Have you ever wondered what you could do to make the visits from your horse vet go a little easier? There are a few things that you could do before the vet ever arrives to make the trip faster and easier on your horse, your vet and ultimately, you.
One of the things that seems to be a common problem is getting a horse to accept the Strangles vaccine, which is sprayed up their nose. Having something inserted into their nose is not normal for a horse, so it’s not surprising that they all seem to resent it. How many times have you had your vet struggling while your horse is tossing his head trying to get away from that finger stuck up his nose in preparation to having the tiny tube inserted?
Well, here's a helpful hint in helping your horse accept the Strangles vaccine:
Each time I have my mare standing in crossties, I work on getting her to accept my finger in her nose. I start by rubbing her nose and just running my thumb along the rim of her nostril, praising her when she's calm.
When she has no problem with that, I put my thumb a little further into her nostril – again praising her when she accepts it calmly. When each increment was something that was accepted as no big deal, I’d take it a little further. As soon as she would drop her head and be calm about where my finger was, I’d take it out, praising and petting her.
If you know anything about positive reinforcement as a training method, you know that I don't need to merely praise her or give her treats for accepting my finger in her nose...the mere act of removing my finger from her nose can actually be her "reward"!
We are now at the point where I can put my thumb into her nose as far as the veterinarian does and hold it there and she has no problem with it. Hopefully now when the vet comes out to administer the next dose she’ll stand for him as she does for me and there will be no more struggling.