No Need To Resort To Sugar

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Getting a picky horse to consume his medication can be a challenge. Although some folks simply drop the pills in the feed tub, we crush them so they blend in better. Still, it's amazing the way a horse can manage to eat everything in their feed tub, except for some tiny crumbles.

We tried a variety of taste tempters to get 16 pills twice a day into our horse, using products we had in our own kitchen:

Molasses

?? It was a bear to mix in and even worse to clean up after

Corn syrup

?? Difficult to mix in well and left a mess.

Brown sugar

?? Ate that up just fine, but the pill crumbles remained at the bottom.

Apples and carrots

?? This mix had the horse nickering loudly for dinner but come morning we saw crumbles in the tub.

There are other options, too:

Beet pulp

??? It can be fed wet or dry, but we recommend you add enough water to cover it and let it soak in before you feed it. For this purpose, a cup or so should do it.

Wheat germ, wheat bran or apple pectin

??? Add a few tablespoons.

Peppermint extract

??? If the horse likes peppermint, a drop or so might do it.

Ground alfalfa cubes

??? Chop up three or four into the grain.

CocoSoya

(www.uckele.com, 800-248-0330) works well, as few horses can resist its aroma, but you have to purchase a gallon at a time.

But nothing we tried changed the gritty feeling of chalky, chopped pills in the feed tub, and that seemed to be our problem. We then remembered Horse2O Med Mix (www.horse2o.com, 800-560-5340), and its thick gel consistency, coupled with its ?applemint? taste.

it's low-calorie (no sugars) and combines the flavors of apple juice and peppermint in water. It has an 18-month shelf life, but you do have to refrigerate it after it's opened (we bypassed that since it was winter at the time and our barn was colder than our refrigerator). There was no gooey clean-up.

Cost is about $20 for 10 6-oz. packets. We used a third of a packet at each feeding, and our horse loved it.

It can also be used to stimulate appetite, mix in with a dewormer (to avoid putting the paste in the horse's mouth), and to flavor strange water, such as when you're on the road.

Bottom Line

The list of items in this article are starting points. Experiment to see what works best. As much as we loved the Horse2O Med Mix, we do wish it were sold in smaller packets and quantities. Even with an 18-month shelf life, we can see becoming overstocked on it.