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Dear Cherry

Do older horses require the same vaccines as the younger ones. Mine is at a boarding stable and has been immunized every year. I had the vet come out and do a physical on both of my horses (both mares, one is 7 the other is 31). He said that the older mare could do without a couple of the shots (Strangles, Potomac, and rabies). But the barn owner said he requires that all the horses have the same shots as long as they are boarded at his barn. I’m wondering if mine and others are being over vaccinated? What are your thoughts? I also had the vet do fecal tests for parasites, which came out normal on both. I’m afraid he’s going to tell me I have to give them dewormer. The vet suggested doing the fecals first and I agree with him. I’ve always given the wormer before, but again the vet is suggesting that they can be overmedicated on dewormer. Both my mares are very healthy. You’d never know that the 31 year old was that old!

Thanks for you input.  Mary

Hi Mary,

Generally I would follow the recommendations of your veterinarian. What you vaccinate for and how often you deworm and with what should be based on an individual horse’s situation and needs. There is no sense deworming a horse with a negative fecal exam.

However, whether right or wrong, the owner of the barn where you board may have the legal right to require you to vaccinate and deworm according to his farm’s guidelines. I hope the barn’s program has been developed in consultation with a veterinarian.

If it becomes a point of contention, it would be best to have your veterinarian discuss the health program requirements with the barn owner and his veterinarian so they can come to an agreeable solution for all.

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Dear Cherry,

I recently learned that I was the new owner of a couple of horses. One a pony and the other a brown and white horse. The pony has been broke before. The big horse has not. We have land for them to roam and water and plenty of food for them. But I have never owned a horse and would like to most definitely learn. I just don’t know how to approach this situation. How should I begin this process?

Thanks, Salvador

Hello Salvador,

Well, you have a most exciting adventure ahead of you.

First of all, although you can learn a lot from the internet, books and DVDs, the best possible advice I can give to you is for you to find an experienced, trusted horse owner or trainer/instructor in your area who can help you get started. For example, you will need to find a farrier and a veterinarian and an experienced horse owner/trainer/instructor in your locale so you have people to contact.

101 Horsekeeping Tips DVDAn experienced horse owner will be able to take a look at your fences and pastures and give you an opinion as to if their suitability for horses and if your pastures provide enough of the right type of feed. Even if you have wonderful pastures and water, you will need to provide the horses with salt and mineral blocks. Horses should have access to salt at all times.

Horsekeeping On A Small AcreageAs far as taking care of the horses on your land and managing your fences and buildings, I’ve written a book specifically for that. It is called Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage and discusses all you need to know as far as the care of the horse on your property.Horse Health Care by Cherry Hill

Horse For Sale by Cherry HillWhen it comes to specific health care skills such as feeding, deworming, vaccinations, hoof care and so on, you can ask your farrier and veterinarian to help you somewhat and you can also refer to Horse Health Care and Horse Hoof Care.

Now when it comes to handling the horses, ask your experienced new friend to help you assess what the pony and the horse know and what they need to learn. Then you can make a plan as to how to proceed from day to day. It is probably best for the horses and your safety for you to have help with both the pony and the horse until you have developed the confidence to handle them on your own. I have posted much information on my website about ground training, manners and so on which will be very helpful to you. And I’ve written many books on all levels of training. You can look through a complete list of books by topics in the Book Barn.

Once you get started, you will have a hundred more specific questions, so feel free to write again.

Best of luck and be safe,Cherry Hill horse trainer and author of 30 books and DVDs

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Hi Cherry,

I have a Quarter Horse gelding that is really good about just about everything. My problem is that he seems to always spit out the wormer, usually with a big wad of hay or grass. He takes the wormer good enough but then spits it out. I hate to waste the dang stuff ’cause it’s so expensive. Is there any way to make sure he gets the wormer down?

Thanks, Beatrice

Hello Beatrice,

Horse Health Care by Cherry HillFirst of all, the correct name for the paste that you are trying to give your horse is dewormer, not wormer. A dewormer gets rid of worms; a wormer would give your horse worms ! Smiling deworming buddy.

101 Horsekeeping Tips DVDIt’s great that your have mastered the skill of giving your horse the dewormer and that he accepts deworming without a fuss. To be sure that the dewormer gets to the worms and does its job, you’ll need to make sure your horse’s mouth is clean before administering the paste. To see how to do this, watch this video clips “Wads ‘n Worms” from our DVD, 101 Horsekeeping Tips.



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Hello Cherry,

We live at 10,000 ft. above sea level in Fairplay (Park County). Winter and
freezing temperatures frequently last into May, so it is not the place for
your more typical deworming schedule. What would you suggest?

Thank You! Maryann

Hi Maryann,

Any magazine or internet article by me or anyone else that suggests a
deworming program is meant to be a general starting point. As you have
noted, your program (at 10,000 feet) might need to be different than mine
(at 7000 feet) and definitely different than someone in Iowa, Florida or New
Mexico. And it is not only the elevation and weather, but your layout and management practices and the number of horses on your horse property and those properties nearby that will factor into what deworming product to use when.

It would be best if you ask your veterinarian who is most familiar with the
specific conditions in your area. He or she will prescribe products and a rotation
schedule based on professional veterinary training and observation (as they
go on their rounds) of the effectiveness of various deworming programs on
neighboring farms and ranches. I’d be very interested to hear what your
veterinarian recommends.

Thanks for writing.

Cherry Hill

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Dear Cherry,

I’m confused by all of the deworming rotation plans out there. Can you help me find the right one? Thank you, Betty


Dear Betty,

You and your veterinarian need to determine what is most appropriate for your horse’s parasite control program. The next step is knowing what to use and when.

Well that answer will depend on your climate and what types of parasites you are targeting. The rotation programs that you have probably seen assume that you need to deworm for all parasites and that deworming has successfully rid your horse of those parasites. However, you might find, through fecal testing, that your horses don’t ever have certain parasites OR that even though you deworm regularly for strongyles, for example, your horses still have a strongyle problem.

With that in mind, realize that the rotation programs you will find in your vet catalogs or on line might likely be highlighting certain products, whether you need them or not. In fact, if you search “deworming rotation” at http://www.google.com most of the results on the first page are recommendations from vet catalogs. They list products by brand name rather than by ingredient and give little information as to why you should use a particular product when. But even among experts, there are various opinions of what you should use and when. The best rotation plan is one that takes into account your climate, the density of the horse population on your farm, and fecal test results.

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