Horse Articles

  • Selecting and storing horse hay

    Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD and Paul Peterson, PhD, University of Minnesota Extension

    There are several characteristics horse owner should use to evaluate and purchase hay for their horses.

    Content / Species

    An alfalfa grass hay mix

    Figure 1. An alfalfa grass hay mix Continue reading

  • Equine compulsive behaviors

    Written By: Margaret Duxbury, DVM, University of Minnesota

    A Cribbing Pony A Cribbing Pony

    Compulsive or 'stereotypic' behaviors are repetitive behaviors that serve no apparent function and occupy a significant portion of an animal's time. Common examples include crib biting and weaving. These problems are frustrating for horse owners. As a result, they have often been categorized as 'vices', a label that implies some fault or failing on the part of the horse. In reality, compulsive behaviors usually begin when there is something 'wrong' with the horse's environment. Continue reading

  • Reminder to Equestrians to Check Tires From USRider

    A flat tire is one hiccup that we all fear, especially as equestrians.  USRider reminds equestrians to check their tires as they can lose their footing long before they’re worn out. Testing by Consumer Reports shows that tread can give up a significant amount of grip when it’s still at the half-way point. Checking your tires on your tow vehicle and trailers should be part of your regular maintenance. Tires should be checked once a month.

    When the grooves of a tire reach 2/32nds of an inch deep, they are considered bald. A new tire has grooves of about 10/32nds. Tire manufacturers have made bald tires easier to spot by placing a series of mold horizontal bars at the base of the grooves. The bars become flush with surrounding tread when wear reduces groove depth to 2/32nds. Continue reading

  • Tips On Buying Horse Hay


    Written By: Krishona Martinson, University of Minnesota

    Listed below you will find some of the characteristics of hay that should be used to evaluate and select hay for horses. Continue reading

  • Choosing forages for horses

    Written By: Jennifer Earing, PhD, University of Minnesota

    Forage selection should be based on horse needs, as there is no one forage best suited for all classes of horses. For example, providing a nutrient-dense forage like vegetative alfalfa hay to 'easy keepers' can create obesity issues; however, that same hay would be a good option for a performance horse with elevated nutrient requirements. With so many forages available, how does one choose? Differences in the nutritive quality of forages (hay or pasture) are largely based on two factors: plant maturity and species. Continue reading

  • Determining the value of rained on hay

    Written By:Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin & Krishona Martinson, University of Minnesota


    Frequent and above average rainfall fell throughout the Midwest during the summer of 2010, resulting in a challenging hay making season. Rain occurring while cut hay is laying in the field causes both yield and quality losses that reduce the value of the crop as an animal feed and a marketable commodity. Continue reading

  • Not all horses should graze

    Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota

    horse grazing

    Recently, there has been a significant amount of interest in the sugar content of forage grasses. Pasture-induced laminitis (founder) can be triggered when susceptible horses ingest high amounts of sugar or fructans that are naturally found in forage species commonly grown in Minnesota. Susceptible horses include, but are not limited to, overweight or easy keeping horses, ponies, horses with metabolic syndrome, and horses that have foundered in the past. These horses should have limited grazing, or no grazing at all. Continue reading

  • Field horsetail and brakenfern

    Written By: Krishona Martinson, PhD; Lynn Hovda, DVM, MS; and Mike Murphy, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota

    field horsetail field horsetail

    Continue reading

  • Alternate feed options

    Written By: Betsy Gilkerson Wieland, University of Minnesota

    A drought can leave many horse owners looking for quality hay, and considering alternative feedstuffs for their horses. A large portion of a horse's diet should be forage of some sort, and horses eat roughly 2% of their body weight in dry matter each day. Below is a list of common forage alternatives: Continue reading

  • Ticks and horses: what diseases affect my horse?

    Written By: Julie Wilson, DVM, University of Minnesota

    Ticks can transmit a number of disease-causing organisms to horses. Two of the most common diseases which horse owners in Minnesota should be aware of are anaplasmosis and Lyme disease. Continue reading

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