Meet Melanie and James: informed,empowered and connected WormGuiders. Melanie Schmerglatt McAllister is the founder of MLS dressage, a horse training facility in beautiful Mooloolah Valley, Queensland. Together with her husband James McAllister, they have built a calm, safe and nurturing environment where they pursue their aim to give each and every horse and rider the best possible chance of success in every level. The couple express their love for horses and with that comes the communication and connection that only love brings.
Married… with horses
Melanie specialises in foundation and advanced dressage training and works with clients looking to advance their horse`s training and dressage riding skills. She is also an elite dressage competitor.
James specialises in horsemanship principles for breaking-in and working with horses that have developed behaviour problems under saddle or in hand to produce confident, responsive, and willing horses for owners in dressage or other discipline.
After hearing about the threat of wormer resistance facing the equine industry, they had to transition to the current guidelines, a set of comprehensive official recommendations to help horse owners, managers and veterinarians develop improved strategies and programs for worm control.
Through the help of WormGuide their worm control management changed to the more sustainable protocols recommended by the Australian Society of Parasitology & the world's AAEP guidelines. After tailoring a worm control program for the specific needs of each horse, Melanie was able to implement a strategic and targeted meaningful approach to protect all horses from the threat of wormer resistance
To protect their horses, clients’ horses, and property from harmful wormer resistance, they implemented the modern preventative program where faecal egg count (FEC) surveillance is performed.
“We are in a situation where our business involves horses coming and going all the time, and as trainers and caretakers of these horses it is our responsibility to look after their welfare. Resistance spreads from one property to another with the movement of horses, and we need to protect our horses, clients’ horses, and our property from resistant worms. We really had to change to the recommended preventative program because once you have wormer resistance on a horse property it never goes away and wormers don`t work anymore.”
Melanie added, “My plan was to apply the up-to-date best practice worm control. But I needed some help in understanding the guidelines. How do I use faecal egg counts as a tool to plan a program for each horse, make sure my chosen wormer actually works, and the best egg counts to get?"
Maybe you can relate?
So, Melanie looked into faecal egg counting services for some clarity on how to proceed next. She found WormGuide Equine.
“The service ticked all the boxes and boxes I didn`t know needed to be ticked. I thought all egg counts were the same. But they`re not. I had peace of mind that the egg count testing was the most precise scientific technique available. I knew that WormGuide was the right fit for my preventative program where faecal egg counts for best practice is performed.
The team at WormGuide was great.
As Melanie elaborated, “When I found WormGuide, there was this real difference in the high-quality service, sample collection Kit standard (better known as the Fecing Good Kit), presentation of results along with their What do my Results Mean? Guide and even a complementary vet consultation for further support.”
Melanie added, “I was a bit confused about the recommendations, but WormGuide helped me understand the steps to take.”
WormGuide worked with Melanie to achieve the current goals.
- WormGuide provided clarity on how to find out the natural strongyle worm egg shedding level of each horse to determine the number of treatments needed annually. Using the Super Surveillance egg count test the goal was to identify the horses that always have high egg counts – the horse that contaminates the environment with worm eggs. They created a plan to monitor each horses egg shedding level twice a year to check for a shift in levels.
- The Super Surveillance test was used to find out the type of worm present in the young horses under 3 years. This step was very important because youngsters, especially weanlings and yearlings can have multiple worm species and due to current widespread resistance not all worming treatments can treat all types of worms.
- WormGuide helped Melanie check the efficacy of the wormer she uses. Did the chosen worming product kill the egg laying worms? The Truth Teller egg count test was used 10-14 days after a worming treatment. The number of eggs was compared to the result of the before treatment Super Surveillance egg count. They created a plan to check the efficacy of the wormer used on the property every year.
- They got clear on the biosecurity recommendation to protect her horses, James` horses,the property and importantly their client`s horses from resistant worms. New horses were quarantined, and egg count tested with the Super Surveillance test to identify the type of worm and measure the egg shedding level. Each new arrival was treated with the wormer commonly used on the property. The Truth Teller egg count was used 10-14 days after treatment to check it worked before horses were turned out on pasture.
- All horses benefited from the recommended basic foundation treatment in spring and late autumn (despite their egg count result) to treat tapeworm, larval stages of worms, bots and prevent the dangerous large strongyle.
These steps helped Melanie better understand what she needed to do to prioritise the health threat of resistance in her worm control program.
Together, they pinned down the best practice worm control recommendations put in place to help maintain and prolong the effectiveness of existing wormers. Since there is no suggestion from the pharmaceutical companies a new worming medication will be developed in the foreseeable future (if ever!), applying best practice is the only responsible way forward.
A reduction in the number of unnecessary worming treatments to slow the development rate of resistance!
As Melanie mentioned, “Emotionally I have WormGuide there for support in achieving the required goals to keep my horses, my pastures, and client`s horses healthy. The `What do my Results Mean? Guide` explains the recommendations in relation to egg count results and management. If my vet wasn`t available, I could turn to WormGuide`s expert vet Dr Charlie for further help.”
Throughout this process, the worm control management was changed to combat resistance. Clients who send their horses for training and who are also informed about the dangers of wormer resistance are impressed with how responsible this horse training facility is.
Melanie says, “Our client`s need to know their horses are safe and that I`m following the security measures so horses don`t pick up resistant worms and carry them back to their property. Once you have them - it`s too late! Pasture is no longer suitable for grazing horses.”
Lauren Franzmann, a long-time client of Melanie said, “I love that new arrival horses are checked with egg counts to avoid resistant worms introduced to the property. It`s awesome! It makes me feel more confident my horses are safe."
As she shared with us, three of Melanie's favourite quotes from Dr Martin Nielsen (world`s leading research scientist and horse parasitologist) are:
“Test what you are doing.”
“The most expensive wormer is the one that doesn`t work.”
‘Deworming without egg counts is like driving blindfolded: you just have no clue what you are doing.”
Since changing to the up-to-date best practice - there is no wasting time, effort, and money on wormers that don`t work and no unnecessary treatments that speeds up development of resistance.
And no more guesswork, for ever!
There was already a willingness to `clean up` the environment using non-chemical means such as manure removal and composting. They knew worm control is more than worming horses.
Now you know what’s possible, do you want to improve your worm control strategy and resistance control based on the latest comprehensive set of guidelines too? Click here to get your horse`s sample collect and send Kit for testing with the most precise high performing egg count available. And a `What do my Results Mean? Guide based on the latest knowledge and understanding of worm control delivered straight to your inbox with results.
Stay tuned for our next WormGuide story. Thanks to the up to date research solutions many veterinarians, horse owners, trainers, breeders, agistment and spelling facilities are implementing best practice worm control with WormGuide`s collect and send Kit and faecal worm egg counting service.
WormGuide Equine is proud to be associated with Melanie Schmerglatt McAllister - MLS Dressage.
Team WormGuide is excited to welcome Melanie as our sponsored WormGuider!
Melanie knows just how valuable monitoring faecal worm egg counts can be in looking after her horses. WormGuide Equine helps Melanie treat her horses right for best practice, meaningful and sustainable worm control management.
Melanie is an elite dressage competitor, trainer, and coach. Melanie coaches all levels and is an international Prix St George dressage rider. She finds inspiration in her teaching and seeing her students’ progress to higher levels. Her equine management and care of her horses and client`s horses are exceptional in every way.
WormGuide is passionate about horse owners and breeders accessing quality manure sample collect and send Kits for high performing biotech & digital analysis which means we have the most accurate and precise egg count technique available anywhere.