How to Deworm your Reluctant Horse

by Caitlyn Andrews August 18, 2015

How To Tube Deworm A Reluctant Horse

Trying to deworm a reluctant horse with a tube dewormer can be a nightmare. It often ends in frustration and just as much dewormer on the side of your horse's face than what actually ended up in his mouth. Maybe your horse is head shy or simply hates the taste of dewormer. Maybe he just knows if he fights you he can get away with it. Whatever the cause of your horse's reluctance you can do something to make deworming easier on both of you. Here are some tips on how to deworm your reluctant horse.

Overcome Your Horse's Fear

If your horse is head shy then you have an extra step to conquer before you can move on to training with a deworming tube.

First, be sure to have a vet rule out any physical issues that might be causing the head shy behavior, such as a dental problem. Head shy tendencies can be difficult to overcome, but not impossible.

Consistency and patience will be the keys to helping your horse overcome his fear. Make an effort to work with your horse every day and try to end things on a positive note.

Start with a 'safe zone'. For instance, if your horse is fine with being touched just above his nose but reacts when you come close to his ears, then start above the nose. Calmly pet your horse in the 'safe zone' and gradually move further up towards the ears. Retreat before he panics and reinforce his good behavior with your voice and hands.

Each horse is different and it may take days or weeks before he feels comfortable enough with you touching his ears without evoking a negative reaction.

The Trick to Peaceful Deworming

After you've made good progress with your horse's head shy issues (if there were any) now it's time to move on to the next step.

Wash an old dewormer tube and fill it with something tasty. Something like applesauce, corn syrup or honey will work well. Give your horse their treat with the dewormer tube.Repeat once every day until they start to readily accept the tube. It may come as a nasty shock when the tube has real dewormer in it again, but that's why it's so important to not just treat them once and forget about it.Between dewormings you should occasionally "deworm" your horse with the treat filled tube. This will keep him looking forward to dewormings, instead of thinking you are just trying to trick him again.

Between dewormings, you should occasionally "deworm" your horse with the treat filled tube. This will keep him looking forward to dewormings, instead of thinking you are just trying to trick him again.

Additional Tips for Deworming

    1. When feeding a treat through the tube dewormer you can cut the tip off of the tube for easier dispensing of thicker mixtures.
    2. When using actual dewormer try rubbing some honey or other treat mixture onto the tip of the tube so your horse still gets some of the good tasting stuff and will more readily accept the tube.
    3. Be patient. Choose a time when you aren't rushed or already frustrated to deworm your horse. Horses can pick up on your attitude and if you're calm, then your horse is more likely to be calm, too.

      More Horse Deworming Resources

      Does your horse fight you when you try to deworm them? Try the tips above for yourself. Above all, patience will be your best friend here. Click here for more information on deworming your horse and to view a free rotational deworming chart.

      Caitlyn Andrews
      Caitlyn Andrews


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