RDA guest blog: What we do about worming

By Claire Hinitt on 23 May 2019

HorseDialog guest blogger Claire Hinitt is a BHSAI, UKCC Level 2 and a Group Coach for Riding for the Disabled (Woodbridge and District Group).

This RDA Group has been teaching riding and carriage driving to disabled children and adults for over 30 years. No matter the disability, they can usually adapt to suit the need. For example, a wheelchair-bound client or someone who is unable to mount a horse for any reason can be taken carriage driving instead.

Learning to ride or drive provides riders and carriage drivers with valuable therapeutic exercise, an opportunity to develop their social skills and a chance to build relationships with wonderful horses and ponies. The health of the Group’s big-hearted equine stalwarts is pivotal to all that they do.

With 12 busy horses and ponies to keep fit, healthy and willing to help disabled children learn to ride and drive, Claire knows know how important it is to follow a rigorous worm control programme. She’s offered to give HorseDialog an insight into how she does it. 

Our premises

In December 2017 we moved to a smart new, purpose-built yard in Clopton near Woodbridge in Suffolk. As well as generous stables and a full size manage we are lucky enough to have 24 acres of grazing. The mix of newly sown grass and old pasture is divided into nine paddocks. These are of varying sizes so that we can accommodate groups, individuals, pairs and those prone to laminitis or excessive weight.

Our horses

Currently we have 12 horses and ponies ranging from 11hh-16hh, and spanning an age range of between eight and 30 years. A mix of natives, cob types and Irish Draughts, they are all very special, seeming to understand intuitively about the needs of those who are riding or driving them. Take Inca, she stands so patiently for clients and Dolly a multi-skilled riding and driving pony. 

Our management regime

We find it easiest to keep our mares and geldings in separate groups. Ideally we manage two or three together in a small ‘herd’ but occasionally we have one who prefers or needs to be turned out on his or her own.

We also turn out all our new recruits in isolation for the first three weeks, having wormed them. This helps to prevent any new strains of worms infecting our pasture and also gives them a chance to acclimatise safely to their new environment before joining a herd. 

Our worm control programme

We work closely with our local vet practice to make sure we keep up-to-date with the most effective worm control practices.

Keeping count

- Faecal Worm Egg Counts (FWECs) are conducted during the spring and summer and our horses are wormed, or not, according to the results.

Compulsory dosing

- Every horse is strategically wormed over the winter to treat for encysted small redworm, tapeworm and bots. Every horse is also given a tapeworm dose in the spring.

Weighing and worming

We weigh all our horses with a weigh tape before we worm, to make sure we don’t give too little or too much wormer.

Records

- Our horses all have individual worming records, usually going back several years. These allow us to check egg shedding patterns and dosing history as well as any health issues that may be relevant.

Perfect paddocks

We keep our paddocks in pristine order, poo picking 6-7 times a week and rotating paddocks regularly to let the fields rest to help disperse any residual worm challenge. 

- Good worm control helps makes for happy horses and our healthy dozen do an amazing job at putting smiles on faces. 

Claire's top tip

Keep up with the latest research (via your vet ormedicines prescriber) as it's ever changing and changes can be cost saving and more effective.  FWECs are a good example of this as they mean you to only treat those who need it. This has the added benefit of lowering the resistance of the worms to the worming products that we use.

To find out more about RDA (Woodbridge and District Group) Riding and Driving visit: www.rdawoodbridge.org.uk

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HorseDialog guest blogger Claire Hinitt is a BHSAI, UKCC Level 2 and a Group Coach for Riding for the Disabled (Woodbridge and District Group).

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