a cavity that needed to be filled and that's the last thing he told me. Before I knew what was happening he had injected the anesthetic and got to work. Get in, get the job done, and get out. Much better than letting me know before hand that he was going to stick a needle in my gum followed by drilling in my tooth.



For me being right handed I hold the lead rope in my left hand and stand facing forward on the right side of the horse. I rest the horses head against my shoulder and wrap my left arm around the muzzle with my hand on top of the nose to prevent the horse from raising it's head. The wormer tube is all set and ready to go in my right front pocket. With my right hand I reach for the wormer and insert the wormer in the corner of the mouth and depress the plunger as quick as possible before the horse has time to process what is happening. My head and shoulder partially block the horse's view of what I am doing with my right hand. I follow with a treat to help get the taste out of their mouth and encourage swallowing. Just be careful not to let the lead rope get wrapped around any part of your body.



For a difficult horse I'd halter as usual and maybe lead to an area where I would normally tack up. With many of the things we do with our horses if we don't make a big deal of it they won't either.
 

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My approach is much like a dentist I went to years ago. During the exam he noted I had a cavity that needed to be filled and that's the last thing he told me. Before I knew what was happening he had injected the anesthetic and got to work. Get in, get the job done, and get out. Much better than letting me know before hand that he was going to stick a needle in my gum followed by drilling in my tooth.



For me being right handed I hold the lead rope in my left hand and stand facing forward on the right side of the horse. I rest the horses head against my shoulder and wrap my left arm around the muzzle with my hand on top of the nose to prevent the horse from raising it's head. The wormer tube is all set and ready to go in my right front pocket. With my right hand I reach for the wormer and insert the wormer in the corner of the mouth and depress the plunger as quick as possible before the horse has time to process what is happening. My head and shoulder partially block the horse's view of what I am doing with my right hand. I follow with a treat to help get the taste out of their mouth and encourage swallowing. Just be careful not to let the lead rope get wrapped around any part of your body.



For a difficult horse I'd halter as usual and maybe lead to an area where I would normally tack up. With many of the things we do with our horses if we don't make a big deal of it they won't either.
^^^This is essentially what I was trying to say, lol. My problem is I am basically left-handed so I do everything backward and it’s tough trying to explain to a mostly right-handed world:smile:
 
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This may have more to do with no replies than worming a difficult horse.

"am willing to try other foods besides applesauce, but they must be low carb/starch/sugar/calorie. This means that foods that contain honey, molasses, sugar, and syrup will not be fed. Since I am only worming approximately once a year"
 

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I called in at a friend's to find her and the vet tying to worm a gypsy cob she had recently bought. I will admit to watching with great amusement as the horse used its weight and superior strength to throw the two of them around.

The (female) vet went to get some tranquilliser from her car. At this point I stepped in and asked if they wanted me to do it. Vet, who I had never met, was very disparaging towards me and remarked that there was no way anyone could dose this horse unless it was doped.
My reply was "want to bet?"

When I walked in the horse tried to walk through me so he had the halter rope whacked across his chest.

I picked up his rug which was lying on the stable door, put it over his head, spun him around thenstable a couple of times and then wormed him with no problem.

Friend was happy, vet wasn't.

If, whilst the horse is blindfolded, someone holds a plank of wood or something solid, above their ears and they go to raise their head, their ears touch the wood and they will not go any higher.
 

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I think there were no replies because this problem is difficult to overcome. Sure, you can do it the hard way -- and I have. You can halter the horse, have help, force it down the best you can while hanging onto the side of his face with all your strength and hope that enough went down to do the job. But then you have a horse that won't trust you next time because he thinks you just tried to poison him, and the fight is even bigger. You might even struggle to halter the horse next time.

I don't like it either. I have done it, but also feel there has to be a better way. So hopefully this reply, along with @walkinthewalk 's, will generate more suggestions. I'm surprised no one in the horse industry has figured out a way to make a dewormer that tastes good and can be added to feed.
I have a mare that is extremely opinionated. I tried teaching her to accept the syringe with applesauce. She quit eating apples for 2 years. Wouldn't touch them after loving them. Right after I got her, it took two men holding her, one holding the twitch, and me shoving the wormer into her mouth. She was rearing the whole time. And when we were done, she spit it out all over me.

If you want the story from Isabeau's viewpoint, it is in her journal, page 4. https://www.horseforum.com/member-journals/isabeau-psychomare-diva-queen-637890/page4/

For two years I tried getting her to accept a syringe with something nice in it. I got as close as putting the syringe near her mouth. If I got it in her mouth, she would stop letting it get near her. This mare, by the way, is the most unique horse I have ever worked with. Everything took forever with her. Six years to get her to stop kicking in the trailer. Two years to get her to stop rearing and coming over on her rider. You get the picture.

Fecal exam showed it was time to worm her again. I decided to do it the old fashioned way. I put the wormer in her food with molasses (I understand the OP can't use molasses, but this was the only thing that worked). I kept her in the stall until she ate it . . . which took about 6 hours.

I have now owned this mare for close to 10 years and still can't worm her, although she will now accept the syringe with applesauce. She knows when it is wormer and when it is applesauce. I just put it in her food and keep her in her stall until it is eaten. I've given up fighting with her.

By the way, for those that haven't read Isabeau's journal, she is now a super good sweet kind fun riding horse. She takes all the fearful beginners and looks after them. She is the best.
 

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@knightrider, there’s a Thelwell style cartoon somewhere in your story but I sure don’t have the talent to draw it, lollol
 
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