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Spring Vaccine Day

May 7, 2014

For a change, we had really nice weather for our day with Dr. Dart from Groton City Animal Hospital. Everyone got their rabies, 3 way and West Nile. Horses that will be traveling (either to new homes or to show grounds) also got an influenza vaccine. This was a good time to pull blood for Coggins on any of our "can we get them ready for a horse show" candidates as well. This was also our spring de-worming day too!

When we're "sticking" them three times, we try to use three locations...left neck, right neck and the pecs! Dr. Dart will be consistent with which vaccine goes in which location...that way if they have some kind of reaction (most of them won't), we know which vaccine caused it. This pretty grey mare, Julianna BF is headed to Marathon, NY and Deb Hess.

While most horses tolerate the needle stick pretty well, they are all different. And it's not just a matter of age or disposition. For example our little yearling and 2 year old chestnuts, Ace and Giselle, don't even flinch and they haven't had tons and tons of handling (other than what they had last year). Also, 4 year old Verde, pretty much slept through his shots. Some horses you just know will have some objections on vaccine day. Knowing this, we have a plan when we do have a plan. We use a "lip rope" as a restraint.

Seven year old Jett (above) has always been a drama queen about....well, let's just say he's the sensitive type. However, by using a lip cord as a restraint, we learned to tap into his "macho man" side and convince him to behave in an acceptable manner for his shots. I prefer a lip cord to a twitch for these situations, because when used properly (by a skilled horseman like my assistant Becky), you can actually teach them instead of just restraining them. Interestingly enough,all it takes if for the lip rope to be on, and Jett decides that the shots aren't as bad as he thought after all...Becky had hardly any pressure on it.  If if a horse does get out of hand a steady pressure ...NOT a jerk...on the lip rope will get their attention and that pressure can immediately be released when they "stand down". The lip cord tension can be instantly adjusted to tighten (when they start to "go bad") or reward the horse for improved behavior. Jet is smart! He's had a lip cord on before and so now, he doesn't even think about being naughty when it's on. If you look closely at the pictures above, you can see that Becky just has her finger tips on it!

Hey....are you really going to just let her do that to you????

The pictures above were taken after Jet was finsihed and (once again) survived getting shots! Notice that using a restraint (like a lip cord) in the proper fashion doesn't create any trust issues.  While four year old Verde, is pretty much sleeping through the whole deal...which Jet seems to be pretty fascinated by! Maybe next time we should let Jet watch the babies and see if he'll feel compelled to act more grown up about it. Knowing Jet however (who is the alpha of this group) he's not a follower and will do whatever he thinks best!

Below: a slide show of 2 Five year old mares (Story Thyme and Denise, both bay) and 2 two year olds. Bay gelding, Jagger (Thyme in New York) and chesnut filly, GJR Giselle

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