With some good horsemanship and consistency, anyone can learn how to give a horse wormer and shots without a fight.

Horse Wormer

Never try to abruptly poke the horse wormer syringe into his mouth. That will start a battle you can’t win. First, hold the syringe in your hand and gently rub it all around on his muzzle. If he backs up to avoid the contact, just go with him. Wait until he gets ok with that. Next, start rubbing the syringe on the horse’s lips. Then make small advances in this same manner until you can insert the wormer solidly inside the corner of his mouth.

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Make The Right Thing Easy

Now, if at any time during this process the horse fights the wormer process, make that difficult. For instance, if he tries to raise his head and get away from it, bump the halter. Or have a firm enough grip on the lead rope, that he runs into his own pressure any time he raises his head. He will realize that the best deal is to stand there quietly and accept the horse dewormer syringe.

It will be important to make sure your timing is correct when doing this.

Check that you don’t have any pressure on the halter when he’s not fighting you, and that you’re immediately taking the syringe away and releasing all the pressure as soon as you see a positive change. Note that a positive change doesn’t mean he does exactly what you want. It means that he made a good, even if subtle, change from what he had been doing before. It’s imperative that he’s rewarded for his try.

Note: Worming will be a lot easier, if your horse has already been taught to lower his head. I’ve got several videos on how to do this included with the Buckaroo Crew

Dispensing The Wormer

Once the horse accepts the syringe, it’s time to dipsense the wormer. Select the dosage. Hold the syringe firmly in your hand with your thumb on the plunger. Put the tip in the corner of his mouth and then insert the majority of the tube. A horse tongue is over 9 inches long, and you want to reach near the back of the mouth. Push the plunger and drag it along the tongue as you pull it back out. After the tube is out, gently grasp the horse’s chin and raise his head. That will help prevent the wormer from dropping out on the ground.

The horse in the video below was not yet sure about the deworming process, but after a few more sessions, he accepted the wormer without any resistance.

Horse Shots

This is a procedure I have found to be effective for getting a horse acclimated to needles and shots. Rub the area vigorously. Keep rubbing until you feel some heat. Then pluck out a few hairs. Rub some more and pluck some more. The rubbing helps desensitize the area. The plucking simulates the needle prick. It’s a good idea to do this on a regular basis so that when it is time to give a shot, it’s not a new thing.

When you done that several times, clean the injection area with alcohol. Remove the needle from the syringe. Firmly and quickly stick the needle into the correct muscle location all the way to the hub. Attach the syringe to the inserted needle and pull back on the plunger to ensure there is no blood. Slowly push the plunger forward to inject the medicine.

Don’t Wait

Don’t wait until you’re rushed and it’s time to give wormer or shots before you work on this. Spend a few sessions just getting your horse prepared. Then when the time comes, it will be a piece of cake.

Disclaimer: All medical advice and procedures, including horse wormer and horse shots, should be under the direction of your vet.

Carson James
Carson James

Carson James' background is in Vaquero Horsemanship, and for the majority of his career, he worked on cattle ranches where he rode horses all day, every day. His knowledge comes from real life experience using traditional Buckaroo horsemanship to train horses and fix problems. He is now taking all of this knowledge and experience and sharing it with horse owners through his blog, his Insider list, and his Buckaroo Crew. He has a unique way of breaking things down where they're easy to understand, both for the horse and the human.