On veterinary advice they had been operating a regular chemical dosing programme:
“We’ve got the responsibility for looking after people’s horses and you have to take that seriously” said yard manager, Clare. “We wormed every eight weeks, changing fields at the same time and using a worm egg count once a year to check what we were doing. We knew the routine and which wormers to order at which time of year and our liveries knew what to expect.
What prompted the change?
“We had been talking to our vet about resistance to wormers and the changing advice. My main concern was whether the wormers we were giving were working and you also wonder whether you’re giving drugs that the horses don’t need.
What concerns did you have?
“We’d done it the same way for so long that the thought of changing to a new system was quite daunting. It all seemed very time consuming, we worried about interpreting the results and were concerned about the cost implications for liveries. That’s all before we knew about Westgate Labs.
Making the switch
“With so many barriers we didn’t think it would be as easy as it’s been. The brilliant packaging with everything provided couldn’t make it any more straightforward. Westgate supported us all the way through and came back with the results so quickly.
“We held a yard meeting to explain the new system and address the concerns which really helped, especially about horses going back into the same field after worming to slow resistance. The information made a massive difference in helping us set out how the new targeted worm control programme would work.
So how did it go?
“Everything from taking the samples to knowing what to do for each horse was simple. The horses stayed in for the night and we had the control sheet ready to go with all their names written up. In the morning we collected a sample from each stable and popped them in the post box. Results were emailed the next afternoon and we had all the information to decide which horses needed to be wormed.
“It was all so quick and easy and there is always someone from Westgate at the end of the phone or on email to back you up if you need it.
“Now that we’ve done the first worm count confidence is growing. As only a small number of horses needed treatment most owners aren’t paying out for a count and a wormer each time so it’s been cost effective too. There’s been nothing but positive feedback from liveries.
“So many horses haven’t needed worming on the new system that it would be easy to get complacent. We need to be mindful to keep up resting, rotating and harrowing the fields to keep breaking the lifecycle of the worms without relying on chemicals.
What would you say to other yards thinking about it?
“Just do it, go for it. I’d 100% recommend for other yards to change to targeted worming as it’s actually so straightforward and we’ve saved money too. I’m happy to speak to any yard owners and share our experiences here.”