Harley is twenty years old going on ten. He bosses the other two horses around, loves to run around bucking like a mad man while chasing the other two around, loves rolling back and forth through the mude or snow, but the moment a white, plastic bag blows into the paddock, he hides behind Chaco who is the brave one.
When it is time to worm the horses, the wormer is a white plastic bag to Harley. Chaco and Dulce are easy peasy to worm. Harley becomes the most obstinate sun of a gun the moment he sees that little, white tube. The moment the smell of it, no matter how I try to disguise it, hits his nostrils, he tries to run, back up, run over me, or push me away from him. He has the nose of a hound dog. When Shandoka was alive, he took it within five minutes after watching Shandoka do it. Dulce and Chaco have no sway over him.
I have tried everything. I fill up tubes with honey and practice with him for two weeks before, and he will happily take the honey. The moment I come out with the actual wormer smothered with honey, he knows. I don’t know how he knows, but he knows immediately.
The last time was such a struggle that I think he either gave me a hairline fracture to my index finger or slightly dislocated it. All I know is it hurt like the son of a gun that can be during worming. Besides that, I went through two tubes before I finally got the third in him. This is not working. I even tried the type that you put in their feed. Harley who never passes up a bucket of feed, snubbed his nose at it.
When it was time for worming this Fall, I decided to play to his sweet tooth. I don’t feed my horses sugar, because it weakens their hooves and is not good for them on so many levels. However, once every three months, I decided to make an exception. I got apple flavored wormer, applesauce, peppermint leaves, Ambrosia honey, and I headed home.
I made him a nice bucket of feed and made him a worming cookie. I put down a layer of alfalfa flake, peppermint leaves, a thick layer of honey, unsweetened applesauce (I had to go for something with less sugar to make me feel better), the wormer, applesauce, another thick layer of honey, peppermint leaves, and lastly more alfalfa flake. I then handed him his bucket, and lo and behold he inhaled that wormer. He cleaned that bucket until it was spotless! All of his favorite sweets in one bucket at the same time made for a very happy horse.
I kept looking all around to make sure he didn’t throw any of it out. He didn’t! Happy dance for me. Yes, a small ring may appear in in his hooves, which I’m not going to be thrilled about, but I got him wormed without any trauma to him or me. Finally, a win!!!!!!