We have three horses. Occasionally, they have to take medicine by mouth. Sometimes that medicine is bitter. That’s where the medicine bucket come in handy.
One supplement we regularly give our horses is a mineral product designed to fill in the deficiencies of the alfalfa hay grown in our area. Our vet recommends it. Each horse gets 2 cups a day in pellet form mixed with a bit of water to soften it up. The minerals are not overwhelming. The consistency is like straight alfalfa pellets. All three horses enjoy getting it in the afternoon. As a matter of fact, when I am mixing up the medicine buckets, they hear me stirring the mixture and nicker.
Different Horses, Different Reactions
Scratch, the mustang, had to learn about the medicine bucket. Being out in the wild, he had no knowledge a bucket of goodies existed. He learned quickly. If there is a flake of alfalfa in his stall and the bucket on the fence, Scratch will start with the alfalfa. If I add medicine to the bucket, I better add some sugar or salt to improve the flavor, or he will ignore it.
Dusty is the most skeptical. If there is a hint of anything else in his bucket, he’ll hold out for his alfalfa. Bute, an anti-inflammatory, must taste bitter. For dusty, I have to start off with a low dose and gradually work my way up to the prescribed dose. He is the toughest of the three.
Jessie is the easiest. She lives for food. Jessie doesn’t think of treats as treats, she believes them to be essential. And necessary to her survival. And she better get them every day or she has a tantrum. Yeah, I spoil her. But, giving her medicine is a snap. If a medication is extremely bitter, adding a tablespoon of sugar is all that is necessary.
I made a short video of my bucket procedure with jessie. You can watch it below.