When it comes to my horse that is.
I was inspired by Fran Latane’s recent post about her worming breakthrough with her horse Prin. I have similar, but less extreme situation with Charm. Charm doesn’t like to be wormed (most horses don’t). It’s a tube of icky tasting paste that we usually rudely shove into their mouths. At least that’s what I was doing… until today.
For those of you who are not horse types, here is a step by step documentation of what I typically do:
Step 1: Get wormer out of the container without your horse seeing you or hearing the plastic crinkle sound.
Step 2: Carefully sneak the wormer over to where your horse is patiently waiting for you.
Step 3: Grab a hold of their halter and quickly shove the tube into the corner of their lip and plunge the wormer into the back of their mouth.
Now several things can go wrong.
A) The horse will spot the wormer and refuse to put their head down to let you worm them. I am short. This does not work well for me.
B) You think you’re fast enough, but at the last-minute, your horse catches on to what you’re inflicting on them and they dodge the wormer. This is bad. Now the sticky stuff is all over the place. Even worse is if you accidentally plunge it in the front of their mouth and now they are slurping it and spraying it all over you and what ever else is in a 5 food radius. Nothing is safe.
C) Now you’ve wasted a perfectly good tube of wormer.
I’m sure most “horse people” can relate to these situations.
But today was different. I had the time to convince Charmer to take the wormer herself. 😉
What’s Charm’s favorite thing in the world? FOOD!
As usual, as soon as she spotted the wormer, she got all bugged eyed and her head went to the sky. This time I just let her and held the wormer out for her to sniff. If she sniffed it, she got a cookie and we went for a walk. We did this a few times until she was easily sniffing it. Then, I asked for more. Now she wouldn’t get a cookie until she mouthed it. That didn’t take long. Within a few seconds she put her lips around the syringe. Cookie!! Then she put half of it in her mouth.. Cookie!! We went for another walk. Finally, she look practically the whole tube in her mouth and I carefully plunged the wormer in. Huzzah! She’s wormed! Then I hurried and gave her a scoop of grain so we could celebrate the occasion together. She didn’t seem upset that she got wormed in the end.. and was very happy to have the grain.
Then I apologized to her and told her I would never rudely worm her again. I know this sounds very silly, but I am staring the realize it’s these little things that we often skip over that make a big impact on how our horses perceives us.