Horse Articles

  • Training Your Horse

    Written By Walt Friedrich

    Here's some dialog between you and your horse. Does it seem familiar?

    You: “I want to pick up your foot.”

    Horse: “I don't want you to.”

    You: “I'm gonna do it anyway.”

    Horse: “No, you won't, I won't let you.”

    Then it becomes an argument, then a fight as you apply force, and you finally walk away, disgusted with your uncooperative horse. You may even be hurtin' from where his kicky hooves caught your hands as you tried to impose your will. You may even have smacked your horse on the butt for his recalcitrance. “Dammit, I need to see his feet,” you mutter. Continue reading

  • Nice Move

    Written By: Jenny Pavlovic

    Last fall I wrote about moving my four-legged family from Minnesota to Wisconsin to be closer to my extended family. This first involved a move to live in my parents’ house while our Minnesota house went on the market and I started a new job. The dogs and I stayed with my parents for about six weeks until they went to Florida for the winter, then took care of their 17-acre place over the winter. We sold our Minnesota house in December and began the search for our new home in Wisconsin. Continue reading

  • I Love You, But Let's Not Get Too Cozy

    Written By: Walt Friedrich

    We've touched on this subject in previous articles, but it's important enough for an occasional revisit, just as a reminder. Our horse is not wired in the same way as we are, as he constantly demonstrates, but we've become so used to it that we rarely notice it any more. You put your favorite music on for him, playing quietly in the stable, because you enjoy it and you want to share the pleasure with him. A noble, thoughtful idea, but even when your favorite passages are playing and you might stop what you're doing, lean up against a wall, and just listen, enraptured, he shows no reaction. Well, it's disappointing, maybe, but we're just not all music lovers, are we?

    Continue reading

  • Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis

    Written By: Annette McCoy, DVM, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

    What is equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM)?

    EPM is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and/or spinal cord) that is caused by the protozoal organism Sarcocystis neurona. The main host for this organism is the opossum and horses that are exposed to opossum feces with infective sporocysts can develop neurologic disease. Other hosts of S. neurona include armadillos, skunks, and domestic cats; however, these animals cannot directly transmit the disease to horses.

    Continue reading

  • The Healthy, Older Horse

    Written By Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D.

    Let me tell you about Bugsy. He was an Appendix Quarter Horse I rescued a few years ago. When he came to me, he was significantly underweight, suffered from an old stifle injury, and had a distrustful attitude. A few months later, he’d filled out, was running up and down hills with ease, and showed the curiosity and warmth of a youngster. How old was he? 25. Not old by today’s standards and yet, definitely up there. What made the difference? Nutrition played a big part in his improvement.

    Continue reading

  • To blanket or not to blanket

    Written By: Marcia Hathaway, PhD, University of Minnesota

    horse winter drinking water

    We have received numerous questions lately regarding blanketing. A horse's winter coat can be an excellent insulator, but its insulating value is lost if it gets wet. It is important to keep the horse dry and sheltered from moisture. Continue reading

  • The risk of administering intramuscular banamine

    Written By: Raffa Teixera DVM & Stephanie Valberg DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota

    Figure 1. This horse has swelling and gas under the skin. Figure 1. This horse has swelling and gas under the skin.

    Flunixin meglumine (Banamine) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent that is very effective for the relief of pain, inflammation and fever in horses. Continue reading

  • Fall Grasses Increase Risk of Laminitis

    Written By: Juliet M. Getty , PhD.

    As temperatures begin to dip, Dr. Juliet Getty, equine nutrition specialist, wants your horse to make the transition to winter feeding in good shape, and that means understanding about the sugar and starch that lurk in your fall pasture growth.  If you have horses that are overweight, insulin resistant, or suffer from equine Cushing’s disease, you know about keeping them off of spring grasses. The non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) content is too high for free-choice grazing to be safe, increasing the risk for laminitis. But don’t think you're out of the woods once spring is over. True, summer is safer, but as early fall nights cool down below 40 degrees F for the majority of the night, the dangerous carbohydrates once again increase. Grass accumulates NSC (sugars and starch) as it is exposed to sunlight. The levels reach a peak in the late afternoon. During the dark hours, the grass uses this fuel for itself, and by morning, the levels are at their lowest. But cold nights prevent grass from using as much NSC, resulting in a higher NSC concentration during the day. Don’t be fooled by the brown grass you see in the late fall. Spread it apart and you’ll likely see some green at the base, which is high in sugar and starch. If it hasn’t rained in a while, your grass will look dried out; but be careful – dry grass can actually have a higher NSC percentage than long, lush-looking grass. Continue reading

  • STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT EQUINE DENTISTRY

    Written By Walt Friedrich

    Horse by the dentist

    Ah, this time it’s one of everyone’s least favorite subjects – equine dentistry. But as with our own human dentistry, it must be faced – it’s an important part of the responsibility we take on when we make a home for and share our lives with horses. Continue reading

  • Caring for a horse on a budget

    Written By J. Wilson, DVM and K. Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota

    Owning a horse is a major responsibility, and a significant investment of both time and money. Most owners do not generate income from their horse, but are intent on spending time with their equine companion. During tough economic times, horse owners need to explore and implement options to reduce costs. Continue reading

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