Jenny Pearce

It’s a great time to worm for pinworms in horses!

I rarely use a chemical wormer with my horses, but I was drawn to today.  It’s two days until the new moon, which is a great time in the Lunar Cycle to get rid of pinworms.   Although the full moon is an opportunity to be really effective at getting rid of many varieties of worms – around here at least, the new moon seems to be best for pinworms.

Usually for pinworms I’ll use garlic on the inside (strong in a small feed of something like pure oats and maybe seaweed meal too) and wash around their butts with soapy water and neem oil or dust them with Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) to get rid of the pin worms eggs in the sticky residue above and around the anus and I might do that for somewhere between 3 and 5 days in a row. You can’t see so clearly in the photo, that under the tail and between the legs, I’ve also rubbed DE in there too. It’s generously applied! (Be careful not to breathe it though – use a mask to make sure.)

If you have a bad infestation, also brush DE onto the things they rub on, like fence posts, shelter poles, favourite trees, tail guards on your rugs, brushes etc. You don’t need to be paranoid though, when you’re taking consistent action to interrupt the life cycle.

But this time I used Equimax

Because the female worm dies when she’s laid her eggs, if you’re really on the ball and notice that change in the feel of their coat around their butts when the eggs are being laid, you could get rid of them entirely with rubbing DE around the area they lay the eggs – which will kill the eggs themselves.  Since the pinworm has a 5 month life cycle – you have to be on the ball getting all the eggs for 5 months to completely eradicate them.  It’s not difficult, it just requires consistent awareness.

This time I was strongly drawn to use Equimax on the inside and Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) on the outside. I stood at the feed store and tested which wormer was going to be the most effective to use with my kinesiology, but you could use your pendulum or your Feel if you’re nice and clear with it, to find which one was the best for your horse at this time.  My horses don’t have a resistance to the worming chemical because I only use them occasionally – maybe once every year or two, with alternative methods used almost monthly as a routine, which I’ll talk more about below. 

Since I wrote this article a vet told me that Equimax is not effective on pinworm, so it’s interesting that’s what they tested up for.  Maybe I was doing more than pinworm that day. 🙂

We had a lovely morning getting each horse’s co-operation for their worming paste.

Catherine and I had a lovely morning before it got too hot, listening to each of the herd in the way they needed the wormer administered.  I’m very conscious of how long I can stand comfortably for (with the pain I’ve been in recently) so most of my training was done (if any was needed) and wormers were administered, sitting on my short stool – bringing the horse’s head down to my level, teaching them that’s where I’d like them to keep it please, giving them the carrot treat BEFORE the wormer, because in the past I’d noticed that they rejected a treat if I tried to give it afterwards and they deserve a treat for such a yucky experience!

I’ve used the applesauce in the old worming syringe in the past to train a horse to take a wormer happily (and then slipped in the chemical one and then done a couple of  apple sauces syringes afterwards) – but it feels a bit patronising to have an empowering relationship like I have with this herd and then trick them with apple sauce.  I am not at all canning the apple sauce method – it’s a vast improvement on wrestling with them, ear or nose twitching them and other generally traumatic means – it’s just where we’re at these days.

And think about it folks – if you DO use force or twitches to MAKE your horse have a worming paste – do you think that they say to themselves “Awww… aren’t you wonderful?” when you sit in the saddle?  No matter how good you are in the saddle?

I don’t think so…

The training

It was interesting to notice how unique they were.  Oliver went first and I used several pieces of small carrot to remind him that downwards pressure on the halter meant keep your head down even when we’re doing something yucky like this.  Once he got the idea, he was very generous, although he spat quite a bit out and I had to give him another 150 kgs worth.

When I went to do the same training to UT, I felt him metaphorically rolling his eyes – “just give me the darned treat!” So I did and he kept his head down beautifully while he had the wormer.  A well trained boy indeed…

Bobby’s still got some blindness stuff going on in his side vision and wanted me standing in front of him, which isn’t a safe place to be giving a wormer, so I had to have a fair pressure on his nose to remind him to keep his head down while Catherine slipped the wormer in because I didn’t have enough hands.  Interesting because I used to be able to do him on my knees.  Things change when you can’t see so well as normally.  He also didn’t want me to muck around though.  ” I don’t like it so just get in and get it done.”

Sunny I needed to keep my posture REALLY flexible and flex my spine as she took up the pressure on the rope to lift her head.  That sponginess / give from my posture alone, stopped her from needing to fling her head up in response to me pulling her head down and then she was able to hold her head down to the pressure and have the wormer from my stool, bless her.

No treats for her while training though, I felt very strongly that it would have interrupted her train of thought and ability to co-operate willingly.  Once she could keep her head down to the pull on the rope, I gave her the treat and when that was properly enjoyed, gave her the wormer.

The others were all different too – Rapunzel was instantly generous, Boots needed to do his outside the big shed in the hot sun, because the shed itself adds pressure to him before we even start and then he was cool with just a bit of preparation.  Hmmm I must fix that shed thing with him, I hadn’t noticed how much extra pressure it added.

As for the miniatures, it’s far too easily to manhandle them to get what we want, but Catherine did a lovely job of asking for and getting their co-operation just as if they were Clydesdales.  I learned way back, that forcing them just because we can is so very yucky for our relationship.

Signs of pinworms

Rubbing their tails, stamping their hind feet in temper when they get really sick of the itchiness, a slight stickiness on the hair around their anus, occasionally you can catch sight one of the thin little worms peeping out of the anus like in the photo here.  Usually they only come out at night though to lay their eggs.

A word of caution though – you don’t need to develop a resistance to chemical wormers if you don’t over use them in the first place.  BUT…

BUT… If you use alternative worming, in my opinion, you have to be even MORE on the ball than with chemicals.  I worm with something alternative, garlic, herbs, D.E, seaweed meal, lots of sunflower seeds, homeopathics – EVERY MONTH ON OR AROUND THE FULL MOON.  I’ll often combine methods and I’ll rotate using multiple methods throughout the year.

Don’t copy me

Like everything I talk about, don’t copy me – my situation is unique to the way I graze, the property, the weather, what’s happened to my horses in the past. USE YOUR OWN FEEL for what’s good for your horse, NOW and don’t make assumptions that just because something is perfect this time, that it’s right for next time.


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  1. Sandy Walden 01/05/2019, 3:22 pm Reply

    Hi Jenny, just thought l would tell you of my experience of worming a very difficult horse. Don’t know what the stud did to her as a baby but when she arrived at my place couldn’t touch her head. After númerous different tries at worming with dissasterous results have found a blind fold is the answer. doesn’t take long and no dramas for her or me.

    • jennyp 01/05/2019, 10:17 pm Reply

      I’ve never done that. What were her fear levels like?

      • jennyp 01/05/2019, 10:20 pm Reply

        An extra thought Sandy – it could be a great opportunity to reduce her overall fear burden, given that old fears like that are cumulative – i.e. each adding on to the next and intensifying any new fears. Poor little possum…

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