You know how it goes, his head is so high up there that you can’t even reach his mouth… it makes me think when a child briskly turns his head as the spoon full of syrup is about to get in his mouth.
Both end up the same way… spilled over you instead of going down their throats !
There are a few tips… they might help you.
The veterinary pharmaceutical industry has made progresses to manufacture products that are more palatable for horses, cats and dogs (I had a dog… you just had to throw the pill and she would run after it to gobble it !)
OK, the problem is they can’t read and they don’t believe you. If it comes in a seringe… it’s bad news.
You fill an old feeding syringe or deworming tube (cleaned beforehand) with apple sauce, corn syrup… or anything semi liquid that your horse happens to really like. Slip the syringe in the teeth gap (where the bit goes) and heading to the back of his mouth. Press the plunger and deliver the treat.
Repeat it daily until he’s willing to receive his treat without putting up a fight.
It’s the moment when you do it with the dewormer. And you can have another couple od applesauce goes… just to dephase him. You can also treat him with applesauce seringes once in a while when it’s not deworming season… to mix him a little more.
Overcome fear with head shy horses.
You will start by teaching your horse to lower his head. At a distance from deworming season. This is an other teaching altogether and will prove useful in many other circumstances.
Keep praising and rewarding each time your horse lowers his head a little more until it is very easy to obtain.
Another method you can try comes from equine behaviorist Linda Tellington-Jones. According to Tellington-Jones, the mouth, gums and muzzle are full of acupressure points that work on the limbic system, which is the part of the brain and nervous system that affects emotions. Rubbing the mouth, lips and gums may help your head-shy horse overcome this behavior.
Use of a gadget
Someone invented a really nice gadget… maybe he’s been covered in deworming paste himself !
The Easy Dewormer looks like a bridle. The bit is in fact a tube that has a few holes in it. You fill it with dewormer and you leave it in the horse’s mouth long enough to make sure that your horse eats the whole dose. You deliver the medication from outside of the mouth. You can use that device to make him take other medicines as well.
Taking time to make the deworming process easy for your horse is worth the effort. Soon the job will take moments and you and your horse will be less frustrated. Best of all, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that your horse is getting the correct dose of dewormer.
This is a very important article for the health of your horse : Deworming the Reluctant Horse
Detailed picture of a horse being dewormed, taken by BLM Nevada on Flickr