If you’ve never had a hard time giving your horse medication, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. While Skippy is more than willing to stand still and let you administer a syringe full of crushed up pills, bitter tasting and pasty, Bubbles spotted the syringe from half a mile away, it looks suspicious and the only thing she’s willing to do is put up a fight.
She’s a 14.1hh large pony and is too smart for her own good. She’s 900 pounds of beauty, intelligence and talent… until you try to medicate her; then she’s 900 pounds of full-blown chestnut mare. Tricking her by throwing paste or powder in her feed is a complete waste of time and unless there are 4 other people around to help, using force isn’t going to cut it either.
Just recently, Bubbles hurt herself while rolling around in the pasture with some new friends and sustained some pretty ugly lacerations to all four legs. After a prompt emergency examination by the local vet, all ligaments, tendons and joints were given the thumbs up, and she was in the clear to make a full recovery, but it wasn’t going to be easy. In order to prevent infection and bring down the inflammation, treatment required administration of a once a day dose of bute and 20 pills – 10 every morning and 10 every night – for 14 days.
Bubbles was in so much discomfort for the first two days that she took the syringe full of yucky meds without any sort of resistance and even nuzzled me gently after each dose, as if thanking me for taking care of her. By day 3 she was starting to feel a little better and was well aware of the morning and evening routine, but still didn’t have all her strength to make things too complicated. On day 5 she could manage enough strength to toss me and 2 others around; the syringe approach was no longer an option. We still had 10 days of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory and I needed to find a way to finish her treatment without stressing her out.
If you’re reading this and own a horse that presented a similar situation, you know how frustrating it can be to use force on an unhappy 900-1200 pound “free spirit.”
If you’re reading this and are new to horses or are a first time horse owner, don’t worry, getting thrown around the barn or tossed in the air is normal and you’ll get used to it in no time! Just kidding! Keep calm and try the recipe below!
5-8 tablespoons of Flaxseed powder
3-6 tablespoons of Quaker Oats
Generous amount of Honey (it masks the taste of meds)
Water as needed
Mix the ingredients above to the consistency you believe your horse/pony will like the most and let them try it before you add in the meds (this way you don’t waste a dose if they don’t like it). If you have sweet feed and/or molasses at your barn it may help to throw a pinch or two in the mix for some added smell and flavor. Avoid adding dewormer paste as it will overpower the other ingredients.
Bubbles took to this tasty treat very well and preferred a more soupy consistency. She slurped away for the remainder of her treatment and begged for more each time. All lacerations healed fantastically within 4 weeks, her scars are barely noticeable, and she’s gone back to her workouts happier than ever.